New Pennsylvania Kennel  Regulations

Threaten Trainers,  Breeders, Competitors

HARRISBURG, Pa. A proposed revision in the  regulations to enforce Pennsylvania’s existing kennel law would impose  severe mandates on many dog trainers and breeders, is expected to put many  kennels out of business, and imposes heavy fines and confiscation of dogs  for noncompliance. 

 The Pennsylvania Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, an arm of the state  Department of Agriculture, estimates that it will cost every licensed kennel  in Pennsylvania between $5,000 and $20,000 to come into compliance with the  new rules. Many kennel owners peg the cost as much higher. The Bureau also  estimates its own costs at $15,000 initially for each of its dog wardens,  plus $5,000 annually for each warden. The wardens are funded through kennel  license fees. The Bureau maintains that there will be no cost to the general  public, but the document does not consider that charges for services  (boarding and training), or for the sale of puppies, dogs and stud services,  will have to be increased to cover the additional costs borne by the kennels  that survive.

Supporters of the measure argue that the stricter  rules are needed to control alleged puppy mills, which they claim are  common in Pennsylvania. Opponents of the measure say that the new rules  represent an escalation of the animal rights agenda aimed at eliminating  commercial animal operations, private ownership of animals and hunting. They  allege that the animal rights groups see this measure as a victory as it  will eliminate most kennels in Pennsylvania, thereby reducing the number and  availability of privately owned dogs, and set a precedent that eventually  would accord the same rights to farm animals and wild animals.

All kennels that house, buy, sell or raise more  than 26 dogs or puppies a year are required to be licensed, and are subject  to all of the provisions of the new rules.

The impact of the new rules on dog competitions  in Pennsylvania remains to be seen. The rules call for current veterinary  and rabies certificates for any dog entering the state, would appear to make  the sizes of standard dog boxes, topper holes and airline crates  insufficient, and would appear to make chain gangs and stakeouts illegal.

There are four basic thrusts to the new regulations:

 Strict requirements for improving kennel  facilities. These new requirements  would double the minimum size of kennel runs. For a typical bird dog, the  smallest legal kennel would be six-feet wide and 15-feet long. Dog boxes  would have to be large enough to allow a dog to lie on its belly or side, so  that no part of its body, including its tail, could touch the sides; for a  typical bird dog, a box would have to be at least five feet square to  comply. For a typical bird dog kept on a chain, the chains would have to be  at least 15 feet long. Waterproof solid shade structures would have to be  built over part of each outdoor kennel and area for chained dogs. There also  are many other new physical requirements for construction, surfacing and  maintenance.

 Detailed and time-consuming management  requirements. Among the new rules  are requirements for each dog and puppy in the kennel to be exercised  individually on a leash for 20 minutes a day. Allowing a dog to run free at  the kennel or when hunting, training or exercising, would not meet this  requirement. The rules also excludes conditioning activities such as roading  in groups. The exercise and leash requirements apply even to dogs kept in  the kennel owner’s home. Other rules would require daily sanitation of all  kennels, panels, houses and bowls, and daily changes of bedding material.  Dogs would have to be removed from the kennel during sanitation, and not be  put back in until all surfaces had been dried. For people who work with  dogs, onsite shower facilities must be provided.

 Restrictions on how licensed kennels  could do business. A licensed  kennel would not be allowed to purchase a dog from a private party,  interstate sales would be strictly regulated and subject to inspection,  sources of dogs and puppies could be investigated for dog law violations in  any state, no dogs or puppies could be transported into or out of the state  without a veterinary health certificate and rabies certificate, new dogs  coming into the kennel (such as for training) would be subject to quarantine  and veterinary inspection in certain instances (including signs of worms),  all new puppies brought to a kennel would have to be quarantined for 14  days, and dogs would have to be strictly segregated according to size and  gender. Short-haired dogs, which would include pointers, many Continental  breeds and hounds, could not be kept in outdoor facilities when the  temperature falls below 35 degrees, and all breeds in any kind of facility  would require cooling when temperatures are above 85 degrees. In order to  purchase a dog from a kennel out of state, the kennel would have to be  licensed and subject to the approval of Pennsylvania agencies.

 Many record-keeping requirements.  The new regulations impose a host of new forms, mandated bills of sale, and  paperwork requirements. For example, no fewer than six separate forms would  have to be completed each day for each dog in a kennel. These includes  individual daily records for exercising, feeding and watering, sanitizing  bowls, sanitizing the kennel, cleaning the kennel and cleaning houses. For a  kennel containing 50 dogs, these individual forms would require completing  300 different forms every day. Records for each dog must be kept for two  years.  

I can state with absolute certainty that these  proposed regulatory changes will put me out of business, and I think they  will put many other kennels in the state out of business, too. In fact, I  don't know of a single kennel anywhere that could meet the new standards.  Even the most modern and fancy kennels that I know would not meet the  standards in the proposed regulations.  

 John Yates