Animal protection bill up for vote as Pa. lawmakers wrap session

Pennsylvania lawmakers returned to the Capitol on Wednesday to face a rush to wrap up work on dozens of bills on what was expected to be their last day of votes in the two-year legislative session.

FOX 29's Lucy Noland went to Harrisburg to report the State House is set to vote on the most comprehensive animal protection bill to hit the floor in the history of the commonwealth, and Gov. Tom Wolf told her he's ready to sign it.

House Bill 869 was already unanimously passed by the Senate.

People convicted would be hit with serious penalties for torturing, abusing or severely harming or killing an animal.

The bill would also keep pets out of the hands of their abusers and make abusing a horse a misdemeanor. Right now, it's a summary and that's the equivalent of a traffic citation.

The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau didn't like the portion of the bill that would ban most tethering of dogs, but it's now neutral.

According to Kristen Tullo of The Humane Society, Pennsylvania is still one of only three states without "a first offense felony for torture of an animal which means dismembering, causing serious bodily injury."