Breaking news: Pennsylvania charges two teens who abused a dying deer with animal cruelty under Libre’s Law

By on January 10, 2020 with 134 Comments

In November, Americans were stunned by a viral video that showed two teenagers kicking and stomping an injured white tail deer they had just shot. In the 30-second clip, Alex Smith, 18, and his companion could be seen laughing and ripping off one of the deer’s antlers as the injured animal tried to get away.

Today, Pennsylvania charged the two teens with multiple counts of felony and misdemeanor animal cruelty under a law that the Humane Society of the United States fought hard to pass in the state two years ago. The charges include four felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, one misdemeanor count of corruption of minors, a misdemeanor count of cruelty to animals, a misdemeanor count of altering or destroying physical evidence, and summary offenses of disturbance of animal or wildlife, unlawful taking of game or wildlife, unlawful hunting devices or methods and a hunting violation.

Smith, who was arraigned and released on a $50,000 bail, is reportedly the stepson of the Brookville, Pennsylvania, chief of police who said he was sickened when he saw the video.

Libre’s Law, an animal cruelty statute that passed in 2017, provides felony level penalties for senseless acts of cruelty against animals, and this was certainly the kind of case for which it is suited. The video was so shocking that it inspired calls for action to charge these men from a host of federal and state lawmakers, including U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, and state Reps. Todd Stephens and Ryan Bizzarro, among others.

The charges filed today are an important outcome and they set a precedent for future cases of wildlife abuse. Before Libre’s Law went into effect, animal cruelty was largely a summary offense in Pennsylvania, and offenders received penalties that were the legal equivalent of a traffic violation. Even egregious acts of cruelty were not given penalties that matched the severity of the crime. Now, under Libre’s Law, aggravated cruelty is a felony. And although the law was inspired by and named after a puppy mill dog, Libre, it covers not just companion animals but all animals, including wildlife.

This case also highlights the importance for each one of us to be vigilant and report animal cruelty when we see it happening, so those who cause such intense animal suffering do not have a chance to repeat it. We are grateful to everyone who made their voices heard in this case. An online petition calling for criminal charges to be filed in this case received 700,000 signatures, showing just how outraged Americans were by the teens’ actions. We are also grateful to the Pennsylvania Game Commission and Jefferson County District Attorney Jeff Burkett for recognizing the seriousness of this crime and for addressing it as such.

Pennsylvania state Rep. Tony DeLuca is expected to soon introduce a bill which would allow the Pennsylvania Game Commission to deny hunting licenses for those convicted of severe animal abuse. That too will reinforce the Keystone State’s commitment to a measure of justice in the case of animals who suffer and die in the manner that this poor creature did.

Public Policy (Legal/Legislative), Wildlife/Marine Mammals

Subscribe to the Blog

Enter your email address below to receive updates each time we publish new content.


Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Patricia Pullar says:

    About Damn time. They’re this sadistic at this age, I’m concerned of what they will be doing in 10 or so years when married with children of their own. I can see domestic battery all over them!

    • Wendy Stoner-Lincoln says:

      Agreed. And make no mistake, I’d bet anything this is not the first time they have abused an animal. Horrific.

    • Loretta says:

      I am optimistic the law will be enforced, and the two abusers punished to the full extent the law allows. If they do this do a defenseless animal to amuse themselves, it will not be long before they make the leap to torturing and inflicting violence upon vulnerable humans.

      • Shaneca says:


      • Dawn says:

        I doubt anything but a slap on the wrist

        • Jennifer says:

          That’s what I said too Dawn. Parents actually paid bail so they couldn’t be to “sickened by the video”. The apple usually doesn’t fall far. Unfortunately, it won’t be until they abuse and/or kill a human that mommy and daddy won’t be able to rescue them.

        • Tammy tanner says:

          They’ll get a slap on the wrist. And within 5 years we’ll hear how they killed there girlfriend or exgirlfriend and her current boyfriend. Or something along these lines.

        • She says:

          I agree with you, unfortunately! There is no justice, especially if these kid’s parents have money! They’re just going through the motions to make it look like they’re doing something! But I hope that I’m wrong.

