Advocates push for passing of Angel's Law to help abused animals

PITTSBURGH — A dog found emaciated in Homewood continues to recover, but the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society said she is making progress.

The dog, Effie, was rescued last month. Her owner Gerald Walker Jr. has been charged with animal cruelty, and Walker's mother is accused of threatening someone who was helping police with the case.

During a two-week weigh-in on Friday, it was found that Effie has gained 5 pounds. However, she is still 10 pounds underweight.

"Looking at her, what she must have suffered, and for her now to be giving us kisses and loving us and wagging her tail, and really just so forgiving, it just speaks so much to the beautiful demeanor and the temperament that she has," Mary Withrow, of the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society, said.

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Designed to strengthen penalties for people who abuse animals, Angel's Law is intended to help in cases like Effie's. It also calls for a police database of animal abusers.

There is a push to pass Angel's Law, or House Bill 113, which is currently in the state's judiciary committee.

Supporters rallied Friday to get the bill passed into law, claiming it would give a voice to animals like Effie and Valentino, a puppy who was brought to the Animal Rescue League after being found frozen over the Valentine's Day weekend.

“Make the public aware that stricter laws, rules need to be out there so that this type of situation stops happening,” Animal Rescue League Executive Director Dan Rossi said.

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