On Wednesday, May 1, Congressman Tom Marino visited the Bradford County Humane Society to tour the facility and honor them for their dedication to saving lives of shelter animals.

Congressman Marino toured the dog kennels and the adoptable cat rooms. He was impressed with the free roaming cat room where the cats are allowed to freely be amongst other spayed and neutered cats. "My wife and I have cats at home and I love them," stated Marino. He added that he is looking for a dog. A black lab mix puppy up for adoption at BCHS caught his eye.

BCHS has recently begun a spay neuter initiative with Dr. Michelle Kaleta and the ACS Community Clinic. Jennifer L. Spencer, BCHS executive director, met with the Bradford County Commissioners in October of 2012 to explain the importance of spaying and neutering feral cats in the area. Since October the Community Clinic has altered over 700 feral cats and owner cats. BCHS has already seen an impact from this. "Last year at this time we were inundated with feral cats. Now we have open cages. The public needs to understand that spaying and neutering animals is the only way to reduce the pet overpopulation," stated Spencer.

Spencer and Marino sat down to discuss various issues that impact animal shelters in Pennsylvania. Spencer explained the need for tighter laws in regards to animal cruelty. Last year BCHS received over 350 calls concerning possible animal cruelty. Humane officer Hawbaker took nine cases to court and won each case. "The problem is that the person(s) convicted of animal cruelty do not receive harsh enough penalties. In some cases the convicted will merely receive probation and have to pay restitution," states Spencer. Marino agreed and stated they are working on getting animal cruelty laws changed.

Another issue that was discussed was the absence of an anti-tethering law in Pennsylvania. H.B. 826/S.B. 972, a bill that has been introduced to Pennsylvania Legislature would limit the amount of time a dog can be tied outside. It would prohibit tethering a dog between 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. "This is not a sufficient bill. There really needs to be a complete anti-tethering law," states Spencer. "Many phone calls come in during the winter involving dogs tied up outside in the harsh elements. These animals may never get off their chain, living out their entire lives that way," added Spencer.

Congressman Marino presented BCHS with a plaque honoring BCHS for their efforts to save the lives of shelter animals in his district as well as for receiving a $31,500 grant from the ASPCA to purchase a new transport vehicle to carry out their life-saving work more efficiently. This grant will allow BCHS to acquire a new animal transport van, which the organization will use to investigate animal cruelty cases, and transport animals to the Community Clinic for spaying and neutering.

The ASPCA is a key player in animal welfare philanthropy, and has provided funds for animal welfare programs in every state. Over the past five years, the ASPCA has distributed nearly $55 million in grants to shelters and rescues across the country. "I am proud to congratulate the Bradford County Humane Society for their commitment to protecting animals," stated Marino.

The Bradford County Humane Society would like to thank Congressman Tom Marino for taking time to visit the shelter and learn more about what issues local animal shelters face.

BCHS is a United Way Agency.

Submitted article.