Senator revives bill to toughen animal abuse penalties


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A state senator has reintroduced legislation to strengthen penalties for animal cruelty.

Under Senate Bill 298, people who cause the death or serious bodily injury of an animal could be found guilty of a third-degree felony, which carries a maximum penalty of up to seven years in prison under Pennsylvania law. The offense is currently a second-degree misdemeanor.

Senator Rich Alloway (R-Adams/Cumberland/Franklin/York) said his proposal also would make it easier to prosecute a person who knowingly mistreats, abuses or neglects an animal. His bill, Libre’s Law, is named for a severely neglected Boston terrier puppy that was rescued from a Lancaster County farm last summer.

“In far too many cases, people who intentionally abuse or neglect animals face little more than a slap on the wrist, if they face any punishment at all,” Alloway said in a statement. “Libre’s bill sends a strong message that mistreating defenseless and vulnerable animals will not be tolerated.”

The bill was part of a legislative package of animal protection measures approved by the state Senate last year, but it never went to the House floor for a final vote.

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