Friday, May 30, 2008

PA- Dog Legistation Raises Red Flags

Pennsylvania Dog Legislation Raises Red Flags
Legislators Must Hear from Responsible Owners and Breeders

May 28, 2008

Legislation designed to crack down on so-called "puppy mills" has been introduced in Pennsylvania that would have broad, sweeping implications for all dog owners and breeders. Governor Rendell's strong support for HB 2525 has given the bill significant momentum and a hearing is expected to be scheduled quite soon in the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

NAIA strongly supports the goal of improving substandard kennels and breeding operations, and we stand behind the spirit and intent of HB 2525 to eliminate poor and irresponsible practices, but upon closer review, we feel compelled to point out some areas where the bill could lead to misinterpretations, enforcement problems, and rights violations.

HB 2525, sponsored by Representative James E. Casorio Jr., D-Westmoreland, sets up stringent licensing and standards of care for commercial kennels. Although high volume breeding operations are the primary focus of the bill, it also establishes new rules for non-commercial kennels and individual dog owners.

A "commercial kennel" is defined as any kennel that breeds or whelps dogs and sells or transfers any dog to a dealer OR sells or transfers more than 60 dogs per year.

A "kennel" is defined as an establishment in or through which at least 26 dogs are kept or transferred in a calendar year.

A "dealer" is a person who publicly or privately sells or offers for sale any dog belonging to another person for consideration, a fee or a commission or percentage of the sale price or transfers dogs at wholesale.

A "private kennel" is a kennel not meeting the definition of commercial kennel at in or adjoining a residence where dogs are kept or bred for the purpose of hunting, tracking and exhibiting in dog shows, or field and obedience trials.

HB 2525 is improved over last year’s proposed regulations and it clearly reflects the input of many stakeholder groups that met with the department before they finalized the legislation. However, it still subjects all dog owners, all hobby breeders, all show kennels, all sporting dog kennels and all boarding kennels to overbearing and unnecessary laws.

Our primary concern is that this bill contains the scope and authority necessary to eliminate substandard kennels, without causing any undue, collateral harm to the law abiding, responsible breeders and kennel operators.

The following provisions in HB 2525 raise concerns:

It allows searches on private residences not associated with the actual operation of a kennel, which strikes us as unnecessarily invasive.
It gives the Department of Agriculture the ability to gain a search warrant simply for even a small violation of their written policies or procedures.
The bill permits the department to levy fines up to $1,000 and imprison violators on criminal charges for the first offense under the law or regulations, no matter how minor the transgression. As written, such severe penalties could be applied at the department's sole discretion for failure to keep a collar on your dog while traveling in your car or making an innocent error in your license application or in your records. The department needs discretion in enforcing the law, but it also needs better guidelines to shape its discretion. First offenses should have the option of a warning.
Under this bill a small breeder could have a single litter or purchase a single dog that brings it under the licensing requirements. However, in the case of the birth of a litter, they will not know if they exceed the limit until the litter is born. Delays by the department for the required inspection and the administrative actions to issue the license means that these small breeders would either be required to get a license unnecessarily or would have to operate without a license for a short period through no fault of their own.
It permits the department to require the divestiture of dogs below the kennel threshold without providing any reason for reducing the number below 25 dogs. At that number, the establishment is not a kennel (unless it thereafter goes over the 25 dog limit) and should not be subject to the department’s authority over kennels absent a clear and well-defined danger.
You can read the entire bill by clicking here .

The time is now to take action to secure the future of the dog fancy in Pennsylvania. Legislators are being overwhelmed with pressure from the media and others to pass a bill quickly. Unless they hear from us, legislators will pass a bill that hurts all of us, even if it is unintentional.

Please use the talking points below or CLICK HERE TO TAKE ACTION NOW and write members of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee encouraging them to amend this bill.

We need you to weigh in today in favor of reasonable dog laws!

For more information, we invite you to read our letter to the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

If you are receiving this alert through another source besides NAIA, and aren't yet on our alert list, please sign up now.


PA- Bill to allow Local Breed Specific Legislation

PA Bill to Allow Local BSL
Print This Article
[Thursday, May 22, 2008]
Pennsylvania House Bill 2553 will remove the state's prohibition on breed specific local ordinances, thereby allowing municipalities to adopt any type of law applicable to dangerous dogs, including breed-specific ordinances. It is imperative that concerned dog owners in Pennsylvania contact their legislators and express their strong opposition to this bill.

