Regulatory Committee Critizes Pennsylvania Agriculture Department Proposed Overhaul of Dog Laws

So what's the real story Pennsylvania Dogsters? Thanks to for this news. Panel Criticizes Proposed Dog Law Changes HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - April 17,...


So what’s the real story Pennsylvania Dogsters?

Thanks to for this news.

Panel Criticizes Proposed Dog Law Changes

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – April 17, 2007 – A regulatory panel criticized the state Agriculture Department’s proposed overhaul of Pennsylvania’s dog law, saying it “significantly understated” the cost to breeders and failed to take into account the diverse types of kennels in the state.

The costs of renovating kennels and adding staff “are expected to far exceed what could be recovered by increasing purchase prices or adoption fees for puppies or dogs,” the Independent Regulatory Review Commission said in written comments Monday.

Gov. Ed Rendell has recommended changes aimed at toughening health and safety standards for Pennsylvania’s 2,400 licensed kennels. The department has estimated that the cost of complying with the regulations ranges from $5,000 to $20,000 per kennel.

The changes reflect a “one-size-fits-all” approach to regulating facilities that range from small, home-based breeders to large commercial operations, the commission said.

“The rationale for placing all kennels together under one regulatory scheme appears to be at odds with the recognition … that not all kennels are alike,” the commission said.

At the same time, while some kennels would comply with most of the Agriculture Department’s proposed changes, the agency could not identify a single facility that currently could adhere to all of the new standards, the commission said.

“The crucial question is how to correct existing problems and protect dog health and safety in the most cost-effective way,” the commission said.

Agriculture Department spokesman Chris Ryder said officials were just beginning to review the commission’s comments and had no immediate reaction to them.

Among other things, the proposal would require larger cages, 20 minutes of daily exercise for dogs and force operators to keep records of exercise, sanitation and feeding.

The commission’s comments came more than a month after a legislative hearing on the proposed regulations, which were introduced in December. Groups representing dog breeders and animal-rescue operations testified that the new rules could be costly and burdensome for law-abiding businesses.

Nina Schaefer, president of the Pennsylvania Federation of Dog Clubs, said her organization would urge the department to withdraw the proposed regulations and concentrate on enforcing the current law.

“Writing regulations without knowing what the problem is doesn’t seem to be an efficient way of doing business,” Schaefer said.

The Morning Call of Allentown reported in March that dog wardens rated kennels “satisfactory” even when their inspections found violations, citing its review of 20,000 state kennel inspection records.

Current law allows only police and humane officers to file animal-cruelty charges, while dog wardens have no authority to file charges even if they witness mistreatment.

The commission also recommended that the department work closely with kennel owners, experts, lawmakers and others to develop a proposal that would accomplish the goal of improving kennel conditions “without imposing unnecessary or unreasonable financial burdens.”

“These regulations could be farther along toward being generally accepted and understood if there had been more (public) input earlier,” said Anne Irwin with the Federated Humane Societies of Pennsylvania.

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