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In the News: Libre’s Law in Effect This Winter

With colder temperatures on the horizon over the next few months, our team of lawyers serving Berks County, PA and beyond want pet owners throughout Pennsylvania to be aware of the recently passed Libre’s Law.

Established earlier this year, Pennsylvania House Bill 1238, better known as Libre’s Law, aims to protect the well-being and safety of dogs during both extreme cold and extreme heat. As part of that law, even first-time offenders are subject to facing felony charges for mistreating or neglecting their pets with punishment including up to seven years in prison as well as a $15,000 fine.

Under this new law, if the temperature outside is below freezing or 32 degrees Fahrenheit, pets cannot be left outside unattended for more than 30 minutes. On the other hand, the same law also restricts pets from spending more than 30 minutes outside if the temperature reaches 90 degrees or higher.

Furthermore, Libre’s Law also disallows pet owners from leaving their dog tethered outside for more than nine hours within a 24-hour period, regardless of the temperature. Dogs tethered outside must be provided both water and shade. Other changes include:

  • Extension of animal cruelty statutes from dogs and cats to horses.
  • Upon conviction, there is now a mandatory forfeiture of the animal.
  • When tethering a pet, the leash must be at least three times the length of the pet or 10 feet, whichever length is greater.
  • Veterinarians and other professionals are protected from lawsuits for reporting allegations of animal cruelty.
  • There is a new grading system in place for animal abuse that includes aggravated cruelty for cases in which the animal undergoes significant physical injury or death.

Community outcry for harsher penalties helped bring this new legislation into the light and eventually it was passed as law. In the past, when Pennsylvania residents witnessed acts of animal cruelty, the law prevented them from stepping on other people’s property and doing something about it. Now, if you see something of this nature, you can call the appropriate authorities to put a stop the unjust treatment.

If you want to learn more about Libre’s Law, or you’re looking for lawyers that serve Berks County, PA and beyond, please contact us at Kozloff Stoudt Attorneys. Call 610-370-6700 or request a consultation on our website.

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