PHILADELPHIA, Pa. -- The Pennsylvania SPCA or PSPCA wants state funding for rescues across the state and to help enforce the state's animal cruelty code.
Officials say a large majority of the state’s humane police officers are paid, including officers sworn in with the PSPCA, through donations received by their associated nonprofit organizations. The ones who aren't paid volunteer their services.
When those organizations see fewer donations, enforcement efforts, among other services, can take a hit.
In previous years, the PSPCA had humane society police officers covering 23 counties across Pennsylvania; now, it has 18.
"You basically have shelters and nonprofit organizations that are subsidizing law enforcement for the State of Pennsylvania," explained Julie Klim, CEO of the PSPCA.
Klim and others rescued 55 dogs from a property in Lancaster County with assistance from humane society police officers.
That's just one instance from our area though; PSPCA humane police officers for Lancaster County handle the second highest caseload behind Philadelphia, according to Klim.
"We have a number of officers sworn in; we (PSPCA) used to cover 23 counties," explained Klim. "In the past few years, we had to cut back on a few of the counties too far and too costly, we didn’t have the budget to cover it. People don’t realize that there is no funding, and it’s one thing to pass laws, but passing laws that then fund the work and the enforcement work is a whole separate thing, and so far in Pennsylvania, our legislature has been reluctant to do that.”
Klim cites the recently passed Libre's Law. The law includes mandatory forfeiture, which states that convicted animal abusers must give up any abused animals to shelters, Cordelia’s Law, which aims to better protects horses, tethering guidelines, civil immunity for vets, vet techs, and humane society officers who report abuse, and, of course, Libre’s Law, which increased the penalties for animal abuse.
The CEO of the PSPCA believes anywhere between $3-5 million in state funding could help animal rescues across the state in their missions as well as better assist animal cruelty enforcement efforts.
You can find a full list of Humane Society Police Officers in Pennsylvania here.
In order to become a Humane Society Police Officer, people must be trained and court-appointed. Klim says training varies across the board in Pennsylvania, depending on what nonprofit organization or rescue the officer is associated with. For instance, PSPCA humane officers wear bullet-proof vests and carry a gun.