Saturday, August 11, 2012

Ceremonial signing to celebrate a new Pennsylvania law benefitting service dogs was right in time for International Assistance Dog Week.
Along with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, the Susquehanna Service Dogs (SSD) organization was a part of this event which took place at the Puppy Palace in the Harrisburg Mall.
Wednesdays’ face book page of Governor Tom Corbett states, ‘This morning Governor Corbett ceremonially signed House Bill 165, the service dog protection bill. The bill allows authorities to cite owners of dogs that attack service dogs and require them to pay veterinary bills or restitution for injuries or damage resulting from such attacks.’
This bill and now law, allows for dog owners to be charged with a third-degree misdemeanor and or restitution fine of up to $5,000 if their dog attacks a service dog and they had knowledge of the animal’s aggression, or if the animal had a history of attack and they recklessly failed to restrain or keep their dog away from the service dog.
The governor notes that guide dogs for the blind and other service dogs are trained not to fight back.
“They are trained only to serve the people to whom they are entrusted. That’s what makes doing harm to a service dog, in my opinion, one of the lowest forms of human behavior. Doing harm to any dog is a low form of behavior, but particularly to a service dog,” he said.
The passing of this bill recognizes the importance of service dogs and the extensive training that goes into a service dog to enable it to serve a person with disabilities.
With this being International Assistance Dog Week, the participation of Governor Corbett in celebrating the recently signed bill was a perfect part of the weeks’ commemorations to these wonderful and loyal service animals.
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