Hope for Pennsylvania in 2013: Give Dog Law Some Teeth

Despite Law, Puppy Mills Still in Business

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | Things looked good in 2008 when the Pennsylvania state government passed H.B. 2525, popularly called the "puppy mill bill" to stop inhumane puppy mills in the state. However, not much has happened to help stop existing puppy mills and prevent new ones starting.

Lancaster, Pa., was once the puppy mill capital of America, providing puppies for pet stores, websites and for classified ads in the back of purebred dog magazines. (Now, Missouri has this dubious distinction, according to the ASPCA.) Although this year the Pennsylvania state government has "taken action" for 37 puppy mills, this is just a drop in the puppy mill bucket.

"Taken action" does not necessarily mean "shut down." Shutting down a kennel requires a long legal process that can take years. Pennsylvania is a vast state and yet there are only 53 dog wardens. That's like having only 53 police officers for the state.

What happens to puppy mill breeding dogs? They're electrocuted, shot or dumped in the woods. One breeder in Puxatauney dumped at least 16 toy dogs (13 Pomeranians, two Shih Tzus and a Miniature Doberman Pinscher, according to WJAC-TV) into the woods. Sixteen were rescued.

Why are these criminals not in jail?

Because our dog laws lack teeth. Pennsylvania, in 2013, needs to strengthen and enforce its puppy mill laws.

-- Clifton Heights, Pa.

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