[Perform-talk] OT: PA Bill to protect service animals passes House

Donna Hill penatwork at epix.net
Thu Mar 10 16:33:51 UTC 2011

Hi Friends,
This was posted to the NFB of PA list yesterday.


Evans' Bill to Help Protect Service Animals Receives House Endorsement

HARRISBURG, PA - Legislation that will help protect service animals from 
attacks by other animals has won the endorsement of the Pennsylvania 
House of Representatives, said Rep. John Evans (R-Erie/Crawford), author 
of the measure.

"Service animals, in particular, are trained not to fight back in an 
attack with another animal, and as a result, can suffer even greater 
injuries," said Evans, who has been working to obtain legislative 
approval for this bill for the past three sessions.

Specifically, House Bill 165 would set criminal and civil penalties on 
individuals who own or co-own a dog that kills, maims or disfigures the 
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.

If found to be in violation, the offender would face a first-degree 
misdemeanor and face up to $1,000 and/or jail time of up to two years. 
In addition to any other fine or penalty, a person convicted under this 
new law would be required to make reparations for veterinary costs in 
treating the guide, hearing or service dog and, if necessary, the cost 
of a replacement dog.

"These service animals reflect a significant investment of the time, 
training and expense of their owners," Evans said. "For owners of dogs 
that are prone to attack to recklessly and willfully allow their animals 
to seriously injure a service dog and then to escape civil and criminal 
liability is unfair. Our laws must address this type of irresponsible 
behavior on the part of these pet owners."

Evans pointed out that his legislation is not designed to punish 
responsible pet owners, but to add teeth to state law so that owners who 
purposely allow their dogs to run loose will be more accountable for 
their dog's actions.

The legislation now heads to the state Senate for consideration.

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