MONROE TWP. – By now the stories of circulated about Libre, the Boston terrier who survived extreme neglect. He’s inspiring a bill that would create harsher penalties for that kind of abuse. Now Libre’s Law is getting even bigger.
Libre’s Law and three other animal welfare bills are included in a new package just filed in the Pennsylvania House by Rep. Todd Stephens, R-Montgomery. Animal advocates hope it prevents future situations and keeps animals in Pennsylvania safe.
Libre has quite the life now at Speranza Animal Rescue in Monroe Township with the woman who helped rescue him. He enjoys playing with his best friend, Meatball, who happens to be a cow.
“It’s truly a miracle. He’s definitely our big-eyed miracle boy,” said Janine Guido, founder of Speranza Animal Rescue.
Libre was left for dead last July on a Lancaster County farm. He was covered in mange and clung to life.
“If I was an outsider and you showed me the before picture and the after picture today, I wouldn’t believe you,” Guido said.
“The community finally just said enough is enough,” said Jessica Blouch, founder of Justice for Libre. The Justice for Libre Facebook page has around 11,000 members.
“Our animal cruelty laws are so weak and so outdated,” Blouch said.
Pennsylvania is one of only three states without a felony statute for severe animal abuse. Libre’s Law would change that.
“Law enforcement, humane officers, and police, it really leaves their hands tied,” Blouch said. “They can only do so much.”
Libre’s Law is now part of House Bill 1238, a comprehensive animal welfare package. It includes Cordelia’s Law to add protection for horses, a bill banning tethering outside 24/7 and in inclement weather, and another bill requiring convicted animal abusers to give up their pets.
“If someone is going to abuse an animal to the point where they’re prosecuted, if they’re charged with a crime, why should that animal go back to the person (who) abused them? Even if you’re not a dog lover, studies have shown many people who abuse animals often go on to hurt people,” Blouch said.
Blouch is hopeful the comprehensive animal welfare package will pass this session, and Libre will be out lobbying for it.
“He kind of gave a face to a lot of faceless animals and a lot of animals whose stories will never be told. I think he’ll continue to do that,” Blouch said. “A lot of animals will have him to thank for kind of leading the way.”
“Libre was definitely brought into this world for a reason to stand up for those without a voice. He’s a spokesdog,” Guido said.