HARRISBURG, Pa.—The state House of Representatives has approved a bill to allow judges to decide who should pay for the care of animals seized in cases involving alleged criminal cruelty.

The bill was approved Wednesday on a vote of 163-to-34, and sent to the Senate.

The proposal applies to animals seized in cruelty cases that result in criminal charges. It allows the organization that seizes the animals to file a petition in district court for "reasonable costs" of $15 a day.

Rep. John Maher, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, says the bill is designed to ensure shelters can promptly seek payment and defendants can contest the seizure of an animal.

The Allegheny County Republican says the House approved a similar measure last year but a Senate vote was never taken.