By Brad Segall

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Area animal shelters are behind legislation making its way through the state legislature in Harrisburg that would make it easier for them to care for animals seized in hoarding cases.

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Shelters are not allowed to find homes for animals seized in hoarding cases until the case is resolved.  That can take years, and the cost of caring for those animals can drain budgets and take resources away from other shelter programs.

The bill requires alleged animal abusers to pay for the care of the animals while the case moves through the courts.

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Montgomery County SPCA executive director Carmen Ronio says the costs can bankrupt smaller organizations. Ronio says they’re using a donated fund which is designed to save these animals but is not sufficient to let them languish in cages while the court system moves slowly.

He says he had a case a decade ago in which more than 100 animals were seized from a house in Hatfield, Pa. The homeowner fought the charges for three years while the cost of caring for the animals ballooned to more than a quarter of a million dollars.

The bill has passed the Pennsylvania House. Its future in the State Senate remains uncertain.

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