      • Kitty says:

        Bad things can and do happen to bad people.
        It is biblical. I am not a scholar and don’t remember the passage.
        But our loving God is kind and gentle. Jesus had no evil against any.

        • Randy says:

          I difinately believe in KARMA what goes around comes around & the good Lord is ALWAY’S’ watching

    • Ed Markiewicz says:

      I’d worry more about them becoming serial killers then domestic abusers. Most of them start off with horrendous animal cruelty/killing…

    • Sydney Schieve says:

      Exactly. Sick Individuals

    • Lu Ella Jones says:

      Serial Killers in the making.

    • Jeanie White says:

      Autocorrect changed just to Judy.

      • Judy says:

        They should be fined and go to jail for years and have phycological evaluation.
        This could escalate to hurting elders or children. Serial killers start out this way.
        Great law .

    • Tomisa says:

      They won’t get that far. They sound like sociopaths and know nothing about healthy relationships or respect of life. They’ll continue to abuse humans and animals and will manipulate the system until they’re put away – permanently. Pretty sure this isn’t their first experience with this. If they are capable of this horrific torture with no remorse, there’s more to come.

      • P. Greanville says:

        UNFORTUNATELY, THAT SEEMS TO BE THE MOST LIKELY OUTCOME T THIS HORRIBLE INCIDENT. This country produces tons of sick, twisted individuals, and despite the supposed rigors of the law and judicial system, most people who do things like this get away with it with nominal punishment. Sadists like these are not easily reformable as they are obviously lacking in empathy; cruelty and cowardly abuse to defenceless creatures come “natural” to them. Of course in a nation in which “hunting for sport” is still legal, it’s hard to establish a firm social benchmark for compassionate behaviour. Rich degenerates in many parts of the world still indulge in fox hunting, lion trophies, and so on. I’s a messed up world, and the distractions people live with—from economic insecurities to terrible family lives and endless wars, do not help concentrate attention on these issues, as we should be doing, so they remain peripheral questions and the animals suffer.

    • Stephanie Snyder says:

      Nine times out of ten, it’s sub human males doing this. That should be a concern as well.

    • Phil Glenn says:

      Its interesting at the end of the article they mentioned a bill to deny hunting licenses to persons convicted .. umm .. its felony .. felons are not permitted by law to have guns .. denying of the hunting you would think was automatic .. what are they going to do.. let them hunt with a bow only?

    • Linda Scott, Kansas says:

      100% true!!!!

      • Linda Scott says:

        Stop these “boys” before they torture other prey or people. Thank you for saving future pain and suffering!!!
        About time, we get something right!!!

    • Cindy Hoenecke says:

      I agree, that mother should be ashamed of herself and her son.

      • Gen Buzzotta says:

        This Mother’s nonchalant attitude speaks volumes as to how her son got to this horrific crossroads in his life. Shame on you and your family. You need to examine your conscience as to how you raised this kind of boy?

    • Doug says:

      What a moron. I think I can safely say that no, most of us did NOT kill a cat or so as a kid. WTF is wrong with her? No wonder the kids are messed up.

      “Boys will be boys” is a BS excuse for crappy people to explain away their poor parenting skills.

    • Brian Smith says:

      Right on!

    • Brenda smith says:

      I agree, serial killers start out by torturing and killing animals for the fun of it and saddest pert is the one kid of the chief of police’s son. And personally I don’t think he should’ve been let out on bail just because his dad is a cop

    • Robin McClincy says:


    • Tammy says:

      Hopefully one felony sticks. With a felony you are not permitted to be in possession of a firearm there for they should NOT be allowed to ever hunt again!!

    • Diana Hockley says:

      Totally agree.

    • Jo Morrison says:

      Near the end it says new legislation could prohibit such animal abusers from having a hunting license. They won’t need it in prison!!

    • Kelly says:

      I think they would have been far worse than abusers. I do believe they could have been future serial killers.

