Office Locations 

District Address
2424 Bristol Road
Neshaminy Valley Commons
Bensalem, PA 19020
Telephone: (215) 750-1017
Fax: (215) 750-1295

Capitol Address
49 East Wing
PO Box 202018
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2018
Telephone: (717) 783-7319
Fax: (717) 772-2414

DiGirolamo Rallies to Strengthen State's Dog Laws
HARRISBURG – In helping to protect man’s best friend from acts of cruelty, Rep. Gene DiGirolamo (R-Bucks) Wednesday participated in a rally to strengthen Pennsylvania’s dog laws.
“Cruelty to animals is a serious crime – these are living, breathing creatures that depend on us to properly care for them – and there needs to be real consequences for the horrific actions done to these animals,” DiGirolamo told a crowd of dog supporters, some of whom brought their pets to the rally.
DiGirolamo highlighted one of his bills, House Bill 499, that would increase the fine to $1,000 for the willful and malicious killing, maiming, mutilation, torture or disfigurement of any domestic animal belonging to another person.
The bill also increases the fine to $2,000 for cruelty to a dog or cat, whether belonging to the person committing the act or another person, and increases the fine for summary offenses to not less than $100 or more than $1,000.
Currently, the fine is $500 for malicious cruelty to animals and $1,000 for cruelty to a dog or a cat.
In addition, DiGirolamo’s legislation stipulates that if the owner of the pet is found to be maliciously abusing his or her animal, the owner would then be responsible for paying costs associated with the upkeep of the animal.
If the owner fails to make full payment of the shelter’s costs within 20 days of a second written request by the organization, the owner will be deemed to have abandoned the animal. Even if the animal is deemed abandoned, the bill sets forth that the owner can still be held responsible for costs incurred prior to abandonment.
“I don’t believe these laws are too much to ask,” he said. “Every day, we hear stories about pets being abused. In every corner of the Commonwealth there have been cases of animal abuse.
“There is something we can do about this,” he continued. “And it’s past time that we toughen the laws in our state and give them the teeth necessary to prevent these senseless acts of cruelty. These precious dogs and cats need our attention – and they need it now.”
He also supports two other proposals that would tighten licensing standards for commercial breeding kennels and prohibit the practice of “debarking” unless performed by a veterinarian. Debarking is a cruel method in which dog breeders forcefully destroy the vocal cords of their animals to prevent them from barking.
“All of these bills are priorities of Gov. Ed Rendell’s, and I believe that these are all commonsense measures that will further protect these wonderful and loving creatures,” he said.
DiGirolamo has been active in the fight to prevent animal cruelty. In 2004, Rendell signed legislation sponsored by DiGirolamo that increased the maximum prison sentence for those who commit cruelty against a dog or cat.
Rep. Gene DiGirolamo
18th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

(215) 750-1017
(717) 783-7319
Contact: Jennifer Algoe Keaton
(717) 705-2094
Member site: 
Caucus site: 
May 16, 2008