Eating dogs and cats would be banned if bill passes state Senate

Italian Greyhound and Sphinx cat curled up together. Credit: Wiki Commons.
Dogs and cats have been creeping onto menus around Philadelphia. Credit: Wiki Commons

George Bengal won’t give the name of the West Philadelphia restaurant.

“But when we went in with the warrant,” said Bengal, director of law enforcement for the Pennsylvania SPCA about a case 11 years ago, “they had over 50 cats chained in the basement, and the individual was actually butchering the cats when we walked in.”

The SPCA took the animals, and the Health Department shut the restaurant down.

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it’s illegal for restaurants to sell and serve cat or dog meat.

However, it is perfectly legal for a citizen to kill a dog or cat and eat it, as long as it is all done humanely, and done in the privacy of their homes.

“When you would tell the average layperson that you were allowed to eat dogs and cats and, you know, domestic animals, most people were appalled by that,” Bengal said. “They thought there was a law already in place.”

With the help of the state legislature, that may change.

Rep. John Maher (R-Allegheny/Washington) introduced the bill in October, and it passed the state house this week. If passed in the Senate, it would be illegal to breed and kill dogs or cats just to eat their meat.

While not many incidents of pet slaughter are reported, the SPCA points to the “private” aspect of the law, which the organization says makes it difficult for officers to pin down offenders. But Bengal said the urban enclave of Philadelphia is where the SPCA receives the most reports. And as word spread of the legality of the act, opposition has grown.

If approved, Pennsylvania would be one of only seven states with a specific law against eating cats and dogs.

According to the legislation, which has drawn 35 bipartisan co-sponsors, violation of the proposed law would bring a $10,000 fine and up to five years in prison.

Rep. Michelle F. Brownlee (D-Philadelphia), a cat owner, also used to own two dogs, a rabbit and a hamster.

“You have to treat domestic animals the best you can,” she said, “I don’t think they are being born to be eaten.”

But that’s not everyone’s view. Bengal points out that in many Asian and third-world countries where food is not as accessible, domestic animals are used for food.

“In certain cultures, dogs and cats are a delicacy,” Bengal said.

But who would eat a dog?

“We’re seeing it more and more only because of the population change; everything is more diverse now,” Bengal said. “You have a lot more people from other countries living here and coming over here, and they bring their culture with them.

“But here, it’s just not acceptable.”


Follow Tommy Rowan on Twitter: @tommyrowan

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Twitter: @metrophilly

Follow Metro Philadelphia on Facebook: Metro Philadelphia


MAP: New York City Street Closures August 22,…

The Percy Sutton Harlem 5K and NYC Family Health Walk-a-thon and Pakistan Day Parade and Fair will cause traffic delays and street closures in New York City this weekend. Plan…


U.N. nuclear inquiry on Iran seen making slow…

The U.N. nuclear watchdog appears to have made only limited progress so far in getting Iran to answer questions about its suspected atomic bomb research, diplomatic sources said on Friday,…


Violence-weary Missouri town sees second night of calm

By Nick Carey and Carey GillamFERGUSON Mo. (Reuters) - The violence-weary town of Ferguson, Missouri, saw a second straight evening of relative calm on Thursday…


Journalist James Foley's parents, after call with pope,…

The parents of James Foley, the American journalist killed by Islamic State militants in Iraq, on Friday called for prayer and support to free the remaining captives held by Islamic…


Recap: 'The Knick,' Season 1, Episode 3, 'The…

The third episode of Steven Soderbergh's "The Knick" finds Dr. Thackery (Clive Owen) meeting an old flame and other characters embracing self-destruction.


Webcast: Watch Polyphonic Spree live on Sunday Aug.…

Polyphonic Spree singer Tim DeLaughter sits with Metro Music Editor Pat Healy for a chat and then the big band performs live. It begins on Sunday at 9:30 pm


Matthew Weiner on directing 'Are You Here' and…

"Mad Men" creator Matthew Weiner discusses his movie "Are You Here," his history writing comedy and the tiny movie he directed in 1996 you can't see.


Michael Chiklis on his football past and 'When…

Michael Chiklis remembers playing football in high school and how that prepped him to play a coach in "When the Game Stands Tall."


3 things we learned about the Giants in…

The Giants claimed the Snoopy trophy in a battle of MetLife Stadium tenants Friday night. But more importantly, the offense finally showed some life in…


3 things we learned about the Jets in…

The Jets lost the Snoopy Bowl, 35-24, to the Giants, losing the trophy and local bragging rights.


Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.


Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.


Asics is giving away free gear around NYC…

Asics wants to see you on the court - and in the stands for the U.S. Open, which begins Monday - by giving away free…


Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…


Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…


Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…