Pennsylvania finally passes felony penalty for animal abuse

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A comprehensive animal protection bill which includes a felony penalty has passed the Pennsylvania Legislature  and is expected to be signed by the governor within the next ten days. Senator Richard Alloway, from Adams County having become one of the main lobbyist in Harrisburg supporting animal rights, has consistently been a voice for those who cannot speak. The bill known as Libre’s Law, named after a Boston Terrier rescued just one year ago from a Lancaster puppy breeding farm, was the impetus for the legislation. Pennsylvania had been only one of three states without a felony penalty for severe animal abuse.

“You know, I’ve been in the legislature for ten years, and we seem to be traditionally behind everyone else for some reason,” Senator Alloway told the press. “But I’m just glad that we’re here today, and I’m looking forward to having the governor sign this bill.”

On July 4, 2016, as families and friends gathered together to celebrate the 4th of July, the Speranza Animal Rescue volunteers were called to help after a woman discovered an emaciated, dehydrated puppy during her walk in Lancaster. The puppy had been left for dead; fortunately the good Samaritan brought the pup to an emergency veterinarian where the rescue organization’s founder, Janine Guido rushed to help. The puppy was in and out of consciousness, barely breathing, and according to the vet was one of the worst cases of neglect and abuse she had ever seen.

“She assumed I wanted to let him go. To have him euthanized, and when I said do whatever you need to do for him to have a chance, she had a surprised tone in her voice. And she said ok.”

That day there had been the acrid smell of necrotic flesh, but as Janine looked down and saw the tiny head peeking out of the blanket, the doctor stating the puppy’s chances for survival were slim, she just couldn’t turn her back. And so began Libre’s long journey back to health and now a healthy 37-pound young dog who has garnered his own fan club and loves every bit of the attention.

And on Tuesday, with Libre present with his human mom, Janine, the Senate unanimously passed the bill which establishes grades of violations up to a felony charge for intentionally torturing an animal or for neglect or abuse that causes severe injury or death. Felony abuse laws currently existed, however had only been for dog fighting and severe abuse of domestic pets. House Bill 1238 strengthens existing laws where violators can be found guilty of a third-degree felony. Also included is additional language preventing dog owners from tethering in certain situations, such as if the animal has open sores or the owner has used a tow chain, choke collar or similar devices or during periods of intense heat, cold or other forms of inclement and dangerous weather. The bill includes measures for the forfeiture of pets in cases of abuse and addresses added protections for horses, police animals and crimes against guide dogs.

Read prior articles of Libre here.

Photos via Speranza Animal Rescue and Facebook.

Follow the National Pet Rescue on Facebook.

Read about the Golden retriever who had been bred and then the owner decided he didn’t want the trouble anymore.

12 replies
  1. Cynthia Como says:

    So very happy to hear this!! How wonderful does Libre look today? AMAZING! This is wonderful news,lots of Amish in this state and way too many neglect their animals! Also there are A LOT of puppy mills in this state owned and operated by the Amish! And we all know there is no such thing as a good puppy mill! So I’m hoping the judges who hear cases of animal cruelty get with the program and start harshly punishing those who hurt and abuse innocent animals!

  2. Nancy Raymond says:

    Thank you Senator Alloway for being a voice for those without one. There are way too many cases of severe animal abuse and the abusers walk away with a slap on the wrist. Hopefully, this law in Pennsylvania will wake up other states to institute felony animal abuse laws – the animals desperately need to be heard.

  3. Tonya Altemose says:

    I’m glad,people must speak for the animals , they have no voice. Im hoping other countries will come together to protect animals.

  4. Barkley's Mom says:

    Good to know they are trying to get tougher laws to protect animals, now all they have to do is figure out a way to make the Judges adhere to it.

  5. Debor33 says:

    Yay!!!!! I hope all other states follow suit…..until animal abuser are given a punishment like they hurt a person or punishment to the fullest extent of the law, they won’t stop because all they think they would get would be a slap on the wrist or a sentence suspended….they won’t stop…..I truly believe animal abusers are coward and will move on to abuse spouses or partners & children.


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