Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wolf Signs Animal Abuse Legislation Law Establishes Felony Offense of Aggravated Cruelty

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Wolf Signs Animal Abuse Legislation Law Establishes Felony Offense of Aggravated Cruelty

Article excerpt

HARRISBURG - Gov. Tom Wolf and a Boston terrier named Libre on Wednesday signed legislation to strengthen Pennsylvania's laws against animal abuse and neglect.

The Democratic governor used a pen and ink. Then Libre's paw was dipped in paint and he put his stamp on a copy of the bill. The now-healthy dog was rescued from severe neglect last year in Lancaster County, and became an inspiration for activists and lawmakers seeking to revamp animal-cruelty statutes.

"We need to make sure that we are treating our animals with respect," Mr. Wolf said. "We need to bring an end to the deplorable conduct that allows people to think that they can abuse animals in Pennsylvania, and I think this law really, really takes us a long way toward doing just that."

Human onlookers cheered and snapped photos. A variety of other dogs witnessed the occasion, and at least one punctuated the speeches with barks.

Among other changes, the law establishes a felony offense of aggravated cruelty to animals. The governor's office had said that Pennsylvania had been one of only three states without a felony statute for severe animal abuse. …

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