I was going to write a scathing commentary on what is happening to this bill, HB 2525, that is desperately needed in PA to at least ease the plight of dogs stuck in the houses of horrors, puppy mills, but as usual, NPPMW, North Penn Puppy Mill Watch, did a fantastic job!!

Read on a see how the Senate is ripping this bill apart! By the time they get done it won’t be worth much of anything….

Our Take on the Senate Amendments to HB-2525

By: North Penn Puppy Mill Watch

It is terribly disappointing that our state Senate, in an attempt to avoid making decisions for which they would be held accountable, has decided instead to create a “Canine Health Board” to do their work for them and thereby avoid the overwhelming sentiment and demand of their constituents to immediately protect dogs trapped in Pennsylvania’s commercial breeding kennels.

The amendments now tacked onto House Bill 2525 strip the majority of provisions that will benefit dogs in commercial breeding kennels by offering a waiver to those kennel operators who have a “clean inspection record” for three years. Kennel operators falling into this category will not have to implement any of the new provisions that would improve the health and welfare standards for the dogs.

In light of the kennel inspection reports for those kennels raided over the summer and the kennel that shot its 80 breeder dogs, some of which had “clean inspection records” this exemption is not only inappropriate but detrimental to the lives of tens of thousands of dogs trapped in the mills.

Furthermore, that the implementation of this legislation is to be delayed by more than one year, should it pass, only ensures the probability that hundreds of dogs will once again freeze to death this coming winter and/or expire from heat exhaustion over the course of next summer. Thanks to the Senate, there will be no immediate relief for dogs who have already been suffering for years and this is shameful.

In 2007 the PA Deptment of Agriculture, via the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, licensed approximately 1,667 commercial kennels. The original and more stringent portions of House Bill 2525 were created to ensure the health and welfare of canines kept in breeding facilities housing more than 60 dogs. Inasmuch as HB-2525 would actually affect only 875 kennels, it is clear that the Senate is catering to a very small special interest group, instead of its constituents, and allowing them to dictate how dogs will be kept in this Commonwealth.

Our House of Representatives spoke loudly and clearly: PASS THIS LEGISLATION WITHOUT ADMENDMENT but, by way of unfriendly amendments, the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee has not only damaged this legislation but reinstated amendments that were opposed and soundly defeated in the House.

While advocates clearly do not have the ability to stop this now amended legislation, it should be noted for the record that we oppose these changes and would sincerely hope that every state senator who cares about dogs, and also values the opinions of her or his constituents, will work to undo the damage done by the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee when this bill comes for a vote on the Senate floor.

An overview of some of the specific amendments;

After overwhelming support in the House last week, the Senate Agriculture Committee on Wednesday added several amendments to House Bill 2525.

Several of the amendments would lessen the financial burden for breeders who must comply with structural and procedural changes proposed in the bill.

One amendment would allow some kennel operators three-year waivers to make structural upgrades required by the proposed legislation. The eligible kennel operators would have to prove they’ve made “substantial structural improvements” to their kennels and haven’t been cited for dog-law violations in the past three years.

Another amendment calls for the creation of a Canine Health Board made up of veterinarians who would serve four-year terms. Three of the board members would be appointed by the governor, while the rest would be selected by minority and majority chairs of the House and Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committees.

Other amendments to the bill remove specifics of kennel condition requirements, such as lighting, heating, cooling and ventilation standards and charge the Canine Health Board to establish these standards.

An amendment calling for slatted flooring with spaces of no more than half an inch also was added. The bill originally required that adult dogs no longer live on wire flooring.

The flooring issue became such a sticking point that even the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association opposed the bill, in part because it required solid flooring in kennels.

The committee also attached an amendment that would make the effective date a full year from its enactment rather than the six months set by the House.

A few of the important requirements that have remained intact; only vets may euthanized dogs and all kennel dogs get annual vet checkups or examined by a vet every time they get pregnant.

Talk about wasting time and watering down a bill! Hypocrites! Please, I ask, beg, plead with you, contact PA Senators and ask them to pass HB 2525 without the amendments!!

I urge all Pennsylvanians to contact youR senators – you can find the list HERE, and let them know that you support the bill as it was originally written.

Important Points!

1. Remind your Senator that dogs in Pennsylvania have been suffering for far too long and deserve better conditions and protection than they are currently afforded by law;

2. Mention that House Bills 2525 and 2532 is NOT Democratic or Republican issues – the humane treatment of dogs is a concern for ALL Pennsylvanians in every part of the state;

3. If your state Senator is NOT supporting HB 2525 and HB 2532, ask how they can possibly side with an industry that places profit over the health and welfare of innocent dogs;

If your state Senator IS supporting the original Bills, remind them how important the humane care and treatment of dogs in breeding kennels is to you and thank them for their continued support and anticipated vote FOR the legislation.

Each day that goes by without the passage of House Bill 2525 and 2532 represents yet another day that dogs in Pennsylvania are suffering for the sake of profit. By working together and letting our officials know how strongly we feel about both pieces of legislation we may actually make the summer of 2008 the last summer breeder dogs in Pennsylvania spend sweltering in rabbit hutches or stacked in cages in unventilated barns.

For those outside Pennsylvania, you can still contact the PA Senators. You can let them know that the eyes of the country and the world are watching them. Let them know that you will not support Pennsylvania through tourism or industry and you will urge friends and family to do likewise. Where the bills are being held up, it is only because they worry about loss of revenue from special interest groups supporting this vile industry. Let them know they will lose a lot more revenue if they don’t support it!

Everyone please, this is not just a Pennsylvania problem! Don’t think the dogs bred in PA puppy mills stay in Pennsylvania. They are shipped all across the country and with the puppies come diseases and a plethora of other medical problems. We all pay the price!

So now it’s time to pick up the phones, write email, write letters… raise your voices! Be polite but be firm! Actual letter will send the strongest message. Start now and don’t stop!

Please , help to get the word out too. Send this to everyone you know, friends, family… post this on forums and groups. You may be one person and I am only one person, but together with many others, we can be a force to be reckoned with.

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