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§ 5531. Definitions

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated StatutesTitle 18 Pa.C.S.A. Crimes and OffensesEffective: December 24, 2018

Purdon's Pennsylvania Statutes and Consolidated Statutes
Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. Crimes and Offenses (Refs & Annos)
Part II. Definition of Specific Offenses (Refs & Annos)
Article F. Offenses Against Public Order and Decency
Chapter 55. Riot, Disorderly Conduct and Related Offenses (Refs & Annos)
Subchapter B. Cruelty to Animals (Refs & Annos)
Effective: December 24, 2018
18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5531
Formerly cited as PA ST 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5511
§ 5531. Definitions
The following words and phrases when used in this subchapter shall have the meanings given to them in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
Accelerant detection dog.” A dog that is trained for accelerant detection, commonly referred to as arson canines.
Animal fighting.” Fighting or baiting a bull, bear, dog, cock or other creature.
Animal fighting paraphernalia.” A device, implement, object or drug used or intended to be used for animal fighting, to train an animal for animal fighting or in furtherance of animal fighting. In determining whether an object is animal fighting paraphernalia, a court or other authority should consider the following:
(1) Statements by an owner or by an individual in control of the object concerning its use.
(2) A prior conviction under Federal or State law relating to animal fighting.
(3) The proximity of the object in time and space to the direct violation of this subchapter.
(4) Direct or circumstantial evidence of the intent of the accused to deliver the object to persons whom the accused knows or should reasonably know intends to use the object to facilitate a violation of this subchapter.
(5) Oral or written instructions provided with or in the vicinity of the object concerning the object's use.
(6) Descriptive materials accompanying the object which explain or depict the object's use.
(7) All other logically relevant factors.
Audibly impaired.” The inability to hear air conduction thresholds at an average of 40 decibels or greater in the better ear.
Blind.” Having a visual acuity of 20/200 or less in the better eye with correction or having a limitation of the field of vision such that the widest diameter of the visual field subtends an angular distance not greater than 20 degrees.
Bodily injury.” Impairment of physical condition or substantial pain.
Bomb detection dog.” A dog that is trained to locate a bomb or explosives by scent.
Certified veterinary technician.” As defined in section 3(13) of the act of December 27, 1974 (P.L. 995, No. 326),1 known as the Veterinary Medicine Practice Act.
Conveyance.” A truck, tractor, trailer or semitrailer, or a combination of these, propelled or drawn by mechanical power.
Deaf.” Totally impaired hearing or hearing with or without amplification which is so seriously impaired that the primary means of receiving spoken language is through other sensory input, including, but not limited to, lip reading, sign language, finger spelling or reading.
Domestic animal.” A dog, cat, equine animal, bovine animal, sheep, goat or porcine animal.
Domestic fowl.” An avis raised for food, hobby or sport.
Equine animal.” A member of the Equidae family, which includes horses, asses, mules, ponies and zebras.
Humane society police officer.” As defined in 22 Pa.C.S. § 3702 (relating to definitions).
Licensed doctor of veterinary medicine.” As defined in section 3(8) of the Veterinary Medicine Practice Act.
Narcotic detection dog.” A dog that is trained to locate narcotics by scent.
Normal agricultural operation.” Normal activities, practices and procedures that farmers adopt, use or engage in year after year in the production and preparation for market of poultry, livestock and their products in the production and harvesting of agricultural, agronomic, horticultural, silvicultural and aquicultural crops and commodities.
Physically limited.” Having limited ambulation, including, but not limited to, a temporary or permanent impairment or condition that causes an individual to use a wheelchair or walk with difficulty or insecurity, affects sight or hearing to the extent that an individual is insecure or exposed to danger, causes faulty coordination or reduces mobility, flexibility, coordination or perceptiveness.
Police animal.” An animal, including, but not limited to, dogs and horses, used by the Pennsylvania State Police, a police department created by a metropolitan transportation authority operating under 74 Pa.C.S. Ch. 17 (relating to metropolitan transportation authorities), a police department created under the act of April 6, 1956 (1955 P.L. 1414, No. 465),2 known as the Second Class County Port Authority Act, the Capitol Police, the Department of Corrections, a county facility or office or by a municipal police department, fire department, search and rescue unit or agency or handler under the supervision of the department, search and rescue unit or agency in the performance of the functions or duties of the department, search and rescue unit or agency, whether the animal is on duty or not on duty. The term shall include, but not be limited to, an accelerant detection dog, bomb detection dog, narcotic detection dog, search and rescue dog and tracking animal.
Search and rescue dog.” A dog that is trained to locate lost or missing persons, victims of natural or manmade disasters and human bodies.
Serious bodily injury.” Bodily injury that creates a substantial risk of death or causes serious, permanent disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member or organ.
“Service, guide or support dog.” A dog that is trained or is being trained to work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability consistent with Federal and State law related to service animals.
Torture.” Any of the following acts directed toward or against an animal unless directed to be performed by a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine acting within the normal scope of practice:
(1) Breaking, severing or severely impairing limbs.
(2) Inflicting severe and prolonged pain from burning, crushing or wounding.
(3) Causing or allowing severe and prolonged pain through prolonged deprivation of food or sustenance without veterinary care.
Tracking animal.” An animal that is trained to track or used to pursue a missing person, escaped inmate or fleeing felon.
Veterinary assistant.” As defined in section 3(14) of the Veterinary Medicine Practice Act.


2017, June 28, P.L. 215, No. 10, § 4, effective in 60 days [Aug. 28, 2017]. Amended 2018, Oct. 24, P.L. 685, No. 104, § 1, effective in 60 days [Dec. 24, 2018].


63 P.S. § 485.3.
55 P.S. § 551 et seq.
18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5531, PA ST 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 5531
Current through the end of the 2023 Regular Session. Some statute sections may be more current, see credits for details.
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