Serving cat meat in a restaurant may soon be illegal in Pennsylvania

By Eliza Black-Taylor

In a December 3 article in Metro U.S Philadelphia, George Bengal, director of law enforcement for the Pennsylvania SPCA, went into a West Philadelphia restaurant and was forced to face a cat lover’s worst nightmare. Although he won’t give the name of the restaurant, Bengal brought down a restaurant serving cat and rescued more than 50 cats chained in the basement.

dog meat

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

When he went in with a warrant, Bengal found someone in the basement actually butchering the cats to serve as a delicacy.

This isn’t surprising, as many cultures find it acceptable to serve both cat and dog on their menu. Many Asian and other third world countries where food may be scarce routinely offer cat and dog.

The Health Department shut down the restaurant and the SPCA rescued the cats.

The new law was recently passed by unanimous vote in the Pennsylvania House making it illegal to breed and kill dogs or cats for food. The bill, known as HB 1750 (2013) was referred to the Pennsylvania committee on Agriculture and Rural Affairs on October 15, 2013. A complete PDF document detailing the new law, introduced by Rep. John Maher (R-Allegheny/Washington) can be found here. The legislation had drawn 35 bipartisan co-sponsors who proposed punishment for those who broke the law. A list of those in favor of HB1750 can be found on the PDF.

The passage of HB1750, which will go into effect in 60 days once passed, will make Pennsylvania only one of seven states that make killing and serving cat or dog a crime. The Senate is set to vote on the bill this week.

1st offense will be a misdemeanor of the first degree and upon conviction the guilty party will be ordered to pay a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $10,000 or to be imprisoned for not more than five years. Both jail time and a fine may be ordered, instead of either/or.

A repeat offender may be charged with a third degree felony, and if convicted may be sentenced to a fine of not less than $2,500 and not more than $15,000. Prison time can be up to seven years. In this case, either/or may be ordered.

Personally, I believe anyone who decides to break this new law should receive both jail time as well as a hefty fine.

However, all 50 states have now banned the sale of dog and cat meat to the general public. It is also illegal to serve cat or dog in restaurants. What a lot of cat and dog lovers in Pennsylvania weren’t aware of is the legality for a private citizen to kill a dog or cat and eat it. Up until now, it’s been legal for a Pennsylvania resident to kill and serve cat or dog meat, provided the killing was done in a humane manner and in the privacy of their home. Just don’t offer it for sale to the public or have it on a menu.

Rep. Michelle F. Brownlee (D-Philadelphia) summed up HB1750 by stating

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

Being from a small town, I can honestly say that cat or dog aren’t on any local restaurant menu in my area. I have heard of areas in Atlanta where the majority of the citizens are Asian, there are few dogs or cats running loose in urban neighborhoods. It’s not difficult to speculate what happened to the stray population in this area.

I’m proud of Pennsylvania for creating such a bill. But I do find it disturbing to learn cat and dog could be killed in the privacy of the home and cooked up as dinner. Your comments on any of this are welcome. It’s a disturbing subject, but one I feel necessary for cat (and dog) lovers to be made aware of. Let’s hope the bill passes in the Pennsylvania Senate, as is expected.


  1. References
  2. Search results for “cat meat” on PoC.

Please search using the search box at the top of the site. You are bound to find what you are looking for.

Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

32 thoughts on “Serving cat meat in a restaurant may soon be illegal in Pennsylvania”

  1. The bad thing is most of these cats and dogs may have been loved lost pets. These murderering people have no place in our civilized culture murdering our lost pets. They are barbaric, ship them out of our country! Even the bible says if a persons animal gets lost and you find it to return it to your fellow man. And these idiots chain and kill the animal and devour it like pigs! They are filthy and discusting!

  2. And yet another clear article.

    The question will be now, “Will this also include the slaughter and butchering of shelter pets that are reportedly often shipped to pet for companies to be added to they ‘animal digest’ slurry used by these top name companies”?

  3. Please do NOT write articles if you have not fully researched your subject, and most certainly do NOT use misfacts as your leading subject!

    IT IS illegal to serve, sell or butcher cat and dog for public consumption in the state of Pennsylvania. Thus why he wont name the restaurant. Im sure there is an ongoing case preventing that as well as involvement from the health dept.

