But such laws only make sense if they are enforced. Under pressure from puppy mill owners, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture quickly issued two sweeping exemptions to the law. One allowed 50 percent of the floor to be made up of metal strands in cages where mothers were kept with nursing puppies, while the other said the ministry would not enforce the law if breeders granted “daily” access to a training area for foster dogs. “We had to take off the top of that box to get it out, it was so tight,” Herbert said Wednesday at a news conference to discuss Victoria Law, a bill passed by Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-28) and Lisa Boscola (D-18). If passed, Victoria`s law would prevent the sale of puppy mill dogs, cats and rabbits in Pennsylvania pet stores. A thoughtful commitment to the welfare of all dogs is why we and other sensible dog lovers need to look beyond exaggeration to reject SB 234 and instead make responsible choices and stricter consumer protection laws. As introduced, SB 234 will significantly limit pet buyers` freedom of choice and limit families` ability to select pets based on the breed, health, and temperament traits they are looking for. It also cancels existing consumer protections that protect pet buyers. The abolition of consumer protection does not protect pets; In fact, it eliminates penalties that prevent irresponsible animal sellers and breeders. Similarly, removing responsible choice options pushes pet buyers directly into internet fraud, unregulated sellers, or even just for a pet that doesn`t fit their lifestyle and is more likely to end up at the shelter. In 2008, the Pennsylvania State Legislature enacted some of the most comprehensive regulations for commercial dog breeders in the country under the Pennsylvania Dog Act.
The state had become, in the words of one legislator, “the puppy mill capital of the East” and sought to strengthen the law primarily to alleviate the suffering of mother dogs used for breeding. Commercial breeders kept mother in cages with only metal bottoms, and many dogs were literally never left outside for training. Pennsylvania has a reputation as a puppy milling state. Billboards encouraging adoption instead of buying puppy mills can be seen on many major highways across the state. Victoria was a German shepherd who was rescued from a puppy mill in Pennsylvania after 10 years of breeding. She became completely paralyzed as a result of a genetic and neurological disorder called degenerative myelopathy, a disease she passed on to the approximately 150 to 200 puppies she produced at the puppy mill. When puppy mills run out of pet stores to deliver their puppies, far fewer dogs will be forced to endure what Victoria did. STATUS: Please contact your state representative to say, “Please support the representative. Ortitay`s Anti-Puppy Mill Sales Bill HB 2601,” then your state senator asked, “Please support Senator Reschethaler`s Anti-Puppy Mill Sales Act – SB 1154.” A better approach is to encourage responsible pet choice and instead adopt even stricter consumer protection laws covering all sources of animals sold in the Commonwealth.
And the state has laws on puppy mills. Producers must be licensed and inspect the facility at least once a year. If a puppy or dog gets sick within a certain period of time and needs treatment, the seller is responsible for reimbursing the dog owner. Once again, a bill was introduced in the Pennsylvania legislature that prohibits pet stores from selling pets bred to regulated breeders, rather than simply selling animals from shelters or emergency services — all in the name of closing bad breeders. There should be no debate about the need to close down negligent, cruel or irresponsible ranchers. However, misguided bans on pet retailing, such as those proposed in Senate Bill 234 – also known as the Victoria Bill designed to end puppy mills – will limit consumer protection and choice, while doing nothing to actually improve conditions for pets.
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