Puppy mill legislation getting noticed

May 30, 2008 9:04:09 AM PDT
A bill currently in Harrisburg that will change the way commercial dog breeders do business is getting unprecedented support. That's due in part to an eye-opening undercover investigation and a powerhouse spokesperson.

"This letter I'm holding could be the hope of countless puppies and dogs," said Oprah Winfrey during her show on Thursday.

That letter is from Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell. In it he thanks Oprah for exposing the world of puppy mills on her show.

Portion of Rendell's Letter:
I care deeply about the plight of dogs forced to live in kennel conditions such as those depicted on your show.

Bill Smith, of Main Line Animal Rescue helped Lisa Ling and the Oprah show go undercover in puppy mills in Lancaster County.

"It obviously has a big wound on its neck and a chain running right through the sore," Bill said about a puppy they saw injured in a cage.

To change the deplorable conditions there must be a change in the laws. House Bill 2525 would do just that.

"That's being termed the dog law overhaul," said Sarah Speed, the Pennsylvania director of the Humane Society of the United States.

It mandates larger cage sizes, solid flooring, exercise access, proper veterinary care and protection from the weather.

The bill is already making waves in Harrisburg.

"In Pennsylvania in the House of Representatives you need 102 votes to pass a bill we came in with 90 co-sponsors that's just amazing," Sarah said.

Two other bills are also drawing huge support. One tackles inhumane procedures like de-barking which is the practice of cutting a dog's vocal cords making them silent. The bills would also give authorities more power to press cruelty charges on puppy mill owners.

We did reach out to the Pennsylvania Professional Dog Breeder's Association today, we have yet to hear back from them but in the past the group said it stands by the Governor but does not want laws so stringent that is drives breeders out of business.

For more information about pending dog law legislation & adopting a dog:
House Bill 2525
House Bill 2532
House Bill 1065
Pennsylvania SPCA
The Humane Society of the United States