In Pennsylvania, You Can Now Be Jailed For Leaving Your Dog Out In Extreme Weather

In Pennsylvania, You Can Now Be Jailed For Leaving Your Dog Out In Extreme Weather

The law is named after Libre, the dog that was found tied up in the snow starving and ill. Since being rescued, the dog has made a full recovery.

Source: Getty Images/ Victoria Neer

When you make space in your life for a pet, you make sure they're treated well, showering them with all the love and treating them as part of your family. However, not everyone is like that. That's when the government has to intervene as they did in Pennsylvania. The lawmakers there took it upon themselves to make sure the dogs there aren't mistreated, especially in the cold weather. Thus the bill, known as Libre’s Law, makes it illegal for owners to leave their dogs outside for more than 30 minutes if it’s under 32°F (0°C) or over 90°F (32.2°C). This way, the doggos are guaranteed to remain safe and the owners who don't follow the rules will just end up in jail.


Todd Stephens, a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, introduced Libre’s Law. In an interview with Bored Panda, he revealed that the law has been revolutionary. “With felony-level punishments, the overall animal abuse laws now have the teeth necessary to allow law enforcement to better protect our animals in Pennsylvania.” He added, “I know law enforcement has used the law repeatedly to intervene when animals have been left outside in unsafe conditions.” Representative Stephens then said that sometimes, laws that ought to be basic common sense have to be passed because not a lot of people have it. 


“Unfortunately, people often don’t recognize the harm that can come from leaving their pets outside in the elements. The goal of the law was to raise awareness to prevent animals from extended exposure to extreme weather conditions.” When asked if the current law could be improved in any way, Stephens said, “We need to provide sheltering standards. Too often people are providing inadequate structures for their animals when outside and we should provide standards for pet owners to follow." According to The Dogington Post, Mercer County Humane Officer Paul Tobin said, “Don’t leave them outside. The new law is pretty clear. Anything under 32 degrees, anything over 90 degrees, your dogs are not allowed outside for more than 30 minutes.”


If someone is found leaving their dog outside in the cold, or even in hot temperatures, for more than half an hour, they can be jailed for up to 90 days or have to pay a fine of $750, reports People. The case is completely different for those who harm their dogs intentionally. If someone is found guilty of abusing their pet, they can get up to seven years in prison and might even have to pay up to $15,000 as fine. If you're wondering about the unique name the law has, it's named after a Boston terrier named Libre that was found tied up outside a farm in Lancaster County. When found, Libre was really sick and starving, but the dog's made a full recovery since then.


Libre was even present when Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed the law, and even added his paw print to the bill! “Today we are sending a clear message that Pennsylvania will not tolerate animal cruelty in our state and will punish offenders to the fullest extent of the law. This is the most comprehensive animal protection bill in the Commonwealth’s history and would not have been possible without the determined efforts of my colleagues in the House and Senate, the Governor and the thousands of advocates who contacted their elected officials expressing their support for the bill,” Rep. Stephens said.


People had mixed opinions about the law. Melinda Brown Inglesby shared on Facebook: The law doesn't go far enough- in order for the police to do anything, the dog must be tethered. If it's allowed to roam free, nothing can be done until it's in obvious distress- heatstroke in summer, unresponsive in freezing temps. It's a start, but needs further work. Susie Hanson Burns added: This should be a no brainer in all states!! It doesn't matter if you are in a warm climate state. It was 44 degrees last night in Ft Lauderdale. Below freezing temps in Northern Fla. Tara Kushner added: Now let's hope they enforce it. I am in PA and, in my experience, animals are often left in bad situations despite our continuous efforts to help and fight for them. It is so cold here right now. I hope they do the right thing when they receive complaints.




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