Update: The bill, which should have easily passed this week and been sent to the PA Governor for his signature, was blocked by members of the NRA gun lobby. They were concerned that this anti-animal abuse bill would have made live pigeon shoots illegal in PA. According to state Rep. Mike Sturla (D), the bill was revised to make it “explicit that pigeon shoots would still be legal.”
The only day available for the PA House to vote on this bill will be on November 14, 2016, and there is no guarantee that, without pressure from the voting public, that it will come to the floor. Here is a link to find YOUR state Representative in PA to call and send emails and messages to ensure ‘Libre’s Law’ is passed. According to the site, Justice for Libre, there will be a peaceful rally at the PA state Capitol on November 14.
A bill finally flying through official halls in the State of Pennsylvania is sure to have animal advocates cheering, and it’s one that should make a huge difference in the lives of animals there. This bill, which was approved last week by every member of the Senate, will prevent convicted animal abusers from receiving their pets back from an animal society or association!
The proposed PA bill (H.B. 869) will also dramatically increase the penalties incurred by animal abusers in that state. The new laws gained momentum after the discovery of little Libre, the Boston Terrier puppy from Lancaster County, who endured horrible suffering at the hands of his breeder/owner.
The bill was sponsored by State Rep. Ryan Bizzarro, D-Erie, who said “there is a lot of stress to animals when they are allowed to return to their abusers and it places the animal in grave danger. Anyone convicted of abusing an animal should not be afforded the opportunity to resume the abuse.”
The PA House had already passed the original version of the bill, and the Senate made the bill even stronger, with these additional penalties:
- Anyone who knowingly or recklessly abuses, mistreats or neglects an animal will face a citation upon first offense and a misdemeanor for subsequent offenses.
- Anyone who commits aggravated animal cruelty that results in serious bodily injury to an animal will face a felony charge.
New limits were also set on housing and tethering animals, with stiff violations. Guide dogs will also be more thoroughly protected, and new language was included to increase protection to horses as well as zoo animals. Setting out poisons to deliberately injure a dog, cat or horse will not be tolerated, nor will any form of torture. And the penalties don’t vary whether the animal belongs to the abuser or to someone else!
The revised bill is now back in the House, where it is expected to be quickly approved, and then sent on to Governor Wolf’s desk for a signature.
Said Rep. Bizzarro, “The legislature needs to punish abusers a lot more than we do now and we are almost there.” Isn’t it time for every state to be asking their state representatives ‘what about US?’ Here is a link to the bill to help make it happen!