HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A whirlwind of a year, fighting for animal justice, coming to a happy end at the Pennsylvania Capitol. Governor Wolf signing House Bill 1238 into law, and Libre, the rescued Boston Terrier that inspired the law, putting his official seal on it. A day of celebration for animal lovers like Kristin Tullo, who originally sponsored part of the legislation.
"The past year has been persistence and determination and drive for animals, and now, we're witnessing history in the making with the passage of House Bill 1238," said Kristen Tullo, Pennsylvania State Director of the United States Humane Society.
Libre was rescued in Lancaster County last summer. This is him then and now? Well, this big, fun-loving guy, and a year full of excitement for him and his advocates.
"To see his recovery over this past year is truly inspiring, and he is an ambassador of hope for the animals out there who have not had such a happy ending," said Tullo.
Back when Libre was rescued, his owner was charged to the furthest extent of pennsylvania law, but only paid a fine, sparking Tullo to seek justice. Now, there are more guidelines and harsher penalties for those who hurt our furry friends.
"It'll make our jobs a little more difficult, but a lot more rewarding. There will be a lot more justice for animals," said Amy Kessler, a Humane Society Police Officer.
The new law includes mandatory forfeiture, which states that convicted animal abusers must give up any abused animals to shelters, Cordelia’s Law, which aims to better protects horses, tethering guidelines, civil immunity for vets, vet techs, and humane society officers, protecting them from lawsuits when reporting abuse, and Libre’s Law, upping the penalties for animal abuse. However, the fight for animal rights doesn't stop here, according to Tullo.
"Now that we're here, we've truly just begun in our journey," said Tullo.
Animal officials say the next step in Pennsylvania is making sure the pets in hot cars legislation passes the house which would protect animal officials when they break into a car to save a suffering animal.