PFDC Opposes Pet Limits as Missing the Point

Many communities like Waynesboro PA try to deal with issues of animal cruelty and irresponsible pet ownership by limiting the number of pets its citizens may keep. The PA Federation of Dog Clubs agrees with a handful of court decisions across the country that conclude such laws miss the mark.


The News

Question -

The law seems to say that tail docking and dewclaw removal can be done by the breeder prior to 5 days of age - is this correct?

You can dock dogs 5 days old or younger; they cannot be docked by a breeder over 5 days of age.


The law seems to say that the owner must keep a record of such surgeries including date performed and attending vet - is this correct?
Yes, but it is not clear whether this must be done if the breeder does the docking since it refers to the name of the veterinarian performing the procedure, which is not required for dogs 5 days or younger.


What constitutes proof that it was done according to this law if not done by a vet?
The law does not provide a standard which means you can use just about anything.  I would simply state that "The tail of (description of dog), born on (date) was docked by me on (date) at (location)" and sign it. 


If I sell a dog to an owner in PA, what will constitute proof for them that docking and dewclaw removal were done in accordance with this law?
If you are an in-state or an out of state breeder, your statement will provide a sufficient defense to a cruelty charge under this law.  Plus the contract or bill of sale could state that the dog's tail was docked by the breeder in accordance with the law time of sale - out of state breeders could add that the sale was in another state.  This would be another layer of proof.


What happens to the dog if PA officials do not accept the proof?
There would be a summons and a court case.  If they seized the dog, you would probably become rich from the lawsuit.


In other words, is it safe for the dog for me to sell it into PA?
I don't know enough about the healing time of docked tails to tell you.  If you dock the tail and the wound or incision is healed when the dog is sold (presumably some time after eight weeks of age), there is no danger since the law only apples to unhealed wounds or incisions.  If the wound or incision is unhealed, and you provide documentation the surgery was done out of state, there should be no problem, since PA law can't prevent surgeries in another jurisdiction.  However, there can be not absolute guarantee that a huane society official won't exceed their authority or misapply the law. 
Julian Prager
NAIA Legislative Coordinator
PFDC Legislative Chair
DLAB, Public Member