Pa. pet owners now face harsher punishments if animals left out in cold

Libre's Law, signed by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf over the summer, increases penalties in animal neglect cases

Libre's Law, animal abuse neglect, Pennsylvania


MERCER CO., Pa. (WYTV) – With record low temperatures making up most of the weekend forecast, this cold snap has sparked another reminder about a new animal cruelty law in Pennsylvania.

Libre’s Law, signed by Governor Tom Wolf over the summer, increases penalties in animal neglect cases, including leaving animals out in the cold for too long.

“It’s kind of obvious. Don’t leave them outside,” said Mercer County Humane Officer Paul Tobin.

With Libre’s Law in effect, those who break it will face the stiffest penalties yet.

According to the law, a dog cannot be tethered for longer than 30 minutes in temperatures above 90 or below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Under the law, a person can face felony charges for intentionally torturing, neglecting, or abusing an animal to the point of severe injury or death. Punishment can be up to seven years in prison and a $15,000 fine.

“Injuries to the dog versus no injury to the dog, so that’s where the stiffness comes in. Anything that causes bodily injury or death to the dog is automatically a felony in the third degree,” Tobin said.

There are steps you can take to keep your dog safe when they are outside. You must have:

  • Straw inside the dog house
  • A dog house that is well-insulated and can hold the dog’s body temperature
  • Food and water
  • No heavy log chains or automotive-type chains; the chains must be three lengths of the dog — no less than 10 feet — and on swivels to prevent tangling

Tobin asks if do you see an animal being abused or neglected, call 911 and report it immediately.

Editor’s note: Mercer County Humane Officer Paul Tobin is quoted as saying animals cannot be left outside for longer than 20 minutes while they’re tethered. The law says animals can’t be left outside for more than 30 minutes. The story online has been corrected.