Senator inspired by Libre to create bill for stricter animal cruelty laws

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HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A dog that has stolen many people's hearts is now the inspiration behind new state legislation.

Sen. Richard Alloway is planning to introduce a bill for stricter animal cruelty penalties. The senator said he was inspired by Libre, the puppy who was abandoned in Lancaster County.

Alloway said, "It actually unfolded just by a phone call from a friend asking if I wanted to meet Libre and I said yeah and so I drove over to Dillsburg where he was being kept at the vet office and met with some animal rights groups there. And that's how the conversation got started."

He wants to change Pennsylvania law. Currently, animal cruelty in the state is a summary offense. Under his bill, he would like to see a harsher punishment.

"Everyone has to remember this law isn't going to help little Libre's situation. The DA and the dog law enforcement decided they weren't going to press charges," Alloway said.

The senator isn't sure of the specifics of the bill just yet. He plans to speak with animal welfare protection agencies and district attorneys.

Richard Long, the executive director of the Pa. District Attorney's Association, said, "We think it makes sense to take a look at the current state of the law and probably in some areas stiffen the penalties to better reflect how society views abusive animals in today' age."

Long said animal cruelty cases cause many people to call on politicians to make changes.

"There's a lot of passion and emotion and concern from the citizens of their counties," he said.

Alloway wants to transform that passion into law.

The senator said, "You just don't treat these pets like this. It's not a sport, a sporting game that you would hunt, it's not a food source. These are our pets."

Alloway plans to introduce the bill in the fall.

No charges have been filed, and it is unsure whether or not Libre was abused, but the Lancaster County district attorney and state police are currently investigating the case.

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