HARRISBURG, Pa., Aug. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Governor Tom Corbett today ceremonially signed legislation that will offer help to service dogs and their owners.
Sponsored by Rep. John Evans (R-Erie), House Bill 165 imposes a criminal penalty upon the owner or co-owner of a dog that kills, maims or disfigures a service dog without provocation.
"Service dogs provide a vital link between some of our most vulnerable citizens and the rest of the world,'' Corbett said. "By protecting these animals, we are protecting the people they serve. This bill leaves no uncertainty that a willful and malicious attack on a service dog is a crime and will be treated as such.''
The penalty includes fines of up to $5,000 and, if necessary, the veterinary or replacement costs of the service dog.
Service dogs are specifically trained to assist individuals who have disabilities or other health-related concerns.
Corbett, joined by Evans and several citizens who advocated for the legislation, ceremonially signed the law at the Susquehanna Service Dogs storefront location at the Harrisburg Mall. The storefront is used for service dog training classes.
Coincidentally, this week is International Assistance Dog Week, an observance created to recognize and raise awareness about these highly trained and hardworking animals.
To read the full text of the legislation, visit the General Assembly's website at www.legis.state.pa.us. Gov. Corbett originally signed the bill on June 13.
For more information about Susquehanna Service Dogs, visit www.keystonehumanservices.org.
Media contact: Janet Kelley, 717-783-1116
SOURCE Pennsylvania Office of the Governor