Stephens Crafts Bill For Stronger Animal Abuse Penalties

After a series of vicious attacks on animals in recent months, Montgomery County State Rep. Todd Stephens has crafted new legislation to increase the penalties for anyone convicted of hurting animals.

Under current law, anyone convicted of animal abuse is subject to a summary offense. The proposal sponsored by Stephens would increase the offense to the level of a felony. Stephens, who grew up on a horse farm, was motivated to write the legislation after several acts of cruelty that were carried out on animals earlier in the summer in Lancaster county, including a horse being shot multiple times with a paintball gun, a horse that was badly beaten after it collapsed from carrying watermelons and a turtle that was blown up with firecrackers. Under current law, an individual that commits those acts against an animal of any kind would only be charged with the summary offense, which is similar to getting a parking ticket.