Libre, six years after rescue from near-death, celebrated at Capitol

Anthony Maenza
York Dispatch

Libre, the Boston terrier found near death in Lancaster County six years ago, spent Tuesday at the state Capitol to celebrate the raft of reforms passed in his honor.

In 2014, Pennsylvania ranked 41st on the Animal Legal Defense Fund’s U.S. Animal Protection Laws Ranking. The state now ranks No. 15 in that same ranking. 

Gov. Tom Wolf joined the dog, who was nursed back to health through the work of Speranza Animal Rescue, to celebrate so-called Libre's Law.

“I’m proud of the bipartisan work that we’ve accomplished during my time in office," Wolf said, "in partnership with advocacy groups and Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty ambassador, Libre, on behalf of our pets without a voice.”  

Libre, whose name means "free" in Spanish, proved a rallying point for many reforms in recent years.

Key changes made since 2015 include:

  • Made it a misdemeanor if someone knowingly owns or possesses animal fighting paraphernalia.  
  • Empowered law enforcement to take action to prevent the needless suffering of dogs and cats left in unattended cars.  
  • Created tethering stipulations that limit the continuous chaining of dogs outside, including making it illegal to leave a dog tethered for longer than 30 minutes in temperatures above 90 or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.  
  • Required that animal be provided sanitary shelter allowing them to maintain normal body temperatures and keep them dry all year.
  • • Required abused animals to be forfeited to a shelter upon felony conviction.  
  • Ensured civil immunity for veterinarians, veterinarian technicians, and humane society police officers to prevent frivolous lawsuits against these professionals when reporting animal cruelty in good faith.
  • • Added protections for all animals to align penalties for crimes against all animals with penalties for crimes against dogs and cats.  
  • Increased penalties for egregious acts of cruelty. 

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