Dowling Introduces Bill to Prohibit Intentional Balloon Releases to Protect Wildlife, Livestock, Pets
HARRISBURG – Recognizing the serious threat posed to wildlife, livestock and pets by balloon litter, Rep. Matthew Dowling (R-Fayette/Somerset) has introduced legislation to prohibit intentional balloon releases in the Commonwealth.

“While balloon releases may feel like a moving way to remember a loved one or celebrate a special occasion, we need to think about where those balloons end up,” Dowling said. “They sometimes travel many miles from where they were released and end up in farm fields or waterways where they are mistaken as food and in many documented cases have resulted in animal deaths.”

When eaten, balloons may end up lodged in the digestive tract of an animal, preventing the intake of any more nutrients and ultimately resulting in an agonizing death by starvation. . Also dangerous are the ribbons attached to balloons, as animals may become entangled in them, causing injuries or strangulation.

“Balloon litter is detrimental to Pennsylvania’s environment and causes immense pain and suffering to animals who mistake deflated or burst balloon pieces for food or get entangled in their strings. We are grateful to Rep. Dowling for introducing a bill to ban intentional balloon releases,” said Kristen Tullo, Pennsylvania state director for the Humane Society of the United States.

House Bill 2614 would prohibit any state or local organization, entity or person older than age 13 from intentionally releasing a balloon into the atmosphere, with minimal exceptions. It would also put in place a fine for those who violate the law.

“It’s time we all recognize the dangers posed by balloon releases and look for alternative ways to celebrate or remember a loved one,” Dowling said.

The bill has been referred to the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee.

Representative Matthew Dowling
51st Legislative District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

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