HARRISBURG, Pa. — When strict new requirements for cage size, exercise and flooring standards went into effect for commercial dog kennels in Pennsylvania Oct. 9, the Department of Agriculture deployed teams of staff to ensure those laws are enforced.
Dog wardens and kennel compliance specialists will inspect each of the nearly 300 licensed commercial kennels through the end of the year. They will take enforcement actions against kennel owners who do not follow the provisions of the dog law.
The enforcement actions include warnings, citations and revoking kennel licenses, as provided by law.
Pennsylvania’s 55-day enforcement plan, through Dec. 31, follows months of outreach by the department to commercial kennels and industry associations.
These new statutes address the health and welfare needs of dogs housed in commercial breeding kennels by requiring these operations to meet new physical standards for cage size, exercise and flooring.
The new laws only apply to “class-C” commercial kennels that breed dogs and either sell dogs to dealers or pet stores, or sell more than 60 dogs a year.
Changes that commercial kennel owners must comply with include:
– Dogs are required to have access to an outdoor exercise area.
– Temperatures inside the kennel cannot fall below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
– Dogs must be provided water at all times.
– Wire flooring is prohibited in a dog’s living quarters.
– Dog cages cannot be stacked on top of one another.
– Dogs must be examined by a veterinarian at least twice a year.
Challenges to the new law were settled recently when a federal judge ruled that Act 119, including the new requirements taking effect Oct. 9, are constitutional. The Pennsylvania Professional Dog Breeders Association and a Pennsylvania kennel owner challenged sections of the law, but the judge concluded that their claims were without merit.
For more information about the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, visit www.agriculture.state.pa.us. To offer confidential tips about unsatisfactory or illegal kennels, call 877-DOG-TIP1.
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