Libre's Law, which increased penalties for Pa. animal abuse, turns 1 year old

The namesake Boston Terrier was on hand for the celebration.

Jim Melwert
July 31, 2018 - 3:55 pm
Libre the Boston terrier

Jim Melwert/KYW Newsradio


HORSHAM, Pa. (KYW Newsradio) — A celebration at the Horsham Dog Park on Tuesday marked the one-year anniversary of a Pennsylvania law that strengthens protections for animals. 

It’s become known as Libre’s Law.

Libre himself was on hand for the celebration.

“I mean, if you saw the photos of him, they really didn’t think he was going to make it,” said Pa. State Rep. Todd Stephens of Libre, the Boston Terrier from Lancaster County whose rescue in 2016 sparked a push for tougher animal-cruelty laws in the state.

Stephens says the humane officers who retrieved Libre felt their hands were tied.

“That they couldn’t deliver the justice he deserved. That was a big part of this bill,” he said.

Delaware County District Attorney Kat Copeland also came up for the celebration. She said, before Libre’s Law, animal abusers got off with a slap on the wrist. 

“No matter how cruel the offense was back then, was essentially a fine,” she said.

Stephens said, "A horse was beaten to death because it collapsed in the August heat pulling a cart of water melons. That individual got a traffic ticket in essence. A couple of young folks were blowing up turtles with M-80s."

Libre’s Law increases penalties for animal abuse, in some cases to a felony level. It also bases the punishment on the severity of the crime, unlike prior law which gave different penalties for different animals. The law sets guidelines for when and how long dogs can be chained up outside, and in what temperatures, and offers immunity for vets who report abuse.