Recent media coverage has highlighted the existence of numerous inhumane dog-breeding facilities throughout our state. Over 1,000 small puppies and dogs were rescued just in the past week in West Virginia from an inhumane puppy hill. While there are many breeders that do run responsible businesses, thousands of dogs living in puppy mills are not so lucky. People may not be aware that there were close to 900,000 dogs kept in Pennsylvania's licensed kennels in 2006, according to the Department of Agriculture/Bureau of Dog Law report to the Pennsylvania General Assembly. Many of these kennels were puppy mills. Over 70 percent of Pennsylvania's licensed kennels are located in Lancaster and Chester Counties. And there are 650 commercial kennels in Pennsylvania, but only half of those are licensed by the USDA. There has been a recent bust in Pennsylvania, but it is rather rare for puppy mills to actually get busted.These unfortunate animals are stacked in small wire cages with no solid flooring. Many times breeding dogs spend their entire lives just giving birth to one litter of puppies after another. Exercise, fresh air, heat or cooling, veterinary care and even clean water may be considered unnecessary expenses.

Many puppy mill dogs spend their entire lives in these conditions and are killed when their reproductive value diminishes. Current legislation does little to deter this endless cycle of cruelty.

House Bill 2525, currently before the House, would help put an end to this inhumane treatment. It would not only mandate larger cages with solid flooring, but also create daily cleaning and exercise standards. Among other basic care requirements, annual veterinary care would not longer be optional.

Now is the time to make sure your voice is heard. Please contact your legislator and let him or her know you support House Bill 2525.

To find legislators in your area, go to www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/find.cfm.

We need your support to end the inhumane treatment of animals!

Fayann Harwood

New London resident and member of Human Society of the United States

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