Last Tuesday, August 28th, we celebrated 365 days since Libre’s Law was enacted after being signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf. To this day we are humbled by the passionate voices who worked tirelessly to pass PA State Rep. Todd Stephens Act 10, which was the most comprehensive animal abuse overhaul Pennsylvania had ever enacted. Each section of the bill was inspired by the cruel treatment that certain animals received, and it is crucial that we remember their stories, however difficult they are to hear.
There was little Biscuit, who fell victim to a Domestic Violence dispute. The perpetrator intentionally broke Biscuit’s jaw and used his body to put out 13 cigarettes. No charges were filed against the abuser, meanwhile The ANNA Shelter paid $4000 to cover Biscuit’s medical bills. In regards to Biscuit’s story, Act 10 incorporated Rep. Ryan Bizzarro’s Mandatory Forfeiture, which requires that upon felony conviction of animal cruelty the abused animals be forfeited to an animal shelter.
Then there was Tanner, who spent 10 years living on the end of a chain. When Animal Care Sanctuary took him in, Tanner was emaciated and unable to walk. Thankfully he was adopted and spent his last months in a loving home. But in honor of Tanner, Libre’s Law puts specific and sensible limitations on tethering a dog outside.
And we will never forget Cordelia, a mare who was found starving and living in abhorrent conditions in a salvage yard. Despite receiving intense veterinary care, she passed away within days. The perpetrator paid a mere fine because misdemeanor level charges only applied to dogs and cats. Under Act 10, misdemeanor or felony charges would be filed since Pennsylvania’s cruelty laws are no longer species specific, but act-based. Cordelia’s tragic story inspired HSUS-PA along with Omega Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation Center Inc to rescue 2 horses from an at-risk for slaughter situation to raise awareness for equine protection. Penn and Penny will spend the rest of their days receiving stellar care at Pennsylvania Equine Rescue & Retirement Foundation.
And of course there is the puppy who became the face of Act 10, Libre. When Libre was discovered by Good samaritan, Dextin, on a Lancaster farm he was truly on the brink of death. Humane Officer Jennifer Nields made the call to Speranza Animal Rescue asking them to take him in, to which they agreed. Libre then spent a month under the care of veterinarian Ivan Pryor, who along with the staff of Dillsburg Veterinary Center, was able to revive and rehabilitate Libre. He no longer resembles the mangy emaciated puppy he once was, and is now surrounded only by love. In recognition of the miraculous rescue, Senator Rich Alloway’s Libre’s Law increased penalties for heinous abuse.
Act 10 also granted civil immunity to veterinarians and vet techs and Humane Police Officer immunity introduced by Rep. Frank Farry to prevent frivolous lawsuits against those professionals when reporting animal abuse.
These animals and their rescuers inspire us every day to keep up the good fight for animal protection. We will never silence our voices, being that animals do not have their own. It is our duty to guard them from mistreatment and Act 10 was a pivotal step in the the right direction. But our work is far from done.
Please check back for ways that you can help protect all of Pennsylvania’s animals!
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