Dog lends paw with signing of animal cruelty bill

Legislation increases penalties

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf

Libre, a rescued Boston terrier, put his paw of approval on a bill strengthening Pennsylvania's laws against animal cruelty and neglect.

Gov. Tom Wolf signed the legislation Wednesday, and then had Libre, who was found last year emaciated and diseased as a puppy, stamp his paw on the bill, The Associated Press reported.

“The story of Libre’s shocking mistreatment and miraculous recovery helped spur a broader discussion of how we can better protect animals,” said Sen. Rich Alloway in a press release. “The result is a bill that not only toughens penalties against abusers, but also spells out the kind of treatment that is dangerous and unacceptable.

The legislation, which takes effect in two months, is the state's most comprehensive animal protection bill in the state's history, Rep. Todd Stephens said in a press release.

Stephens introduced the bill, which increases penalties for animal abuse and takes effect in two months. It establishes a felony offense of aggravated cruelty to animals. 

“In Pennsylvania, torturing or seriously abusing an animal in most instances was punishable only by the equivalent of a traffic ticket,” Stephens said before the signing, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. “That was just wrong, so we set out to change that.”