Legislator Reacts after Probationary Sentence in Animal Cruelty Case
People are speaking out against the Erie man, sentenced to probation for starving one of his dogs to death, and nearly doing the same to another.
After this story aired, we heard a lot from our viewers. Many of them are saying the sentence was too light, some comparing it to a slap on the wrist. However, the sentence actually could have been much less if not for a key piece of legislation.
The dog’s owner, Robert Heath was sentenced to six years of probation, but was sentenced in the much more lenient veteran’s treatment court.
In Pennsylvania, legislation now allows people to be charged with a felony for cruelty to animals where it was only a misdemeanor or summary offense before.
This bill, better known as Libre's law was signed into law last summer and was spearheaded by State Representative, Ryan Bizzarro.
Erie News Now asked Bizzarro how he thought this case was handled and if he wished a stiffer punishment was handed down. Bizzarro said that libre’s law isn't perfect and of course he would have liked the man to receive a harsher punishment but feels that libre's law is a big improvement.
"It's incredibly frustrating, but at the end of the day we leave it up to the judge for interpretation. Although we might not be happy in the manner the gentleman was sentenced, it is better than what it would have been in the past, said State Representative, Ryan Bizzarro"