On Wednesday, a long-awaited victory was won for the animals of Pennsylvania as Gov. Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 298. Known as Libre’s Law, the legislation allows district attorneys to bring felony charges against animal abusers. Libre, the pup who spurred on the creation of the new law, approved it with a paw print signature at the event.
Libre’s Law was initiated when, almost a year ago on the Fourth of July, a delivery man spotted the horribly neglected Boston Terrier pup in a cage at an Amish breeder’s farm. After convincing the breeder to surrender the dog into his care, the delivery man rushed Libre to an emergency veterinary clinic. Suffering from mange, dehydration, and starvation, little Libre was in seemingly hopeless condition and required long-term intensive care. He was transferred to the Dillsburg Veterinary Center, where he miraculously recovered. Now, Libre has a forever home with founder of Speranza Animal Rescue, Janine Guido.
Libre’s Law has multiple parts. As described by Humane PA, the law addresses issues such as animal neglect and cruelty, aggravated cruelty, and tethering. Violators will be charged according to the degree of cruelty they impose upon their victims. Neglect warrants up to 90 days in jail and/or a $300 fine, while aggravated cruelty, or torture, can warrant up to seven years in jail and/or a $15,000 fine. The law also implements strict tethering guidelines, including the length of time in different weather extremes and the type of collar allowed.
Although long overdue, Libre’s Law marks significant progress for animal welfare in the state of Pennsylvania.
“Today is a day of celebration for all Pennsylvanians and animal-lovers everywhere,” said Gov. Tom Wolf. “I am proud to be a part of the true collaboration that helped make this landmark legislation a reality. Thanks to pets like Libre, Cordelia, and others whose stories have touched our hearts, we’re making great strides in animal welfare in Pennsylvania.”