The American Kennel Club supports reasonable, enforceable, non-discriminatory laws to govern the ownership of dogs. The AKC believes that dog owners should be responsible for their dogs. We support laws that: establish a fair process by which specific dogs are identified as "dangerous" based on stated, measurable actions; impose appropriate penalties on irresponsible owners; and establish a well-defined method for dealing with dogs proven to be dangerous. The American Kennel Club strongly opposes any legislation that determines a dog to be "dangerous" based on specific breeds or phenotypic classes of dogs.

By allowing municipalities to impose breed-specific dangerous dog ordinances, HB 2553, if passed, will permit communities to unfairly target well-behaved dogs of specific breeds, thereby raising the possibility of harsh care and condition requirements or the possibility of penalties for owning certain breeds while not focusing on whether or not an individual dog has previously exhibited dangerous behavior. Additionally, the breed-specific ordinances allowed under this bill will create an unenforceable patchwork of dangerous dog rules across the Commonwealth.


Concerned Pennsylvania dog owners should contact the members of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. Respectfully let them know that HB 2553 is an unacceptable means to address dog control issues.


Hon. Michael K. Hanna, Majority Chairman
302 Main Capitol Building
PO Box 202076
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2076
(717) 772-2283
Fax: (717) 787-4137
To e-mail Rep. Hanna, click here.

Hon. Gary Haluska, Majority Vice Chairman
114 Irvis Office Building
PO Box 202073
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2073
(717) 787-3532
Fax: (717) 783-7548
To e-mail Rep. Haluska, click here.

Hon. David R. Kessler, Majority Secretary
115A East Wing
PO Box 202130
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2130
(717) 787-2769
Fax: (717) 780-4768
To e-mail Rep. Kessler, click here.

Hon. Mike Carroll
28A East Wing
PO Box 202118
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2118
(717) 787-3589
Fax: (717) 780-4763
To e-mail Rep. Carroll, click here.

Hon. Mark B. Cohen
128 Main Capitol Building
PO Box 202202
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2202
(717) 787-4117
Fax: (717) 787-6650
To e-mail Rep. Cohen, click here.

Hon. H. Scott Conklin
101B East Wing
PO Box 202077
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2077
(717) 787-9473
Fax: (717) 780-4764
To e-mail Rep. Conklin, click here.

Hon. Peter J. Daley
214 Irvis Office Building
PO Box 202049
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2049
(717) 783-9333
Fax: (717) 783-7558
To e-mail Rep. Daley, click here.

Hon. Richard T. Grucela
G-01 Irvis Office Building
PO Box 202137
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2137
(717) 705-1878
Fax: (717) 783-3180
To e-mail Rep. Grucela, click here.

Hon. Harold James
317 Irvis Office Building
PO Box 202186
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2186
(717) 787-9477
Fax: (717) 787-7517
To e-mail Rep. James, click here.

Hon. Babette Josephs
300 Main Capitol Building
PO Box 202182
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2182
(717) 787-8529
Fax: (717) 787-5066
To e-mail Rep. Josephs, click here.

Hon. Tim Mahoney
104B East Wing
PO Box 202051
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2051
(717) 772-2174
Fax: (717) 780-4786
To e-mail Rep. Mahoney, click here.

Hon. John Myers
305 Irvis Office Building
PO Box 202201
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2201
(717) 787-3181
Fax: (717) 772-4038
To e-mail Rep. Myers, click here.

Hon. Frank Louis Oliver
34E East Wing
PO Box 202195
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2195
(717) 787-3480
Fax: (717) 783-0684
To e-mail Rep. Oliver, click here.

Hon. Timothy J. Solobay
G-14 Irvis Office Building
PO Box 202048
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2048
(717) 787-1188
Fax: (717) 705-1887
To e-mail Rep. Solobay, click here.

Hon. Tom Yewcic
300 Irvis Office Building
PO Box 202072
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2072
(717) 783-0248
Fax: (717) 787-4922
To e-mail Rep. Yewcic, click here.

Hon. Rosita C. Youngblood
121A East Wing
PO Box 202198
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2198
(717) 787-7727
Fax: (717) 772-1313
To e-mail Rep. Youngblood, click here.


Hon. Art Hershey, Minority Chairman
202 Ryan Office Building
PO Box 202013
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2013
(717) 783-6435
Fax: (717) 705-1868
To e-mail Rep. Hershey, click here.

Hon. Bob Bastian, Minority Vice Chairman
402A Irvis Office Building
PO Box 202069
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2069
(717) 783-8756
Fax: (717) 783-3899
To e-mail Rep. Bastian, click here.

