New Law Protects Pennsylvania's Animals From Abuse, Neglect by Stiffening Penalties for Abusers: Governor

Animal cruelty overhaul law strengthens penalties for abusers in hopes of curbing animal abuse in Pennsylvania

Furry friends have new protections in the Keystone State.

Pennsylvania's new animal cruelty laws went into effect Monday as the state increased penalties for animal abuse from summary to higher-level offenses.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf signed the legislation in June and last week released a statement about what it means.

"On Monday, those who would subject animals to this kind of mistreatment will face stiffer penalties for these deplorable actions and they will think twice before committing such terrible acts," Wolf said. "This law has been a long time coming. I am proud that we will now hold our pet and animal owners to a higher standard of humanity in how the treat their animals."

Act 10 of 2017 establishes violations up to a felony for intentionally torturing an animal or for neglect or abuse that causes it severe injury or death. Animal abuse previously was a felony only in limited situations.

Aggravated cruelty causing serious injury or death is now a felony carrying a penalty up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

Denying an animal food, water, proper shelter or veterinary care now carries a penalty of up to 90 days in jail and a $2,000 fine for summary offenses and up to 1 year in jail as a misdemeanor if the neglect causes risk or bodily harm.

Beating, abandoning of abusing an animal now carries a penalty of up to two years behind bars and a $5,000 fine as a misdemeanor.

The law also requires someone found guilty of a violation to give up their animal, according to the state.

Other key components to the new regulations included in Libre's Law and HB 1238 include new tethering stipulations for outdoor dogs, added protection for horses and civil immunity for vets.

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