Animal Cruelty Law – ‘Libre’s Law’ – Fails to Pass, and the NRA Deserves Part of the Blame

On the Fourth of July, an emaciated, mange-ridden puppy later named Libre was rescued after being left to die alone in a pen on a breeding farm. The facility’s owner was not charged with animal cruelty until hundreds of people protested in person and almost 9,000 Care2 members signed a petition.

One month later, three young men duct-taped firecrackers to a turtle’s shell and lit the fuses. None of them have been charged with animal cruelty.

Both of these cases happened in Pennsylvania, which has some of the weakest animal cruelty laws in the country. It’s one of only three states that doesn’t have a felony level for animal cruelty crimes.

Libre not only fully recovered, but the tenacious puppy inspired Pennsylvania Sen. Richard Alloway to introduce “Libre’s Law,” which would increase the penalties for those who abuse or neglect animals in the state. It creates a new classification for offenders who cause the death or serious bodily injury of an animal. Those offenders could face third-degree felony charges.

Libre’s Law became part of House Bill 869, which which Gov. Tom Wolf said was the most comprehensive package of animal protection bills in the history of Pennsylvania. HB 869 also includes these animal cruelty bills:

  • Cordelia’s Law, named after a starved horse, would put penalties for animal cruelty crimes against horses on par with those for crimes against dogs and cats. It also provides protections for guide dogs.
  • A bill prohibiting pets from being tethered outside all the time or in foul weather.
  • A bill requiring those convicted of animal abuse to surrender their pets.

NRA Lobbyists Supporting Pigeon Shoots Hold up Vote

HB 869 was passed by the Pennsylvania House and Senate. It was returned to the House floor for concurrence in late October – and that’s where it was still sitting as of the end of last week. Why? Because, according to one representative, NRA (National Rifle Association) lobbyists held up the vote to ensure that a bill keeping pigeon shoots legal in the state got passed.

“That just gives you an idea of the clout of the NRA,” Rep. Mike Sturla told Lancaster Online.

Pennsylvania is the only state that doesn’t consider pigeon shooting to be animal cruelty. This “sport” is basically skeet shooting using live animals instead of clay targets. Pigeons are launched into the air from a mechanical apparatus and shot. In some cases, they’re tethered to the ground to make them especially easy targets. The majority of the pigeons don’t die right away, so their necks are wrung, or their heads are cut off, or they’re tossed in barrels to slowly die with other injured birds.

The NRA lobbyists got their wish. The bill’s language was changed to protect pigeon shoots, which 49 other states rightfully consider animal cruelty. And by that time, it was too late to vote on HB 869.

The House had another opportunity to vote on the bill before it adjourned for the year on Nov. 15, but again, it didn’t happen and HB 869 died. Next year, legislators will have to start all over again and reintroduce the measures in both houses of the Pennsylvania legislature. The good news is that Gov. Wolf has said he would sign the bill into law, if it ever makes it to his desk.

Just as little Libre refused to give up, supporters of the bill named in his honor aren’t about to give up until these measures protecting Pennsylvania’s animals are passed.

Photo credit: YouTube

160 comments

Hent catalina - maria

thanks

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Debra Tate
Debra Tate9 months ago

What a shame. We need to keep trying to get this law passed!

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Veronica D
.10 months ago

Thanks!

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Veronica D
.10 months ago

Thanks!

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Veronica D
.10 months ago

Thanks!

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Richard A
Richard A10 months ago

Too many bills bundled together. Separate them and re-vote.

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Christine Stewart
Christine S10 months ago

Well, of course we need to allow the horrific abuse of animals, because some sadists enjoy killing pigeons.....

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Peggy B
Peggy B10 months ago

Noted

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Peggy B
Peggy B10 months ago

tyfs

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