Those found guilty of abusing the law will risk being sentenced from 90 days to seven years in jail or pay hefty fines ranging from $300 to $15,000.
Dogs are normally treated with great love and care by compassionate humans. However, the four-legged wonders sometimes end up in the wrong hands and inadvertently become subject to some terrible torture. Up until recently, the strictest punishment against these horrible human beings would have been a slap on the wrist in the form of a meager fine for perpetrating heinous crimes on pets. The state of Pennsylvania has decided to take the lead in bringing a law in place that makes it illegal to leave dogs chained for more than nine hours on a given 24-hour period, reports PennLive.
The law also mandates that it is illegal to chain a dog for more than 30 minutes in temperatures below freezing levels or over 90 degrees. Those found guilty of abusing the law will risk being sentenced from 90 days to seven years in jail or pay hefty fines ranging from $300 to $15,000. Called Libre's Law, the legislation was enacted after a Boston terrier pup was found in a near-death condition in July 2016 in a Quarryville-area farm in York County. The pupper was found severely emaciated, covered in wounds, and maggots. Naturally, this incident sparked outrage across the state and country with every animal welfare group up in arms over the lack of punishment a bad owner would receive. Following this case, state lawmakers decided to craft new protections for animals and have now named it after the pup, who has since made full recovery. He was present at the signing of the law.
Apart from having a time limit for having a dog chained, the law also includes various other sections that deal with misdemeanors and felony charges. In a conversation with Lancaster Online, Kristen Tullo, the director of Humane Society in Pennsylvania, said the state was in need of an overhaul of animal cruelty laws since “current laws do not carry penalties with suitable punishments for abuse, cruelty, and neglect committed against animals." The Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association also welcomed the move and called it "an incredible victory for animals in Pennsylvania" when it was enacted back in 2017.
Bryan Langlois, medical director for the Pet Pantry of Lancaster County added: "Pennsylvania was woefully behind the times in the penalties that could be assessed for severe cases of animal cruelty. There were a lot of times we wanted to pursue serious charges against an individual but the law did not allow us to do this." He added, "The new law now finally sends the message that animal abusers will not just get away with a slap on the wrist and minimal fine." The Pennsylvania law is by no means the first because there are other states that have a law against leaving animals tied up for longer periods of time. However, none of them acknowledge the specificity with regards to animal safety that Libre's Law does. Awareness against such scenarios has also increased drastically since the enactment of the law.
When I promised to protect all Pennsylvanians, I meant our furry friends too. That’s why I signed Libre’s law, landmark animal protection legislation, to protect animals in Pennsylvania from abuse. Read more: https://t.co/D0YJ8f81Zq #WolfForPA pic.twitter.com/JmoNJBLr5R— Tom Wolf (@TomWolfPA) October 19, 2018
Speaking about the law, Carol Hill-Evans, a Democrat from York told PennLive: "I see Libre's Law as an increase of awareness to animal cruelty perpetrators and to put them on notice that this is now law, you will be arrested, you will be punished, and knock it off." As per the outlet, as many as 20,000 charges involving extreme animal abuse and neglect have been filed in Pennsylvania in the two years since the law came into effect. It has made it easier for prosecutors to apply harsher charges, as per data available till July this year. Fifty-two percent of the 21,206 charges filed through 2019 were related to animal neglect, according to data from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.
Over 20,000 animal cruelty, neglect charges filed statewide in the two years Libre’s Law https://t.co/Yyf4DI4le7— abc27 News (@abc27News) July 23, 2020