HARRISBURG – Reps. Jason Ortitay (R-Washington/Allegheny) and Nick Pisciottano (D-Allegheny) recently introduced legislation to allow an already established grant program to also fund law enforcement activities to address animal fighting.
“While Pennsylvania has one of the strongest animal fighting laws in the nation, only 12 prosecutions were attempted in 2019 and 2020,” Ortitay said. “It would be naïve to believe this is because animal fighting is not a problem in the Commonwealth. Instead, this is because of a lack of resources. As organized animal fighting is driven by illegal gaming, it makes sense to expand the current grant program to add animal fighting.”
House Bill 2328
would permit some of a $2 million annual transfer under the gaming law to be used to focus on animal fighting. Currently, the transfer is used to provide law enforcement with grants to combat unlawful gaming. Under the bill, the money also could be used to give grants to law enforcement to battle violations of the animal fighting law. Grants would not be required to be approved, but instead would allow law enforcement the flexibility to use the money in this manner.
“Animal fighting rings are a serious problem in Pennsylvania,” said Pisciottano. “Sadly, local law enforcement is often overburdened and rarely has the appropriate resources to address this unique issue. The perpetrators of these crimes are intelligent and go to great lengths to hide their activities, which makes prosecuting them much more challenging and expensive. I urge you to support this vital legislation that would save thousands of animals in Pennsylvania from unnecessary violence every year.”
The bill has been referred to the Gaming Oversight Committee.
The 46th Legislative District includes Collier and South Fayette townships and Bridgeville, Heidelberg, McDonald and Oakdale boroughs in Allegheny County. It also encompasses Canton, Cecil, Mt. Pleasant, Robinson and Smith townships and Burgettstown, McDonald and Midway boroughs in Washington County.
The 38th Legislative District includes part of South Park Township and Baldwin and West Mifflin boroughs. It also encompasses the boroughs of Dravosburg, Glassport, Liberty, Pleasant Hills, Port Vue and Whitehall.
Representative Jason Ortitay
46th Legislative District
Representative Nick Pisciottano
38th Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Tracy Polovick