To:  Executive Director, PA Senate Agriculture Committee

From:  Darin Cox, President, PA Federation Of Dog Clubs

Re:  S1289, Dog Law Modernization Act


The PA Federation of Dog Clubs is generally pleased with the changes proposed in S1289.  Among the positive changes we see:

·         Removal of the price difference between altered and unaltered dogs.

·         Maintaining the licensing threshold at 4 months but adding language requiring immediate licensing upon change of ownership.

·         Creation of an online method for obtaining a dog license.

·         Requiring the creation of a statewide dog license database.

·         Eliminating non-profit kennels and clearly defining humane society or SPCA kennels.

·         Increase in all license fees to return the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement to solvency.

We do have a few questions or requests for clarification:

·         In the Dangerous Dog Law, can an owner or keeper of a dog be found criminal guilty of harboring a dangerous dog on the first attack?  If there is no known history of a dog committing an unprovoked attack, how can an owner or keeper be accused of harboring a dangerous dog?  We can understand finding the dog to be dangerous on the first incident.

·         Regarding the $25 fee for a Rescue Network Home license.  If a home owner has a dog on the premises for less than 24 hours as part of a transport relay into and out of the Commonwealth, would such a home be required to obtain the Rescue Network Home license.

The PA Federation of Dog Clubs looks forward to working with the Legislature on these changes and would like to be included in any discussions about potential amendments that will undoubtedly be offered to S1289. 

The News

PFDC logoPFDC Statement on Victoria’s Bill

Senate Bill 234 and House Bill 1299 have been introduced, so here is why we DO NOT SUPPORT this proposal…

  • The proposal will do little to impact substandard commercial kennels because the number of brick & mortar pet stores that sell animals is almost nil.  This proposal attacks an almost non-existent problem.  Most substandard commercial kennels ply their trade via the internet.
  • Even though this proposal will ostensibly not impact responsible breeders, we can see the commentary in social media by supporters.  We know the majority of proponents of the Bill wish it impacted “backyard breeders” and most say that will be their next target.  The breeders who make up our member organizations put thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours into raising quality dogs of their beloved breed, and no reasonable person would label them “backyard breeders”.  However, we have little doubt the radicals behind this proposal see us that way and are undoubtedly designing their next drive after getting this one across the goal line.
  • In 2008, the PA Federation of Dog Clubs cooperated with many organizations to strengthen the PA Dog Law and kennel regulations.  As a result, many substandard commercial kennels shutdown and others spent thousands to comply with the new standards of care.  We understand others went underground and continue to operate illegally.  We therefore call on the Legislature to restore funding taken from the Dog Law Restricted account to balance the General Fund budget in 2010 so that Dog Law Enforcement can adequately enforce the very changes we all worked to enact.  Senate Bill 1289 has been introduced to raise individual dog license fees for the first time in 25 years.  We support that and the increase in kennel license fees to improve enforcement.  Only until this is done and current laws are adequately enforced should we consider and new, radical proposals like Victoria’s Bill.
  • During the Ridge Administration we worked with many groups to pass the PA Puppy Lemon Law.  This gave consumers some protection when purchasing a puppy from a licensed kennel, including a pet shop kennel, including options to get veterinary treatment covered up to the purchase price of the dog.  We have been working with the Attorney General’s office since to improve some aspects of that Law and last session that Bill was SB302.  We have been told that those reforms will be reintroduced soon.  We believe this legislation should be enacted and given a chance to have an impact before considering Victoria’s Bill.
  • We have seen anecdotal evidence that some underground commercial kennels have begun posing as rescues and offering puppies for an “adoption fee”.  This proposal would encourage this fraud because shelters and rescues are not inspected or regulated to anywhere near the level of commercial operations.

The preamble of the Bill is chocked full of "facts" and figures from radical groups that cannot be verified or are known to be false.

We are saddened and disgusted by use of mistreated animals like Libre and Victoria as props for political purposes.  Let’s debate the merits of such legislation on scientific facts not emotions.

Given the hard push by HSUS to pass this legislation, we cannot support political leaders who favor SB234 or HB1299.