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Law changes

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  • Law changes

    Pennsylvania's Cost of Care Act, passed in 2013, is making a difference. Prior law made it difficult for small shelters to pursue animal abuse cases. In the one in the article, 31 cats were taken from a hoarder, and it entailed costs of $53,000 to get them back to health. And they are allowed to put the animals up for adoption after 10 days, and seek costs from the alleged abuser(s).

    I remember a case prior where a large number of cats were taken, but the shelter was forced to keep the cats, care for the cats, while the person appealed the case all the way to the PA Supreme Court. The shelter was forced to swallow hundreds of thousands of dollars in costs, and none of the cats could be put up for adoption while the case dragged out through the court system, and some died, and some special needs cats were stuck at the shelter, rather then getting specialized love and care.

    The shelter got lawyers to do pro bono legal work, saving them money, but the chance to get reimbursed, and also to get the animals adopted is an incentive for many small shelters. The State law was beefed up in June. Before the law was changed, animal abuse was a summary charge (fines) and prosecutors didn't want to get involved unless there was jail time.