For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 17

Under the new law, HSPOs acting in good faith
and within their scope of the authority shall not
be liable for civil damages as a result of an act or
omission in the course of an investigation or an
enforcement action. This immunity applies unless
the act or omission was intentionally designed
to harm or to an act or omission that constituted
gross negligence or willful, wanton or reckless
conduct.49
The current statutory scheme also provides for
civil immunity for licensed doctors of veterinary
medicine, technicians and assistants in the event
a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine, certified
veterinary technician or veterinary assistant
reports, in good faith and in a normal course of
business, a suspected violation this subchapter to
the proper authority.50
Pennsylvania's animal cruelty code was
originally drafted in 1983 and, since then, it was
amended several times, creating a piecemeal
cruelty code that was often difficult to interpret.
The new statute, inspired by a dog found on
the brink of death on a Lancaster County farm,
restructured the former statute, with the goal
of making Pennsylvania's Animal Cruelty laws
consistent with the rest of the country and easier
for law enforcement to understand and enforce.

Practitioners should familiarize themselves
with the new statutory scheme and, at minimum,
appreciate that significant consequences loom
around the corner for those charged with
violating the statute, even when the charge itself
is only graded as a summary offense.
Cases involving animal cruelty are often
fraught with emotion and emotion can, at times,
erode reason on both sides of the issue. Being
prepared and understanding this area of the law
should allow every practitioner to assure that
reason and the law prevail in your client's case.
Notes
1. Todd Stephens, Pennsylvania House Co-Sponsorship
Memoranda (Jan. 19, 2017), http://www.legis.
state.pa.us//cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.
cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=22277.
2. Allie Philips, Understanding the Link Between Violence
to Animals and People, A Guidebook for Criminal Justice
Professionals (2014), http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/The%20
Link%20Monograph-2014.pdf.
3. Sarah Mearhoff, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolfe Sign's
Tougher Animal Abuse Law, The Morning Call, June
28, 2017, http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/
pennsylvania/mc-nws-pa-wolf-dog-abuse-law-20170628story.html.

Click here to view and/or print the
full notes section for this article.

About the Author
Mike Winters is a partner in the law firm of McMahon Winters Soto-Ortiz
in Lancaster, PA. He graduated from York College of Pennsylvania and
worked as a police officer before graduating from the Temple University,
Beasley School of Law, Trial Advocacy Program. He serves on the Animal
Law committee of the Pennsylvania Bar Association; previously served on
the Board of Directors of the Lancaster Bar Association; and, has been
appointed to serve with the Investigative Division of the Pennsylvania Bar
Association Judicial Evaluation Commission. Mike is also an adjunct faculty
member at Harrisburg Area Community College where he teaches Criminal
Law and Procedure.

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Vol. 3, Issue 1

l

For The Defense

17


http://www.legis.state.pa.us//cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=22277 http://www.legis.state.pa.us//cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=22277 http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/The%20Link%20Monograph-2014.pdf http://www.ndaa.org/pdf/The%20Link%20Monograph-2014.pdf http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/mc-nws-pa-wolf-dog-abuse-law-20170628-story.html http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/mc-nws-pa-wolf-dog-abuse-law-20170628-story.html http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/pennsylvania/mc-nws-pa-wolf-dog-abuse-law-20170628-story.html

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018

Contents
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 1
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 2
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - Contents
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 4
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 5
For the Defense - Volume 3, Issue 1 - 2018 - 6
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