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.
When the puppy was given up by his breeder in early July, Libre was so sick he could barely lift his head.
They celebrated again when Libre was was able to stand on his own, when he put on half a pound.
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.
“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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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