READINGTON TWP. — When Elizabeth Mongno’s dog was killed after being mistakenly shot by a crossbow hunter, she wished for legislation to help avoid this from happening again.
After working with state Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-20th), she may be getting just that.
Lesniak will be hosting a Facebook live press conference at the Mongno’s home on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. to announce Tonka’s Law, named after the Mongno’s 1-year-old Alaskan Shepard, who killed by an arrow in September.
Tonka was killed less than 100 feet from Mongno’s property line when the dog ran after deer and was mistaken as a coyote by a hunter who had been given permission to be on a nearby property by a neighbor. The hunter apologized to the family and is facing charges.
The bill will change the current law to increase the buffer between hunting and residential properties from 150 to 450 feet.
The current law was put in place in 2010, when the buffer was decreased from 450 feet, a decision Lesniak voted against.
“It was a big mistake, we recognized it then, but often times tragedies have to happen before it’s recognized by the legislature or the governor,” he said.
Because the legislation passed overwhelmingly in 2010, Lesniak said it’s important for constituents to contact their elected officials to support Tonka’s Law.
The bill, co-sponsored with state Sen. Kip Batemen (R-16th), will not only attempt to put the original law back in place, but also provide better notice to property owners when hunting is going on near them, he said.
“People can give, and do give, permission for hunters to use their property. People living there aren’t aware of the nearness and the need to take extra precaution,” he said.
The Facebook live will include a Q&A session from residents invited to the home and from commenters on Facebook. Lesniak said he will answer any issue regarding the protection of pets and animals.
Lesniak wanted to present the bill over Facebook live because the House is out of session, and he wanted to announce it before session began.
“We certainly want to avoid any more tragedies like poor Tonka being killed,” he said.
“We miss Tonka so much,” Mongno said in a Facebook post. “Hopefully some good changes will come from this.”