HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – Tuesday became a historic day for animals as what Gov. Tom Wolf calls “the most comprehensive animal welfare package in the state’s history” cleared its final legislative hurdle.
House Bill 1238 made its way through the state Capitol. It passed unanimously in the state Senate with a 49-to-0 vote.
“I think this is a strong message to the citizens of Pennsylvania that we care about our pets. We care about our pets. We are about the humane treatment of animals. That’s what this is all about. This is about humane treatment. It’s not about us. It about the pets,” said Sen. Richard Alloway, (R-Cumberland/York/Adams/Franklin).
Alloway is the original sponsor of Libre’s Law. Representative Todd Stephens sponsored it in the House.
“This is a huge win. Those who abuse animals oftentimes are those who go on to abuse children or commit acts of domestic violence,” said Stephens (R-Montgomery).
House Bill 1238 includes Libre’s Law, which creates a felony statute for severe animal abuse resulting in serious bodily injury. Pennsylvania was one of three states not having a felony punishment.
Cordelia’s Law is in the package. It adds protections 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 is also included.
Libre met the governor on Tuesday. Wolf says he’s an animal lover and supports the bill.
“I’m hoping Libre’s Law will make life better for animals in Pennsylvania, but I think all of us who live around animals, it will make our lives better too,” he said.
“This was such a team effort, and advocates made the difference in getting this bill across the finish line,” said Kristen Tullo, Pennsylvania director of the Humane Society of the United States.
“Happy, happy tears,” Janine Guido said moments after the bill passed.
Guido is Libre’s human mom. She got a call on July 4, 2016, from Jen Nields, a humane officer. Nields told her produce driver Dextin Orme found Libre clinging to life on a Lancaster County farm. Libre’s breeder later admitted to police he left Libre for dead.
Now, Guido saw Libre lobbying the state Capitol to prevent other animals from going through the same thing.
“Don’t give up. The people behind him the whole way were amazing. They were truly Libre strong, and they pulled through. They kept on fighting for him when he had no voice, and here we are today,” said Guido, the president and founder of Speranza Animal Rescue.
The governor says he will sign the bill into law within the next 10 days.