    • Tom Buck, saint michael pa says:

      Yes it’s about time. These morons need to be punished to fullest extent of the law. I’ve hunted my whole life and never have I ever seen anything like this. You have to be twisted and have respect for yr he quality of life was whether its human or animals. No animal deserves that, their creatures created by God, it’s a priviledge to hunt and harvest game. You do it ethically and humane not what these two punks did. Yes their punks, they should never be allowed to hunt ever again or own a firearm.

    • MJR says:

      Two punks

    • Lizzie Borden says:

      These kids need absolute jail time nothing less if they can do this to a dear what are they going to do to another human being

    • Betty says:

      I totally agree, will the parents support that as well?

    • Karen Kathleen Gulley says:

      Happy about this JUSTICE though, thank u JESUS

    • Crystal says:

      Look up the signs of a serial killer!!!!

    • Snyder-Paul says:

      You are right on target! Hope someone understands the connection like YOU! 💡

    • William peak says:

      You can’t say that because people do learn from there mistakes I’m sure everyone has done something there not proud of growing up and back in our days meaning the 70’s 80’s 90’s there were cell phones like there is today

    • John says:

      Or prob get bored with killing animals and graduate to killing people specially there family.sign of becoming a serial today are just care for life at all and my little guy is 7 and I can’t imagine what the world will be like when he’s not ready god that.smh

  2. Alan Alejandro Maldonado Ortiz says:

    Estas personas tienen que pagar por sus actos no es justo que esto quede así ya no más violencia hacia los animalitos

  3. GPC says:

    Efforts very much appreciated. Thank you.

  4. Mariana Weller says:


  5. Beth Ares says:

    All states should have a aw prohibiting the issuing of hunting licenses to people convicted of animal abuse-and an animal abuse registry that an be consulted by
    pet stores, animal shelters, breeders and anyone wanting to rehome a pet or farm animal.

  6. Cindi Mazz says:

    Hopefully these2 individuals get the fullest penalty…this wasn’t the only animal they abused. Yet they laughed as they torchered these poor babies…how dare they find this funny!!! They NEED SEVERE PUNISHMENT! They’ll,probably be safer in jail than on the streets…I’m sure so many people want to do these 2 harm. They are totally disgusting and do NOT deserve a fraction of a break!!! They need to pay the price!

  7. Paula Ogurkiewicz says:

    Hope those two rotten monsters suffer like the poor deer. Karma will pay you back boys😡

  8. Joanne McLaurin says:

    This makes me sick to my stomach. Those teens are mentally challenged and need to be treated. Anyone that can do this to a defenseless animal without any remorse is dangerous. I did not see the sentence they received, it needs to be the maximum allowed. These acts have got to be stopped, or the next generation is in trouble with the number of reported acts of abuse by teens this age.

    • Lyn Skirtz says:

      I couldnt bring myself to watch the video after reading the article. The story description was more than enough. These two are not rite in the head, they seem to be capable of pure evil..and should be treated as such..there is definitely something wrong with anyone that can do these things and not feel sickened. I believe the mental health world calls them the “hollow people”

  9. Jean Colison says:

    Thank you! Sounds encouraging. I hope it turns out as good as it sounds. I hope they get a severe punishment of many years in prison. That would be a real victory!

  10. Carol Healey says:

    All life human or otherwise deserve to be treated humanely. These two teens should be charged with a felony. They should also be treated for mental illness. I think there may be a problem there.

  11. Sandra Bucks says:

    I am so glad these boys got punished ani hope they will serve jail time to this poor animal went threw pain and torture did not deserve this at all 😡😡😡😡

  12. Sarah Moos says:

    It’s a great start.
    Maybe coyote and crow killing contests could be looked at next

    • Todd says:

      I’m not familiar with crow killing, last I knew, They were protected in some states. The coyote harvesting is an absolute necessity. If you Google coyote attacks in this country, you might agree.

  13. Joanne Bagan says:

    Thank you for getting this law passed! Young people who are cruel to animals will often do the same things to humans as they get older. Most serial killers we know started with cruelty to animals when they were young.