    It IS currently legal to butcher, cook and consume cat and dog in the privacy of your own home as long as it’s done “humanely”. (Considering we don’t slaughters cows, pigs or any other meat product we consume “Humanely”, I find this ironic).

    there is a bill introduced by Rep. John Maher (R-Allegheny/Washington)to stop this practice as well.

    A more accurate article can be read here, and considering PA is only 1 of a handful (7-8) to even be willing to MAKE private consumption illegal, shame on you for making it seem as if it was legal in PA to have cat and dog served on the menu!!

  4. what’s this BS about protecting the restaurateur by keeping their names secret!!!??? Were they minor? (rhetorical question) Its a matter of public record…if nothing else a foia should reveal it. our those people, and let justice be served!

    1. I agree. The people accused should be named. I believe in transparency. There is far to much secrecy in government and by enforcement agencies. Transparency brings better government and greater honesty.

    2. I agree Debbie. This is NOT secret information. No one, who accepts a paycheck from the public, has the right to decide who will be revealed in a public document or who will be kept secret. Court dockets, arrest records (*if any) should also be requested by any member of the public who wishes to view the documents. A Freedom of Information Act may be a necessity. If I ate at area restaurants, I’d sure want to know who’s serving what….

  5. I was aware that some people consume dogs and cats; but, I really had no idea that any of it was legal anywhere in the States. It’s barbaric. With all the food choices available… WHY? I would think the paperboy would be more tasty!!!

    1. It is a culture thing. I guess some immigrants to the USA bring with them their culture of eating cat and dog. Some ethnic minority groups think that eating cat brings health benefits. I recall they believe it cures arthritis. Completely mad but there it is.

    2. Well, even the paper boy should watch out. Our U.S. FBI now is operating on the research they have collected which shows abusers of animals are also sporting felony acts or convictions for violence against
      humans. One goes hand in hand with the other.

  6. How dreadful!
    I know some people say what difference eating cats and dogs to farm animals but even I as a vegan think that’s wrong because farm animals are not domestic pets.I don’t like that people eat any animals at all when there’s no need to but I respect people have their own choice to eat them as I have my choice not to.

  7. I’ll be keeping an eye out for this one to go through. It’s expected to with no problem since it cleared the Pennsylvania House already. I’m with you on how could you go about enforcing something that someone does in secret in their own home. My ex lived on the streets in Atlanta for awhile and he said there were street vendors who were Asian selling meat sandwiches with some kind of meat that definitely wasn’t chicken, beef or pork. He’s the one who told me in that area there were no stray animals running loose in the area.

    There are plenty of people in the U.S. who are outraged at the things people are getting away with involving cats and dogs. I’ve learned about many of these individuals during the last six months. I get the feeling I may be voted “most likely to start a riot” because of the animal rights issues I promote. The main problem I’ve found is knowing the difference between individuals who are dangerous, psychotic or act with a level head. Sometimes it’s a very thin line.

    1. I think it very disgusting for you to order General toast chicken and get cat or dog meat they need to shut all these Asian and Chinese restaurants down and then they come in these low-income areas and sell that stuff it’s not right and we people living in the neighborhood needs to stop supporting them and don’t buy anything from the store not even a soda

  8. Ruth aka Kattaddorra

    This is terrible! I don’t think we know the half of the cruelty going on in this world and in places supposed to be civilised. How many cats suffer behind closed doors, it doesn’t bear thinking about.

  9. It’s incredibly creepy that this was going on out in the open. If I had walked into that restaurant and found out they served cat and dog I would have been very angry and done something of course.

    Makes me never want to eat chinese food.

  10. Personally, I find this repugnant. It seems America imported cat meat culture.

    Up until now, it’s been legal for a Pennsylvania resident to kill and serve cat or dog meat, provided the killing was done in a humane manner and in the privacy of their home..

    It is impossible to enforce this. Anything done in the home to a cat by a single person with no witnesses is impossible to enforce.

    I guess some American Asians (Chinese?) might be trapping feral cats and killing them for a free meal. Possible?

    The fact that this restaurant was serving up cat meat indicates that it is possible. I thought that cat meat was confined to Asia. Although it is interesting to remember that lion steaks are legal in America. Weird.

    He sells lion meat. Is this any different to domestic cat meat?

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