Increase Penalties for Animal Abuse?

As police in Schuylkill County investigate two suspected cases of animal abuse, there are calls tonight to increase the jail time for anyone convicted of animal cruelty.

Officials said 14 pit bulls were found living in their own filth in a Frackville home.  Investigators said Michael Williams owned the animals and police hope to charge him.

A second disturbing case involves a trash container in Tamaqua. Nine pit bulls were found dead inside. Police are investigating if there is a link between both cases. Police Chief Dave Mattson said people have been calling in tips.

“I think we’re making quite a bit of progress the public has stepped forward and done the right thing and provided us with additional information that has been very helpful,” said Mattson.

Chief Mattson would like animal abuse penalties increased. He was asked if the sentence for those convicted should be bumped up to a felony.

“I think in a case that involves death, absolutely,” said Mattson.

Right now Pennsylvania law said anyone convicted of animal cruelty that person can spend up to two years in jail. Jeanine Choplick of the Hillside S.P.C.A near Pottsville said that`s simply not enough.

“I think people need incentives that they don’t take so lightly that they can abuse or that they can hurt an animal in some way, and many times they don’t get two years punishment so they can think of this before it occurs,” said Choplick.

State Representative Jerry Knowles promises to review the animal abuse law and see if it needs to be beefed up. Knowles said he’s shocked at the dog cases in Tamaqua and Frackville.

“I think it’s unthinkable that some crazy person would do something like this. It’s just crazy. It’s just nuts!” said Knowles.

There is no word on when we could see changes in the animal abuse law.

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