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.See Also: Animal Shelters Open Today
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From a jungle of rain-washed pines and junipers spearing the recent blueness in the Florida sky, ran a little, tawny-haired boy. His bare toes, extending from his overalled legs, crackled against the fallen palmettos. He leaped into your air, flinging his arms toward a flock of white doves circling above him.
People who abuse animals will now face up to five years in prison under a tough new crackdown. Environment Secretary Michael Gove said the increase in the present six-month sentence was needed to combat cruelty. The move comes after a series of cases in which courts said they would have liked to impose tougher sentences if they had the option. These include instances when a man bought a number of puppies just to brutally and systematically beat, choke and stab them to death.
The new legislation will also enable courts to deal more effectively with ruthless gangs involved in organised dog fights, said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Mr Gove said: “We are a nation of animal lovers and so we must ensure that those who commit the most shocking cruelty towards animals face suitably tough punishments. “These plans will give courts the tools they have requested to deal with the most abhorrent acts.
“This is one part of our plan to deliver world-leading standards of animal welfare in the years ahead.” Under the Government’s plans, courts will retain the ability to hand out an unlimited fine and ban an offender from owning animals in the future but they will also have the ability to sentence the worst cases more harshly. The move will bring maximum sentences for animal cruelty in England into line with Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The RSPCA’s David Bowles said: “We are thrilled that the Government has responded to calls from the RSPCA and members of the public to toughen up sentences for the worst animal abusers. “We now feel that those who commit these acts will soon be receiving sentences that reflect the seriousness of their crime and hope this will act as a real deterrent against cruelty and neglect. “The RSPCA picks up the pieces of animal cruelty every day of the year.
“Our inspectors regularly rescue animals from horrific circumstances of mistreatment, brutality and neglect. “It is only through the prosecutions that we take that many of the perpetrators are brought to justice. UK news in pictures “The strength of feeling behind a move to toughen up these sentences is huge — at the moment the courts are limited by the law under which the strongest sentence for animal cruelty is six months’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine but this rarely happens.
“Michael Gove’s promise to bring sentences in line with Northern Ireland, which has a maximum of five years’ imprisonment, should help to deter people from abusing and neglecting animals, and will finally mean that the sentence fits the crime.” Philippa King, acting chief executive of the League Against Cruel Sports, said: “Alongside other animal welfare charities, we’ve been campaigning for more appropriate sentencing for animal cruelty for some time, so it’s excellent news that the Government has listened to the people who are dealing with this on the front line.
Our work on dog fighting has opened the eyes of many people who felt this despicable cruelty had disappeared. It hasn’t. “There are people in this country who find it either enjoyable or profitable to force dogs to attack each other, and the law at the moment is a pitiful deterrent. “If these proposals lead to five-year jail sentences for those involved in dog fighting, this will be a massive step forward.
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