Libre The Dog Gets A Happy Ending And Justice — A Loving Home, And Charges Against His Breeder

Credit: Libre, the Bug Eyed Miracle

A month ago, it wasn’t clear that little Libre would live. Now he’s not only thriving, but has inspired important changes in the handling of animal cruelty cases.

Credit: Dillsburg Veterinary Center
Credit: Dillsburg Veterinary Center

When the puppy was given up by his breeder in early July, Libre was so sick he could barely lift his head.

Every time he ate, his veterinarians at the Dillsburg Veterinary Center and his champion, Janine Guido of Speranza Animal Rescue, celebrated.

They celebrated again when Libre was was able to stand on his own, when he put on half a pound.

Photo credit: Dillsburg Veterinary Center
Photo credit: Dillsburg Veterinary Center

And the biggest cheer of all came at the end of July, when Libre’s vets felt the puppy was finally well enough to leave the hospital — and go home with Guido, for good.

Photo credit: Libre, the Bug Eyed Miracle
Photo credit: Libre, the Bug Eyed Miracle

“Can’t let him go,” Guido told BarkPost. “I promised him the first day I saw him that if he pulled through he had a forever home waiting for him. Can’t break that promise.”

Credit: Libre, the Bug Eyed Miracle
Credit: Libre, the Bug Eyed Miracle

But despite his horrendous condition, the Lancaster SPCA — a shelter which also provides humane law enforcement functions in Libre’s hometown of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania — announced it would not be pursuing animal cruelty charges against the puppy’s breeder.

The shelter director said to Lancaster Online this was because it’s not possible to prove “beyond a reasonable doubt that the individual willingly and knowingly grossly neglected care for the animal intending to cause foreseeable grave injury or harm.”

Photo credit: Dillsburg Veterinary Center
Photo credit: Dillsburg Veterinary Center

This decision causes a public uproar, and inspired a bill to toughen Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty laws.

And on Thursday morning, District Attorney Craig Stedman announced that animal cruelty charges have at last been filed against Libre’s breeder, Benjamin Stoltzfus — along with other important changes.

TV station WGAL has the details:

Stoltzfus is accused of failing to provide adequate veterinary care and leaving Libre in a kennel where he believed the dog would die. Investigators said Stoltzfus admitted that he failed to provide care for the dog.

Stedman has also filed a petition to suspend Sue Martin as the humane society police officer for the Lancaster County SPCA, alleging that she enforced cruelty laws in a “substandard” fashion.

Additionally, Stedman announced a change in the procedure regarding police, enforcement and prosecution of cruelty offenses in Lancaster County. He said enforcement for the time being will no longer be done by SPCA personnel.

Photo credit: Libre, the Bug Eyed Miracle
Photo credit: Libre, the Bug Eyed Miracle

So Libre now has his home — and he is beginning to see justice. Which will hopefully lead to fewer animals suffering, like he did.

And we can all see — once again — how fundamentally important it is to tell politicians and prosecutors that we will not tolerate animal cruelty in our communities.

That we want them to take these crimes seriously. That Libre’s life is important.

“It was everyone. Libre’s village,” Guido tells Shelter Me.

Photo credit: Libre, the Bug Eyed Miracle
Photo credit: Libre, the Bug Eyed Miracle

Check out the Animal Legal Legal Defense Fund’s annual report about the best and worst animal protection laws by state to see how your state can improve. And then let your lawmakers know that you want stronger laws.

Follow Libre’s new life on Facebook.

Get in touch at aringreenwood@gmail.com if you have an animal story to share!

Arin Greenwood

Arin Greenwood is an animal writer based in St. Petersburg, Florida. Previously, she was animal welfare editor at The Huffington Post. Arin is a former lawyer (J.D. from Columbia Law School, member of the New York Bar), life long animal lover, pit bull advocate, and devoted fan of cats and dogs who run for public office. Her first novel, Tropical Depression -- based on her five-odd, sometimes very odd, years living on a small island near Guam -- was published by teeny indie publisher Back Porch Books in 2011. Her second book, a comic young adult mystery called Save The Enemy, was published by Soho Teen in November 2013. Hello From Dog Island!, Arin's third book, will be published by Soho Teen in 2018. Know a shelter with a great, innovative program? Have another animal story to share? Get in touch at aringreenwood@gmail.com!