Governor Tom Wolf leads the pack in his new legislation on improving animal welfare. It’s “history in the making” according to Kristen Tullo, director of the Humane Society in Pennsylvania. Effective on August 2017, Gov. Wolf’s “Act 10” would call for much stricter punishments for abuse, cruelty, and neglect committed against animals. It would also clearly define what these forms of cruelty entail.
“Far too long we have heard stories of neglected and abused animals who suffered and died because of deplorable treatment and horrible living conditions. I am proud that we will now hold our pet and animal owners to a higher standard of humanity” said Wolf during his proposal.
The bill was named in honor of Libre, a Boston Terrier puppy in Lancester, PA who was found barely surviving after being in a cage, neglected, for months. Fortunately, Janine Guido of Speranza Animal Rescue saved him in time and enabled him to live the much better life he has today.
Components of the bill include (1) improved tethering conditions for dogs kept outside while owners are shopping etc., (2) added protection for horses equal to those of dogs and cats, (3) increased penalties for animal neglect, cruelty, and aggravated cruelty, (4) ensured forfeiture of the owner’s pet in case of abuse, and (5) civil immunity for vets reporting abuse.
One of the main issues the law addresses is leaving a dog alone outside for over 30 minutes in temperatures below 32 degrees or above 90 degrees F. This is now being recognized as a CRIME in Pennsylvania, punishable by law with up to $750 in fines and 90 days in prison. Violators who have committed aggravated crimes, those maiming or killing a dog on purpose, may receive up to several years of imprisonment. Such laws are necessary, Gov. Wolf says, will “hold our pet and animal owners to a higher standard of humanity.”
Yet even these measures “won’t stop animal abuse.” Jennifer Nields of Lancaster County Animal Coalition knowingly said. However, they “will emphasize the importance of justice for animal suffering.” It is about time that animals who are not able to speak the language that we do are given a voice and rights to live protected lives in which they feel cared for and loved.
This winter, make sure that your dog remains safe and warm and protected from cold weather. The first sign to check is the dog’s paws. Cold paws means that the ground is too cold and your dog is actually suffering from the weather. So make sure to bring your loyal companion inside! If you see a dog that looks like it has been outside for a while, be sure to take the time to inform the authority and protect that pup! You will be saving a life and upholding the law.
While this law is currently only effective in Pennsylvania, one state does make a big difference! Gandhi once said that “the greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” In this sense, Libre’s law not only protects humankind’s best friend but may be upholding humankind to its highest standards.