Libre's Law has animal lovers look to future, raise concerns

State College, Centre County, Pa. - Animal lovers were given new hope with the passing of Libre's Law last week, but some still have some concerns with the new bill.

One Dog at A Time president Kari Coble has been in the business of helping animals for four years now and says the passing of Libre's Law is overwhelming.  

"I'm ecstatic that they're noticing that we need to get stiffer punishments for these crimes because if we do not take animal abuse seriously and convict the people that are doing it. it's going to continue," Coble said  

The law issues new guidelines on dog tethering, stiffens penalties for cruelty, gives humane officers and veterinarians civil immunity when reporting abuse and allows horse abuse to be handled the same way other animals are. 

State College Veterinary Hospital’s Dr. Kathleen Kocher said she hopes this will bring abused animals justice.

"From my viewpoint, I think that the more stringent on punishment for the highest degree, the aggravated cruelty is really important thing. Cause those are the cases that I think everybody wishes were prosecuted more severely,” Kocher said,  

While both agree the law is a step in the right direction, they do have concerns. 

Kocher believes that owners with the best intentions, but lack pet care education, are not criminals. 

"When I see a case that's brought in by an owner, in most cases that owner really wanted to have help. And sometimes it's just lack of recognition that the animal was suffering or sometimes it's that the owner didn't have the financial resources sometimes there's mental illness," Kocher said.  

Coble said she's had a hard time getting previous animal abuse laws enforced by officials because of lack of resources and knowledge. 

"They have no leash...if they were to have to remove the animal, for any reason what so ever. let's say the owner said, ‘I don’t want the animal,’ where is the police officer going to put it?" 

 Looking ahead to the future, coble hopes government officials can come up with a way to fund resources and shelter the the evidence. 

 Coble said they are willing to help out any law enforcement agency with equipment and training for handling these cases. 

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