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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Known as the Puppy Mill Capital of the East, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, has the highest concentration of puppy mills of any county in the United States. At last, the states Department of Agriculture and Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement have introduced regulations that could help put an end to some of the inhumane practices considered routine at these high-volume dog breeding facilities. The great news is, you dont have to live in Pennsylvania to weigh in on this issue! The ASPCA supports the proposed regulations and wed love your help moving them forward. If youve been looking for an opportunity to do something about puppy mills, this is your chance! What You Can Do Take action now to support Pennsylvanias efforts to better regulate this industry! Please click here to be taken to our webpage on this issue. There you will find a letter of support that you can print, sign and send to Pennsylvanias Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement.

Thank you . Together, we can really make a difference in the lives of these dogs!

462 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK here it is for those that want to get it . Print and send

Bureau of Dog Law

Enforcement Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Attn: Ms. Mary Bender

2301 North Cameron Street

Harrisburg, PA 17110-9408

February 20, 2007

RE: Comments on proposed Dog Law regulations

Dear Ms. Bender,

I respectfully submit this comment on the proposed changes to the Dog Law regulations. First, I would like to commend the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement for proposing amendments to the Dog Law Regulations to improve conditions for dogs housed and bred in commercial breeding operations in Pennsylvania.

It should also be noted that the proposed changes to the regulations do not bring hobby breeders under the Act. The same people who were exempt from the former regulations (i.e. hobby breeders who raise, breed, move, sell, etc. fewer than 26 dogs per year), will continue to be exempt under the revised regulations.

Furthermore, I fully support the comments submitted by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) on behalf of its members, and incorporate them herein by reference.

Specifically, I strongly support the following:

1. The penalties in § 21.4(1)(iii) for failure of an individual to comply with licensure provisions should be increased from $25 to $300 per violation to $25 to $300 per day of violation.

2. The Secretary should be mandating to file suit to enjoin operation of unlicensed kennels where the kennel is not in compliance with the standards in the regulations and is unable to qualify for a license.

3. I commend the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement for doubling the required cage size. This is perhaps the most important change that can be made to improve the quality of life for dogs in commercial breeding facilities in Pennsylvania. This provision should remain in the regulations regardless of opposition from breeders. This section should be further strengthened by adding a provision stating that where more than one dog is housed in a primary enclosure, the primary enclosure must provide adequate space for all dogs.

For instance, if the enclosure houses two dogs, it must provide double the cage space that would be required for a single dog. If it houses three dogs, it must provide three times the cage space, etc.

4. I also commend the Department of Agriculture and Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement for including a provision that requires the dog wardens to visually observe the physical condition of each dog. However, the provisions regarding orders of veterinary care should be strengthened to state that the owner must provide proof of current and proper veterinary care for the dog. This provision should also be amended to include excessive matting and excessively long toenails as indications of lack of proper veterinary care. Inadequate grooming can lead to painful medical issues for dogs, including skin lesions from excessive matting and leg and joint injuries from failure to keep toenails appropriately trimmed. Moreover, the section should be amended to require dog wardens to order a veterinary check on dogs that exhibit signs of infection, contagious disease or parasite; or that appear to be in poor health where proof of current and proper veterinary care is not provided.

5. A new subsection should be added to § 21.30 clarifying the required training for dog wardens. Training in the following areas should be added into the regulations to expand upon the requirements set forth in 3 P.S. § 459-901:

1. State laws relating to dog licensing, control and owner responsibilities;

2. State and federal laws relating to animal care, cruelty and neglect;

3. State laws relating to dangerous dogs;

4. State and federal law relating to lack of arrest powers, proper use of search, seizure and warrants;

5. State and federal laws relating to pounds and shelters;

6. Basics of cruelty and neglect investigations for referral to appropriate authorities;

7. Report-writing and record-keeping;

8. Overview of the legal system, court structure and terminology;

9. Basics of interpreting animal behavior;

10. Identification of injury, disease, abuse and neglect in dogs;

11. Animal hoarders; and

12. Civil liability issues.

6. A new section should be added to the regulations mandating that the Department and dog wardens coordinate and work with law enforcement when applicable. It is imperative that the department work with law enforcement, and specifically Humane Society police officers, to ensure that both the cruelty laws and the Dog Law are adequately enforced.

7. A new section should be added to the regulations requiring that a licensee must have enough employees to carry out the level of husbandry practices and care required by the Act and its regulations. Additionally, the employees who provide for care and husbandry or handle animals should be supervised by an individual who has the knowledge, background, and experience in proper husbandry and care of dogs to supervise others. The licensee must be certain that the supervisor and other employees can perform to such standards.

8. Stacking primary enclosures on top of one another should be prohibited. Stacking cages creates an unnatural environment for the dogs. Additionally, it makes observation of the dogs more difficult and creates sanitation problems. Even with a tray or partition between cages, it is likely that the partitions may overflow, causing feces, urine, food, water, and hair to fall onto the dogs located in the cages below.

9. The section on wire mesh flooring should be amended to make it at least as strict as the federal Animal Welfare Act, which requires that metal strand flooring be greater than one-eighth of an inch in diameter (9 gauge) or coated with a material such as plastic or fiberglass. Language should also be added requiring that all primary enclosures that have wire mesh flooring also have a resting board of sufficient size to allow each dog in the enclosure to lie in a full lateral recumbent position and be able to make normal postural adjustments. Resting boards are necessary to provide for the comfort of the dog and to allow the animal to have some time away from living on grated fencing. Providing resting boards will result in fewer foot lesions and other foot and leg injuries to the dogs. A solid resting surface that is impervious to moisture is also a more natural environment for the animal, provides a draft-free surface and enables the dog to retain its body heat. A dog feels most vulnerable when lying down, and forcing a dog to lie over an exposed area can contribute to anxiety. Humane standards and survival standards are separate, and creating an environment that merely allows for survival does not necessarily make such an environment humane.

10. Contrary to what the breeding industry states, the engineering standards specified in the proposed regulations do have a scientific foundation. The standards in the proposed regulations are more akin to acceptable husbandry practices. They will bring the engineering standards up to par with, if not above, those set forth in the Animal Welfare Act. Contrary to the hobby breeders contention, the new regulations will not bring hobby breeders under the purview of the Dog Law. Only kennels that keep, harbor, board, shelter, sell, give away, or transfer a cumulative total of 26 or more dogs in one calendar year will be required to comply with the new regulations. As a result, true hobby breeders are still exempt from the law. Good husbandry practices dictate that anyone harboring a larger number of dogs (26 or more) should comply with certain engineering standards to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of the dogs. The Dog Law and its regulations are aimed at regulating larger and commercial breeding facilities. Therefore, the new regulations will not affect hobby breeders, contrary to what the breeding community suggests. Once again, I commend the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement for proposing regulations that will improve the conditions for dogs housed and bred in Pennsylvanias commercial kennels. The changes I have noted above will further ensure that such dogs are protected.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

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