Pennsylvania Enacts Changes to ‘Dog Law’

A new law includes measures to improve conditions in commercial dog breeding kennels.

A Pennsylvania bill aimed at improving the conditions of commercial kennels was signed into law Friday by Governor Edward Rendell, two days after the state Legislature approved the measure by a wide margin.

Rendell said the new law will help improve Pennsylvania’s reputation as “The Puppy Mill Capital of the East.”

“Pennsylvania law previously allowed dogs to be kept in cramped, stacked cages their entire lives with no opportunity for exercise and minimal care,” Rendell said in a statement. “These deplorable conditions led to dogs with physical and psychological problems and a poor standard of living. With this bill, those standards of care are finally raised.”

The law bans wire flooring, doubles cage sizes, eliminates cage stacking, and requires regular exercise and semiannual veterinary care for dogs. Commercial breeding kennels are required to meet the new physical standards for cage size and flooring within one year, unless granted a temporary waiver by the Department of Agriculture. The law also mandates that only a veterinarian may euthanize an animal.

The requirements for other types of kennels, like sporting and hobby dog kennels, are virtually unchanged, according to the governor’s office. Those entities do not operate with the purpose of breeding large quantities of dogs to sell for profit.

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