On the Radar: Animal Cruelty Laws

Your pets deserve to be treated humanely

by Trooper Bieber – July 17, 2018

Animal cruelty and neglect are serious crimes that often go unreported. The most common animal victims of these crimes are dogs, cats, horses and livestock. According to the Humane Society of U.S. website, various studies have indicated a strong correlation between animal cruelty and domestic violence.

In Pennsylvania, 2017 legislation, nicknamed “Libre’s Law”, significantly changed our animal cruelty and neglect laws. If you’re not familiar with Libre’s story, he was a Boston Terrier puppy from the Lancaster, PA area. He was neglected, severely malnourished, suffering from infections, and close to death. His rescue and recovery was a big push for our law changes.

The biggest changes to our state animal cruelty law include more specific definitions of various abuse and neglect violations and increased penalties for these crimes. It also makes these crimes similar to assaults against a person with various grading dependent on the severity of the injuries.

Here are a couple of the new distinctions in law:
Neglect of an Animal – failure to provide necessary food, water, shelter or veterinary care. Summary or Misdemeanor offense depending on severity of injury/suffering.

Animal Cruelty – intentionally, knowingly or recklessly mistreats, overloads, beats, abandons or abuses an animal and the treatment causes bodily harm to the animal.
Summary or Misdemeanor offense depending on severity of injury/suffering.

Aggravated Cruelty – torturing an animal or violating either of the above sections and causing serious bodily injury or death of an animal. Felony of the 3rd degree and punishable up to 7 years in jail and/or $15,000 fine.

Additional specifications describe neglect as it pertains to an unattended dog being tethered outside. When tethered outside, the following conditions should exist:
-Tethered less than 9 hours in a 24 hour period
-The tether is secured to a well-fitting collar with a swivel designed to prevent the animal from becoming entangled
-The tether is one of a typical weight and size for that breed of dog and should be at least 10 feet or 3 times the length of the dog, whichever is longer.
-The dog should have access to water and an area of shade
-Not to be tethered outside for more than 30 minutes if temperature is above 90 degrees or below 32 degrees

Idea/Concept: Trooper Bieber
Videography: Andrew Moore, Ethan Chabala
Video Editing: Andrew Moore
Writing: Trooper Bieber

Produced by Vogt Media
Funded by PVVC, UPMC Susquehanna

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