New law spells out standards for pet care

Ed Blaus



All animals have an instinct for survival with food and shelter. Cats and dogs in human captivity (generally known as pets) have the same needs. Owners and care takers of these animals have, for most part, taken a voluntary commitment to care for and mind the well being of such animals. Pet care and maintenance are expensive in town and city dwelling environments. But, pets are lovely creatures – we talk to them, we play with them, and we find satisfaction if we feel they understand us. Surely, some animals are not easily adaptable to human environment, and previous owners and animal shelter personnel will caution you. Nevertheless, once you have a pet, you own it and all that goes with it. 

Agencies that speak for animal protection, with television exposures of miserable cats and dogs and ask for donation and support are doing a disservice to the folks who really care for their pets. Without any mention how the cruel animal conditions were created and no names, dates and places to prove the case, the plea falls flat on its face.

My thank you goes to State Rep. Mark Longietti who provided excerpts from Pennsylvania laws governing the lives of animals. As a prelude to strengthening animal cruelty laws, PA lawmakers acknowledge that research has shown that animal cruelty is the most reliable predictor of future violence against humans, which is why the FBI tracks animal cruelty crimes including neglect and torture.

Worthy of note is House Bill 1238, introduced by Representative Stephens, and otherwise known as “Libre’s Law” that was signed into law on June 28, 2017. It, in particular, spells out the conditions of tethering an unattended dog, it says that a dog is not neglected if all of the following are true:

A. A dog is tethered no longer than 9 hours in a 24-hour period.

B. The tether is of a type commonly used for the size and breed of the dog, and is at least three times the length of the dog or 10 feet whichever is longer.

C. The tether on the dog is secured by a well fitted collar or harness by means of a swivel or other mechanism designed to prevent entanglement.

D. The dog has access to potable water and an area of shade.

E. The dog is not tethered longer than 30 minutes in temperatures above 90 or below 32 degrees.

Libre’s Law further enunciates the proper description of charges (misdemeanor, felony) according to the severity of animal cruelty. Animal cruelty is unforgivable under any conditions, and I wish pet owners and care givers would keep that in mind.