Pa. improves ranking on animal protection

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Humane Society says state moved up five places to No. 12

Screen Shot 2014-01-22 at 6.02.52 PMIn the fifth annual “Humane State Ranking” report released by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), Pennsylvania was ranked 12th in the nation, moving up five spots from last year, a news release said.

The comprehensive analysis of animal protection laws in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., grades states on the strength of a wide range of animal protection laws, including policies dealing with animal cruelty and fighting, pets, wildlife, equines, animals in research and farm animals, the release said.

In 2013, Pennsylvania legislators passed legislation to help protect companion animals. Lawmakers also passed measures to eliminate the use of gas chambers at animal shelters, require people accused of animal cruelty to pay the costs of caring for seized animals, and allow courts to include pets in protective orders, the release said.

“We are thrilled to have climbed the ranking this year but are even more thrilled that it was our new Cost of Care Act that has enabled this rise,” said Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania director for the HSUS. “This legislation is a huge win for shelters and rescues who care for the victims of animal cruelty.”

Elissa Katz, a member of the HSUS Pennsylvania council, said the council is gearing up for Humane Lobby Day on April 9 in hopes of passing legislation such as a ban on animal fighting paraphernalia, live pigeon shoots, and exotic pets. Ben Donahower, also a member of the state HSUS council, added that he was proud of Pennsylvania’s progress and hoped to continue it. “If there is one measure to judge a society, it’s how we treat the most vulnerable, including animals,” he said.

In 2013, The HSUS helped pass 109 new laws and regulations to protect animals and helped to defeat a number of harmful measures such as “ag-gag” laws that would suppress whistleblowers at industrial factory farms, the release said. To view an interactive map with details on the ranking, visit

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