By Tony Romeo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS) — Dog lovers rallied on the steps of the Pennsylvania state capitol today to support a package of pet protection bills currently pending in the legislature.

State senator Andy Dinniman (D-Chester County, far left in photo) was one of the organizers of the rally.  He’s backing several bills, including measures that would toughen laws against tethering of animals, would allow “therapy” dogs on public transit, and would address penalties for people who harm pets in domestic violence situations.

Dinniman says that up till now, state law has viewed pets as commodities, not members of the family.

“So we are simply trying to make laws that reflect the change in society,” he said.

Dinniman brought with him his eight-year-old Arreau red standard poodle, Henry, who frequently accompanies him to events in his district.

“I think if there was an election in Chester County today, Henry would beat me,” Dinniman noted.