Monday, October 12, 2009

Important Info Protecting Dogs in Puppy Mills

This time last year a new dog law protecting dogs in Pennsylvania's larger commerical breeding facilities was passed. At that time the legislature created a Canine Health Board to decide the specifics regarding ventilation, lighting, high-end temperature and flooring alternatives (under the new law, solid or slatted flooring is required in all kennels).

The recommendations by the Canine Health Board are currently being reviewed by the Independent Regulatory Review Commission. It is extremely important we contact the IRRC at this time and urge their members to support these regulations in order to help the dogs of Pennsylvania's puppy mills. It is important to note the Canine Health Board is comprised of nine vets selected by both the Republican and Democrat leaderships. These regulations have bipartisan support and were approved unanimously by the vets on the board.

The proposed regulations include:

Ventilation: Requires commercial kennels to have functional, mechanical ventilation systems and in an emergency, they must have operable windows, skylights, etc. When temperatures exceed 85 degrees the ventilation system must be used to reduce the temperature in the kennels. This proposed regulation breeders to monitor, ammonia, carbon monoxide, and humidity levels as well as requiring them to provide the dogs in their kennels with 8-20 air changes of 100% fresh air per hour in each room of the kennel the dogs are housed. Many of the dogs in Pennsylvania's puppy mills have ulcers on their eyes from high ammonia levels; others suffer from heat exhaustion in the summer. This section of the proposed regulations will ensure that dogs in the larger commercial breeding kennels are provided with clean, fresh, breathable air.

Lighting: The proposed legislation recognized the needs for dogs in these facilities to have exposure to natural light, or at the very least a mixture of natural and artificial light. Many dogs rescued from these facilities have spent their whole lives in darkness, so this is extremely important. Under the suggested guidelines, dogs are also protected from excessive light, and shaded area will be required in outside exercise areas.

Flooring: Under the new dog law, solid or 'slated' flooring is required. This regulation outlines specifics regarding drainage (no dogs standing in urine, etc), degree of sloping, and the materials that can be used (dogs should not be forced to stand on hot or cold metal flooring for example).

Please take the time to contact the below agencies or individuals as soon as possible (deadline October 27th) and urge them to support the Canine Health Board's proposed regulations. Point out, if passed the state will not incur any additional costs by enforcing these regulations and any costs incurred by the commerical breeders will be made up by selling healthier dogs.

Mail your comments to:

Canine Health Board
c/o Department of Agriculture
Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement
2301 N. Cameron Street, Room 102
Harrisburg, PA 17110

or email CHBComments@state. and copy the following members of the IRRC:
Kim Kaufman: kkaufman[at]
John Jewett: jjewett[at]
Scott Schalles: sschalles[at]
James Smith: jsmith[at]
Fiona Wilmarth: fwilmarth[at]
Michael Stephens: mstephens[at]
Michaele Totino: mtotino[at]
Wanda Gelnett: wgelnett[at]
Mary Lou Harris: mharris[at]

(image courtesy of the Humane Society)

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