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Ensure nursing mothers and their puppies spend their entire lives in humane conditions.

This petition had 2,845 supporters


Mother dogs and their puppies are suffering in Pennsylvania puppy mills. Despite a change to the Pennsylvania Dog Law that was meant to guarantee mother dogs and their puppies access to an outdoor exercise area and comfortable flooring, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is allowing puppy mill operators to violate the law through ill-conceived regulatory exemptions.

Since first enacted in 1982, the Dog Law has provided the only regulation in Pennsylvania for non-federally regulated commercial dog kennels—or puppy mills. Unfortunately, the law afforded these animals little protection from the deplorable living conditions that earned Pennsylvania the title of “Puppy Mill Capital of the East.” 

But in 2008, the Pennsylvania General Assembly attempted to improve its reputation and voted to amend the Dog Law in order to improve the living conditions of dogs living in confinement. As a Pennsylvania resident, I supported the General Assembly’s amendments and looked forward to improved living conditions for Pennsylvania puppies, which includes more than 100,000 dogs. To be sure, the 2008 amendments required commercial kennels to, among other things, increase cage sizes, eliminate wire-strand flooring, provide unfettered access to outdoor exercise areas, and ensure prompt treatment of sick animals by trained veterinarians. Appallingly the Department of Agriculture, when implementing the amendments, created two illegal regulatory exemptions in order to eliminate the new protections afforded to nursing mothers and their puppies.

First, in regulation, the Department of Agriculture exempted nursing mothers and their puppies from the General Assembly’s prohibition on the use of painful wire-strand flooring. As a result, puppy mill owners have continued to use wire strand flooring in enclosures housing nursing mothers and their puppies. Metal strand flooring in kennel enclosures is not only uncomfortable for dogs, but can also lead to many severe injuries such as splayed feet, cysts on paws, and painful abrasions. In addition, dogs housed in enclosures with metal strand flooring can develop severe and permanent behavioral issues, rendering them difficult to rehome. Such dogs are typically placed in permanent foster homes run by rescue organizations or euthanized.

Second, the Department created an unlawful regulatory exemption for nursing mothers and their puppies from the General Assembly’s requirement to provide all dogs unfettered access to an outdoor exercise area. Now, nursing mothers and their puppies are trapped in cramped enclosures without exercise for most of their lives.

On July 30, 2014, I joined the Animal Legal Defense Fund to file a lawsuit against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in order to compel the Department of Agriculture to comply with the law. You can help me and ALDF convince the Commonwealth that nursing mothers and their puppies deserve to spend their entire lives in humane conditions by signing our petition to the Dog Law Enforcement Office



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Margy Ehmann needs your help with “Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement Chief Kristen Donmoyer: Ensure nursing mothers and their puppies spend their entire lives in humane conditions.”. Join Margy and 2,844 supporters today.