Local representative introduces bill cracking down on animal abuse offenders

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PITTSBURGH —

Rep. Dom Costa of the 21st Legislative District has introduced a bill cracking down on animal abuse offenders.

"If we can't protect the animals, there's something wrong the society," said Costa.

The current state animal abuse law is a low-level offense like a traffic ticket, with no way to track repeat offenders.

"Summary offense is a ticket. This is an arrest. It's a summons to appear in front of a district judge, and it's tracked with a fingerprint and photograph," said Costa.

The bill suggests every person, including first-time offenders charged with animal cruelty, goes into a data base. Repeat offenders could be charged with a felony, heavy fines and jail time.

"It sends a message to the first time offender that you're on record," said Costa.

It's not clear if the house will vote on the bill in the days ahead, but Costa said he has widespread support in Harrisburg.

"I've got bipartisan support on this so, what I need is people to write their state senators and write to their state representatives tell them to get on this bill," said Costa.

Costa told Channel 11 he is confident he'll get the bill through the House by January.