  14. Carol says:

    Praise God that justice is being done ,even though it us far to late for this precious deer. Passing a law to not issueing a hunting licence to animal abusing criminals us a good action. To many animals are abused, and hunted with brutality. Example, these 2 moron monzteta. Leg hold traps and snares, the BLM.
    HOPE THESE BRATS go to prison for 10 years.!!!!

  15. Carly chichester says:

    I certainly hope and pray that the severity of these two cretins’ punishment is equal to the suffering of that poor deer. I don’t care who their parents are, what their lives are like, their socio-economic situation, etc. they need to pay in spades!!😡

  16. Henry Courtney says:


  17. Michele Jankelow says:

    Can one conceive of the fear, pain and terror this deer went through! Truly what makes people so brutal?

  18. Diane bettwy says:

    The teenager that juvenile court determines charges is unacceptable he needs charged as a adult he’s not 12 an I have seen kids younger being charged as adults for their crimes

  19. VanityDog48 says:

    Their parents need to sit in jail too

    • shots says:

      you say that now but wait if your kids screw up I would like to see you sit in jail then listen to you cry that you didn’t anything

  20. Kim B. says:

    What’s to become of these perverse human beings? And the purpose was…..what? To watch an animal suffer. Humanity surely has its share of sick individuals.

  21. Kathleen Hartman says:

    I am so glad they were charged. Unfortunately our court system never gives justice to the victims of crime. Between the judges and plea agreements it is very sad. These monsters need to go to jail for along time. They are a threat to every person and animal in the area. If I were their parents I would never mail these psychopaths but as u see one is already out on bail. We will see what happens.

  22. Carlos Quero says:

    Good news, justice for all animales is the right way, congratulation for take action!

  23. Blog Editor says:

    Some comments on this post have been removed for violating the commenting policy.

  24. Michelle says:

    Yes!!! Throw the book at those teenager fuckers!! Teach all people a lesson going forward!!

  25. Gwen says:

    Why not let the little psycho paths endure what they did to the defenseless deer. Let the punishment fit the intentional crime and watch crime decrease.

  26. Holly Alonzo says:

    What about the other boy? Is he still in jail obviously he doesnt belong to a family of importance… The stepson will most likely be given lienancy because of who he is in the end…. Hopefully these two suffer harsh sentences regardless who they are and have any firearms taken from them and hunting rights as well for life.. little POS’S

  27. Amber says:

    I thought felons couldn’t own guns, so how would they be able to go hunting if they end up convicted felons?
    And the police chief’s son?! WOW!

  28. Missy says:

    So mean. So disturbed. But setting in jail no they need hard labor. But they won’t get that

  29. Zephra says:

    It’s about time! I hope these boots serve jail time and someone realize how horribly screwed up they are before they get worse. No room in society for monsters

  30. Cat Lane says:

    Sickening beyond words. I would see these monsters punished to the ends of the earth,and hopefully, given the psychiatric help they so badly need.

  31. Jonelle says:

    Anyone that abuses animals can quickly transfer that abuse to humans. It is a BIG red flag!! I sincerely hope they get the FULL extent of the law. It makes me angry and disgusted.

  32. Angie says:

    Thank God! I know they will get away with it because of one of the Dads being a cop but at least they were charged. Evil bastard.

  33. JudyB says:

    I would love to know how to follow up to make sure a bill gets passed so that abusers are forever banned from receiving a hunting license. I think it’s so important

  34. Imelda J. Walker says:

    I cannot tell you how happy it makes me to see these two people dealt with for the abuse to this innocent animal. They deserved it and more as do many others out there. I am findong it more and more difficult to tolerate such things. Evdry state shpyld do this. Tha ktou.

  35. Carmen amaral says:

    They need to be punished and not aloud to hunt and fined….

  36. FrankJ says:

    As to the sort of persons these two jerks will probably become, I think that they should serve at least 10 years in jail. Although, considering their heinous crime, I would NOT be against their execution.

  37. Becky Cole says:

    They should all be felonies. No guns driver license or voting. Throw the book at them. It is a short leap into abusing children or women!

  38. Tina says:

    They wont get shot. They are cop kids and can get away with anything they do because of it. Spoiled brats. I think his father should also be charged for raise such an evil brat.

