Pennsylvania's Gov. Ed Rendell is listening to Animal Rights Groups. Former Bureau of Dog Law, Mary Bender, listened to everyone. Who won this round? Clearly the Animal Rights.
PA.'s kennel chief reassigned
By Amy Worden
Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - In a move applauded by animal-welfare advocates, Gov. Rendell has reassigned the director of the bureau of dog law - theperson responsible for enforcement in the state's 2,700 licensed kennels - to a new position within the Department of Agriculture. Mary Bender, who had served as the bureau's director since 2003, was named head of the Resource Enhancement and Protection Program, a new farmland-conservati on program within the department, Rendell spokesman Chuck Ardo said. Ardo would say only that it was a mutually agreed-upon transfer, but individuals who have advised the governor on ways to improve theproblem-plagued bureau say her removal was at the top of their list. "We always recommended wholesale changes in the bureau up to and including the director," said Bob Baker, an ASPCA investigator whoserved on the governor's ad hoc committee on dog law. He said lack of enforcement against kennels with serious and continuing violations, including unsanitary and hazardous conditions, had been a problem for decades. "The bureau would try to talk them into compliance, rather than prosecute them," Baker said. "All the talk and education has gottennowhere." The move comes almost a year after Rendell announced sweeping changes to the bureau's operations as part of his pledge to crack downon inhumane conditions in the state's large commercial dog-breeding facilities. A replacement for Bender has not yet been named.