Pennsylvania, Texas Take Aim at Animal Cruelty

Pennsylvania, long notorious for its weak repercussions for even the worst cases of abuse, took a giant leap forward when Governor Tom Wolf signed Libre’s Law. The state finally acted as a result of public outrage over the case of Libre, a Boston terrier who had been so neglected by a puppy mill operator that he was close to death when a concerned deliveryman finally convinced the breeder to let him take the puppy to a vet. Although the breeder pleaded guilty to abandoning Libre to die, the worst punishment he faced was a fine of less than $1,000. While the new law maintains the much-maligned summary offense for certain acts, misdemeanor and felony charges are now available in more instances; for example, torturing an animal and neglect or cruelty that causes serious bodily injury or death are now felonies.

In June Texas Governor Bill Abbott signed Senate Bill 762, which increases penalties for certain especially heinous acts of animal cruelty, including torturing, cruelly killing, poisoning, or causing serious bodily injury. Incidents of extreme animal cruelty have been on the rise across Texas; setting dogs on fire has become especially common.

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