2008-10-16 / Local & State

Pa. Governor To Sign Dog Law Overhaul

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - Gov. Ed Rendell said Wednesday he will sign a bill intended to dramatically improve the care and treatment of dogs kept in Pennsylvania's larger commercial kennels.

The measure would impose new regulations to increase the size of cages, require annual veterinary checkups and crack down on what critics describe as inhumane puppy mills. It was passed earlier Wednesday by the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Rendell, who owns two rescued golden retrievers, has spent more than two years pushing for tougher enforcement of Pennsylvania's dog law.

"Within one year, Pennsylvania will be a leader in the treatment of dogs in commercial breeding kennels, shedding our reputation as the puppy-mill capital of the country,'' Rendell said during a news conference after the Legislature adjourned.

The dog law revisions took on new momentum in August, when operators of two Berks County kennels shot 80 dogs after being ordered to let veterinarians examine some of them.

The rules would pertain mostly to commercial kennels that provide dogs to dealers or pet shops, or that traffic in at least 60 dogs per year. Backers say it would have virtually no effect on boarding kennels, pet stores or rescue shelters.

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