    • LouAnn says:

      It’s a step kid, and he wasn’t in his life very long. Doesn’t even live with them. Was in one of the first articles

  39. Tallie Jones says:

    You know what those two boys did to that poor dear was just an icebreaker to what they’re capable of doing thank God they’re being prosecuted for it

  40. Shari says:

    I’m Disgusted that it takes a video to convince people that Animal’s are being tortured to death!!!! No Animal Should Be Murdered For Sport EVER!!!

  41. Sharon Anderson says:

    Well what was their punishment?? I may have missed it. But it’s well deserved! Anyone who abuses an animal should go to jail!

  42. Bella Crush says:

    First of all,These lowlife subhumans need their hunting license taken away.Second,They need to sit in jail for a while.But we all know the piece of sh*t cop’s son won’t serve a day in jail.I say do the same to these worthless scumbags as they did to the deer.Professional hunters do not act like that.These snot nose worthless lowlife pieces of sh*t were just out to torture a defenseless animal.Lookout.A defenseless child or elderly will probably be next for these lowlife scum.

  43. Andrew Jones says:

    Petition to charge these animals abusers to the maximum allowable by law is now over 760,000 signatures strong at! Please sign before the court date so that we can make maximum sentencing happen and no deer, or any other animal, will be stomped on his head, kicked, tortured, beaten to death and its antler torn off, by crazed humans who can’t stop laughing at the deer in severe pain, anguish and distress. And then film it for their own gratification.

  44. Andrea says:

    Sadistic sociopaths who will likely go on to torturing and killing humans when they tire of innocent animals!! I hope that they get prison time and more!!!

  45. Sammie botelho says:

    They need more than 2 years in jail it’s not fair they getting less time

  46. DJ says:

    What about the 2 teens that cut the ears off of that puppy that was tied up? They are standing in the picture holding the poor puppy’s ears & laughing! That is just as horrible if not more? Why aren’t people talking about them? I would like to see them get punished also.

  47. Jane 3 says:

    Its about time. I am very disappointed with my states Game Commission Department drugged their feet filing charger against these two boys.
    I commented on the Game Commission’s Facebook page that this crime is a Felony under Libre’s law and that they better do the right under the law in Pennsylvania this crime is a Felony.
    They took to long to file charges against these boys.

  48. Missy Holsopple says:

    So they were charged..but what is their punishment?

  49. Linda says:

    People, please appeal to President Trump, to include the extremely lengthly torture of animals left in leg hold traps across USA.
    This is barbaric, and lengthily, 8 hours – 3 day torture. You can see the hideous videos of animals, 3/4 frozen from hypothermia, stuck in leg traps. They are so desperate they chew off their legs. Imagine the pain!!!! This is also a form of crushing, and it is actually prolonged crushing, (which is illegal now, and a crime). I see hunters laughing at the injured animals, that””” pee all over themselves””” in fear when the trappers arrive. They parade the animal around on video, before they finish off the terrified animal. Farm animals are treated much better than how trappers treat wild animals. Please petition to outlaw leg hold traps, which is illegal all throughout Europe, and in 88 countries.

  50. Kristy says:

    Hats off to the step-father who made the correct decision to turn in these 2 punks. He may have saved peoples lives from these sick idiots in the future. Hopefully they will learn from their disgusting behavior.

  51. Maryann Schneider says:

    Some states like PA. allow trapping animals that die a cruel death. No wonder there is abuse of animals when the government itself allows the torture and abuse of animals. This is a very sick world we live in when there is no kindness and empathy towards the innocent human and animal. God loves His creatures and He sees how humans treat His creation. So many cannot defend themselves by EVIL people. They must be punished severely, the laws have to be very strict or this horror will continue. Why are these people so EVIL and what is their purpose in this world? Is it to help Satan to cause misery to these precious animals and laugh about it?

Share a Comment

The HSUS encourages open discussion, and we invite you to share your opinion on our issues. By participating on this page, you are agreeing to our commenting policy.
Please enter your name and email address below before commenting. Your email address will not be published.