Pennsylvania breeding regulations seeing positive results

The Morning Call reports over 100 breeding operations have either closed or been shut down in recent months as result of Pennsylvania’s new “Dog Law” that went into effect in 2008.

The story reports some animal-advocates are complaining that even more could have been accomplished in shutting down more puppy mills in the state. And they want better enforcment and the closing of loopholes in the law.

The new law did established guidelines for kennels that keep or transfer 26 dogs in a calendar year, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture website. For these operations, standards have been set – such as larger cage sizes, no wire flooring, mandatory exercise periods and regular veterinary care.

Some groups are opposed to the law. But each of the guidelines noted above are practiced by the best breeders. To meet minimum standards for mental and physical health, breeding dogs do in fact need larger cages, comfortable flooring in the cages, regular exercise outside of their kennels and at least basic veterinary care.

Who could be against these minimum standards? We know housing dogs in small cages 24/7 or for any extended time period each and every day is detrimental to both physical and mental health. We know the wire flooring is not good. We know dogs need regular exercise and opportunities for play. We know they need regular veterinary care.

The breeding guidelines in Pennsylvania are a great first step and are working in that commercial operations that do not meet these minimum standards are closing down. The law could go further and should be applied to all breeders. But again, the state has taken a lead in the charge to shut down puppy mills and there are a lot of states across the country that need to follow this lead.

The success in Pennsylvania, with room for more success with more enforcement, should serve as an example of what can happen elsewhere. I’m hoping we’ll soon see more states enact similar or stronger legislation.

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