You Can Now Get Jail Time for Leaving Dogs in the Snow

Having a pet and taking care of it can be a great blessing in life. They are also our companions and we should value their presence and well-being.

Tragic events by leaving a little puppy from a Quarryville-area farm in the heat, in July 2016, bringing it to a near-death situation should appall us. This cute puppy, known as Libre, was successfully rescued and any tragic event was being prevented. But, this caused a great stir in the community, as a result of which the Pennsylvania state lawmakers created new protections against animal cruelty during harsh weather conditions like hot sun or snow.

In 2018, in the United Kingdom, there was a large heat wave affecting every person but as well as the pet dogs. Namely, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals received up to 600 emergency calls about the well-being of the pets. Due to these alarming conditions the officials issued a warning to pet owners to be more diligent when their pets are concerned. For instance, they are not allowed to leave their pets in hot cars, and if so, they will be fined for such action. In fact, their negligence can even lead to serving jail time.

This warning reached the officials in the state of Pennsylvania and once they realized how effective it can be, they decided to do the same. The state legislators of Pennsylvania created legislation under the name of Libre’s Law. This law made it illegal to leave dogs tied up for longer than half an hour if the weather conditions are extreme like colder than 32 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer than 90 degrees Fahrenheit. This law will prevent animal cruelty, especially in cases of unconscientious owners that leave their pets to harsh weather conditions. The fines in violation of this law are large and the owner may face jail time of six months up to one year.

The medical director of the Pet Pantry of Lancaster County Bryan Langlois, stated the following:

There were a lot of times we wanted to pursue serious charges against an individual but the law did not allow us to do this. The new law now finally sends the message that animal abusers will not just get away with a slap on the wrist and minimal fine.”

The tragic event of Libre dog initiated the need of such law. This cute puppy was left alone in Southern Lancaster County in extremely terrible conditions. He was found in terrible state experiencing immense trauma, neglect, and abuse from his owners. Fortunately, this 7-week old puppy was rescued thanks to a tip from a kind person who called the local animal rescuers and thus save the life of this poor puppy. Thanks to this intervention Libre was saved from the misery and the ongoing pain from the abusive owners, and now is doing just fine.

According to Kristen Tullo, director of the Humane Society in Pennsylvania, there is a strong relation between animal abuse and domestic violence, and in such homes the pets are also abused. Regarding this issue, Jennifer Nields, the cruelty officer for the Lancaster County Animal Coalition, stated the following:

This won’t stop cruelty, but it will put an emphasis on the importance of justice for their suffering. The laws are recognition of their pain and what they deserve.”

There are laws from before that prevent the owners from chaining the dogs for long periods of time, but the one issued by Pennsylvania first emphasizes the danger factor about doing it in extreme weather conditions.

So, if you own a dog it is your legal obligation to protect your dog from harsh weather conditions. You should check their paws for injury, and regularly check their overall well-being by taking them to a vet two times per year. There are plenty of sweaters and coats for your pets on the market, so if you are feeling cold your pet also feels cold and it should wear a warm sweater.

You should not treat your pet as garbage as after all it has been your decision to take care of it.