Owner to face new, stiffer penalty for maiming his now three-legged pit bull

A pit bull’s former owner will face animal cruelty charges after maiming the dog’s leg so badly it had to be amputated, the PSPCA announced on Friday.

The owner will be facing felony charges for brutalizing their own pet, thanks to Libre’s Law, also known as the Animal Abuse Statute Overhaul, which stiffens penalties considerably for animal cruelty-related crimes and took effect in August

Haze, a 4-year-old pitbull mix, was dropped off at a city shelter with severe injuries in her left hind leg. The shelter quickly called the SPCA.

The dog’s owner “ tried to surrender his dog with a severe injury to its hind left leg,” the shelter told the PSPCA. “The injury severed a number of bones in the leg.”

The dog was transferred to the PSPCA’s medical team, but it was too late to save Haze’s leg, which was amputated at the hip.

The PSPCA said Haze’s owner admitted to intentionally injuring the dog’s leg “when the dog had allegedly acted out,” the PSPCA said.

“It was clear upon arrival, and from the evidence that our team was able to gather, that the injury to Haze was inflicted intentionally and would be considered maiming under Libre’s Law,” PSPCA Director of Humane Law Enforcement Nicole Wilson said in a press release. “Haze has made a full recovery, albeit on three legs. Now it’s our turn to file charges, which we plan to pursue as a felony.” 

After spending the last few weeks under close observation, Haze is back to full health and eligible for adoption, the PSPCA said. 

Protecting the innocent

Gov. Tom Wolf signed “Libre’s Law” in June, and it took effect in August. The law significantly stiffens penalties for animal cruelty.

Previously, the only crimes against animals that were graded as felonies

The law was named after Libre, a Boston terrier discovered tied up on a Lancaster County farm clinging to life on July 4, 2016.

Severely emaciated and with infected, maggot-infested wounds, the dog was just hours from death when he was rescued, but after receiving weeks of medical care, made a full recovery and was adopted. Libre became a symbol for abused animals and galvanized the legislature to pass Libre’s Law, which took effect in August 2017.

The law made the following changes:

-The charge of “aggravated cruelty” can be filed against people responsible for an animal suffering serious bodily injury or death

-Individuals convicted of animal cruelty will now face from 90 days to seven years in jail, and fines from $300 to $15,000.

-Conviction of animal cruelty leads to mandatory forfeiture of ownership of the animal

-Owners must give tethered dogs water and shade, they cannot be tied up for more than nine hours of any 24 hours. If it’s above 90 degrees they can’t be tethered for more than 30 minutes , and leashes must be at least 10 feet long or three times the length of the pet, whichever is larger.

The PSPCA has also launched a donation to help cover the costs of care for Haze and other wounded animals. To donate, visit http://pspca.org/haze.

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