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Pennsylvania’s Animal Cruelty Laws

That Fish Place – That Pet Place is committed to the proper, safe ownership of all animals and we wanted to help our blog readers get a better understanding of what animal cruelty laws are, so we can prevent these abusive acts.

There are many acts that are legally considered cruel that you might not have previously considered. We wanted to highlight a few of these little known abuses and will post the full list of cruelty laws below.

(b) Regulating certain actions concerning fowl or rabbits.–A person commits a summary offense if he sells, offers for sale, barters, or gives away baby chickens, ducklings, or other fowl, under one month of age, or rabbits under two months of age, as pets, toys, premiums or novelties or if he colors, dyes, stains or otherwise changes the natural color of baby chickens, ducklings or other fowl, or rabbits or if he brings or transports the same into this Commonwealth. This section shall not be construed to prohibit the sale or display of such baby chickens, ducklings, or other fowl, or such rabbits, in proper facilities by persons engaged in the business of selling them for purposes of commercial breeding and raising.

Coloring chickens or rabbits might seem like a fun harmless activity, especially during the holidays, but they are considered illegal and should be avoided.

(d) Selling or using disabled horse.–A person commits a summary offense if he offers for sale or sells any horse, which by reason of debility, disease or lameness, or for other cause, could not be worked or used without violating the laws against cruelty to animals, or leads, rides, drives or transports any such horse for any purpose, except that of conveying the horse to the nearest available appropriate facility for its humane keeping or destruction or for medical or surgical treatment.

(f) Hours of labor of animals.–A person commits a summary offense if he leads, drives, rides or works or causes or permits any other person to lead, drive, ride or work any horse, mare, mule, ox, or any other animal, whether belonging to himself or in his possession or control, for more than 15 hours in any 24 hour period, or more than 90 hours in any one week.

Perhaps an overlooked section of the law is the use of animals for labor. Anyone who overworks and animal or uses an animal that is injured can face heavy fines.

(1) A person commits a misdemeanor of the third degree if he is the owner or co-owner of a dog that kills, maims or disfigures a guide dog of an individual who is blind, a hearing dog of an individual who is deaf or audibly impaired or a service dog of an individual who is physically limited without provocation by the guide, hearing or service dog or the individual.

If a person, or their dog, causes harm or death to a guide dog, they can face heavy fines, up to and including health care costs for the guide dog or even replacement and training costs for a new guide dog.

Here in Pennsylvania, the SPCA strives to eliminate abuse towards animals. Their team investigates complaints that includes physical abuse, hoarding, animal fighting, neglect, neglect and failure to provide food, water, shelter and vet care.spca-300x82

They find educating the public can be effective at reducing complaints related to animal abuse. For public knowledge and the benefit of animals everywhere, they have posted Pennsylvania’s Animal Cruelty Laws.

But there are more serious cases that require intervention and their Humane Society Police Officers, led by Director of Human Law Enforcement George Bengal, are willing and able to enforce search warrants when deemed necessary.

If you observe abuse towards an animal, you can report it to the Pennsylvania SPCA by calling 866-601-SPCA and they will handle it quickly and effectively.

Black Cats – Harrowing History of a Halloween Icon

Black cats have served as negative icons of superstition and sorcery for centuries. In many cultures the stigma that follows these animals is so deeply engrained that even today they may be shunned, abused and hated by some for what they supposedly represent. Black Cats face more discrimination and danger than the average tabby, particularly during the month of October as Halloween approaches. Contemporary rescue organizations and animal lovers may even take protective measures in October to protect the interests and well-being of these “unlucky” pets.

A Dark History

Domestic cats, as a species, have a long presence in folklore and superstition in cultures around the globe. Black coloration carries other connotations, so black cats such as pure bred Bombays, are hit with a “double whammy” in regards to how they may be percieved or treated.  Perhaps the most prevalent negative association of cats is that to witches, devilry and black magic in the western world. These beliefs began largely in the middle ages when disease and death were rampant and people were looking for reasons for their dire circumstances.  Actively hunting and exploring by the dark of night, shadowy feline figures unknowingly gained a reputation as being tools of evil practices, supernatural omens of misfortune and death. Some even believed cats could change shape and assume human form to carry out mischief or evil deeds. Read More »

Join A Cause and Help Animals

Poultry Factory FarmAnimal lovers know that animal welfare is one of the most important issues in the world.  I thought I’d blog a little on several organizations that work against animal abuse and mistreatment. You can help the animals in many small ways, whether by giving a little money, choosing not to wear fur, becoming a vegetarian, signing a petition, adopting a pet from a shelter, or even just spreading the word. Without animals, our world would be a very sad place. Please click on at least one of the following links and get involved today! Read More »

Staying Updated on Laws Affecting Pet Ownership and Animal Welfare

Dog in a ShelterRecent concerns over animal hoarding, introduced species and animal attacks have resulted in a confusing maze of new laws.  Many are legitimate attempts to address serious problems, while others seem over-reactions based on poor research.  I’m an attorney as well as a biologist, and yet even with this background I find it difficult to keep up with all the changes.  However, I’ve found several organizations that track pending legislation and provide links to actions that can be taken…I hope the following helpful information is useful. Read More »

Cruelty-Free Shopping – Finding Products that were not Tested on Animals

Animal enthusiasts often ask if there is any way to be sure that the cosmetics, personal care items and household goods they purchase have not been tested on animals.  While many companies make these claims (sales usually rise in response), recent scandals have revealed that abuses abound.

Legal Status

Unfortunately, in the US, legal standards that must be met before the label “no animals were harmed” can be attached to a product do not exist.  Frequently, distributors make such claims even though many of the product’s ingredients were tested on animals – after all, they reason, the seller itself did not test the final product on animals!  Sad but true.



A group known as the Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics was formed in response to the lack of effective laws and guidelines in this area.  Many of the world’s best-known animal welfare organizations, including the 10.5 million-member Humane Society of the USA, are actively involved in its operation.

“Cruelty-Free” Certification

The Coalition for Consumer Information on Cosmetics (CCIC) inspects companies that wish to be certified as “cruelty-free”.   In order to qualify, a company must prove that neither it nor any of its ingredient suppliers utilize animals for research.  So, for example, if 2 dozen chemicals go into the making of a kitchen cleaner, the suppliers of all 2 dozen chemicals must utilize non-animal testing methods.  In addition, all products carried by the company seeking certification must live up to the same standard.

Those passing the CCIC’s rigorous inspection are entitled to display the group’s “Leaping Bunny Logo” (please see photo).  This symbol, which is used in the USA, Canada, Great Britain and the European Union, is widely-recognized as evidence that animals are not used in product testing.  As of now, it is one of the few ways that a consumer can be absolutely certain of this fact (cosmetics testing on animals is banned in the Netherlands, Belgium and the UK; the European Union is in the process of following suit, but there are legal challenges).

How Consumers can Help

Animal welfare groups are growing in strength and influence, as more and more people become deeply affected by the plight of animals that are injured in the name of better eye creams and such.   

The CCIC now provides support to stores that stock “cruelty-free” products.  It also supplies information to consumers and sample letters for folks wishing to encourage stores and companies to deal only in products that have not been tested on animals.  CCIC has also created an app for Iphone and Android users, where you can look up product information by barcode while shopping.  Take the leap, and go cruelty-free, today.

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