Put Teeth in "Libre's Law" Against Animal Cruelty in PA (House Bill No. 1238)
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Dog fighting and animal abuse will continue unabated in Pennsylvania until the costs of these cruel behaviors outweigh the benefits. The 2017 passage of Libre's Law was a good start, but it does not go far enough:
1) Many penalties in Libre's Law are summary offenses akin to a traffic fine;
2) Convicted persons get their animals back after serving any time they may receive;
3) The agents for the associations and societies for the prevention of cruelty of animals have been given many of the same authorities as the police when it comes to enforcing Libre's Law but they have far less support and protection than what is required for them to be effective; and,
4) Local law enforcement personnel lack the training, knowledge, equipment, and resources to effectively enforce Libre's Law.
This petition proposes to correct these deficiencies in Libre's Law by:
1) Making the first offense of possession of animal fighting paraphernalia third-degree felony instead of a misdemeanor;
2) Making animal fighting a first-degree felony instead of a third-degree felony;
3) Making forfeiture of animals mandatory in cases of extreme abuse and neglect;
4) Ensuring the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania pays attorney's fees for agents of the associations and societies for the prevention of cruelty to animals when they are involved in enforcing Libre's Law;
5) Making sure local law enforcement personnel understand Libre's Law and have the equipment, facilities and resources required to enforce the law.
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