• New animal protections now in place in Pennsylvania


    PITTSBURGH - Monday marked the first day for new animal protections in Pennsylvania.

    The news has animal rights advocates celebrating.

    Animal shelters have been waiting for years for something like this to go into effect and animal advocates say abusers will now face penalties that match their crimes.

    "Our officers are out on the street five days a week, investigating cases.," Carol Whaley, director of clinic services for Animal Friends, said. "Probably every other week, we have some sort of confiscation."


    Libre's Law is a set of animal cruelty measures named after a puppy rescued just hours from death.  

    There are now new restrictions on tethering and harsher penalties for animal cruelty convictions.

    "Before, Pennsylvania was sort of lagging behind in these cruelty laws," Whaley said. "We were one of three states that really didn't have good laws on the books, and this really brings us up to the standards of the rest of the country."

    Whaley knows the law won't completely eliminate animal abuse, but she's hopeful more people will be educated and seek help before it's too late. 
    "If we can get to those folks before this situation occurs, we can educate them and we can give them the things that they need to make it a good situation for their pet," Whaley said.
    Some of the other changes are:
    • Increased penalties for animal cruelty, including the possibility of 90 days to seven years in jail and/or fines ranging from $300 to $15,000.

    • Extension of animal cruelty statutes, from dogs and cats to horses.

    • Mandatory forfeiture of the animal upon conviction. If someone is convicted of abusing an animal, the victimized animals will be seized.

    • Tethered dogs must be provided with basic needs, including water and shade, and cannot spend more than nine hours of a given 24-hour period tethered. When temperatures are above 90 degrees, dogs cannot be tethered for more than 30 minutes. The leash must be three times the length of the pet, or 10 feet, whichever is greater.



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