Hon. Mike Fleck, Minority Secretary
159A East Wing
PO Box 202081
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2081
(717) 787-3335
Fax: (717) 260-6504

Hon. Karen Boback
141B East Wing
PO Box 202117
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2117
(717) 787-1117
Fax: (717) 705-1889

Hon. Michele Brooks
153B East Wing
PO Box 202017
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2017
(717) 783-5008
Fax: (717) 705-1948

Hon. Jim Cox
412 Irvis Office Building
PO Box 202129
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2129
(717) 772-2435
Fax: (717) 260-6516

Hon. Gordon Denlinger
163A East Wing
PO Box 202099
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2099
(717) 787-3531
Fax: (717) 705-1951

Hon. David S. Hickernell
143B East Wing
PO Box 202098
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2098
(717) 783-2076
Fax: (717) 705-1946
To e-mail Rep. Hickernell, click here.

Hon. Rob W. Kauffman
163A East Wing
PO Box 202089
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2089
(717) 705-2004
Fax: (717) 705-1951

Hon. Mark K. Keller
5 East Wing
PO Box 202086
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2086
(717) 783-1593
Fax: (717) 705-7012

Hon. David R. Millard
402B Irvis Office Building
PO Box 202109
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2109
(717) 783-1102
Fax: (717) 772-0094

Hon. Dan Moul
G-32 Irvis Office Building
PO Box 202091
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2091
(717) 783-5217

Hon. Tina Pickett
155A East Wing
PO Box 202110
Harrisburg, PA 17120-2110
(717) 783-8238
Fax: (717) 705-1949

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Animal Rights Activists Manipulate Zoning Orginances to Stop Kennels

PA Animal Rights Activists Manipulate
Zoning Ordinances To Stop Kennels

Lebanon County Judge Sets Sobering Precedent

American Sporting Dog Alliance

NEWMANSTOWN, PA – Animal rights groups in Pennsylvania have taken
their extremist agenda to the local level by infiltrating zoning
boards and by bringing in outsiders to lobby for unrealistic and
unworkable zoning requirements that can result in a de facto ban on
kennels in agricultural areas, an American Sporting Dog Alliance
investigation shows.

Lebanon County rural landowner Scott Good learned this lesson the
hard way.

Good, who lives on the land he grew up on in an agriculturally zoned
area, applied for a zoning permit to build a small kennel to raise
English bulldogs. He now owns three dogs of this breed as pets, but
wants to expand and make it a small part-time business venture that
would house about 30 dogs. He plans to sell puppies only on a retail
level, directly to customers who come to his kennel, and does not
want to sell to dealers or pet stores.

Kennels are permitted in agriculturally zoned areas of the county by
special exception. Good proposed building an ultra-modern kennel
structure that significantly exceeds all state requirements, and his
kennel would have offered both heated and air-conditioned comfort
for the dogs. His kennel would have been hidden from all neighbors
by hills and trees, and would have been a minimum of 400 feet from
the nearest property line.

Moreover, Good had contacted all of his neighbors and received their
support. Good also has a completely clean record of compliance with
local laws, and all laws relating to animals.

What he didn't count on was animal rights activists reading the
legal notice for the hearing and packing the room with 12-to-15
outsiders who voiced theoretical and fabricated concerns to the
Heidelberg Township Zoning Hearing Board. Good said none of these
activists know him or live nearby.

Good also didn't count on his local rural zoning board proving
itself to be, in effect, an animal rights group.

The zoning board had no choice but to approve the special exception,
as Good exceeded all legal requirements by a wide margin. However,
an 11-page finding signed by Board Chairman Henry Noll set a series
of conditions that made it impossible for Good to continue with his
planned project.

The decision clearly granted dogs the same legal protections as
people under the zoning code, and specifically alleged that zoning
laws are meant to protect the health and welfare of dogs.

Under state law, zoning laws are meant to protect the health and
welfare of people. Dogs are not mentioned in the law.

Using "dogs are little people" logic to justify their actions, the
zoning board imposed 28 conditions on Good's permit that totally
destroyed the feasibility of the project. They include stipulations

· Breeding is permitted only by artificial insemination.
Natural breeding is prohibited.

· Temperatures in the kennel must be maintained at between 68-
degrees and 75-degrees at all times. The homes of people with
children do not have to meet these kinds of exact temperature
requirements. Good planned to raise all puppies in his home, and
move them to the kennel only when they are old enough.

· Zoning officers will conduct unannounced inspections of the
kennel at least twice a year. This is in addition to state kennel
license inspections, which also are twice a year.

· Dogs cannot be exercised or allowed to use their outdoor
runs between the hours of 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. Good had planned a
facility that included indoor enclosures that met the minimum state
requirements, with attached outdoor runs that tripled state
requirements. In addition, he had planned to have two attached 20-
foot by 30-foot exercise areas.

· The ruling cut the allowable number of dogs in half, to 16,
and the size of the exercise areas would be reduced by a third.

· Only one dog would be permitted to live in each enclosure.
Good said he believes it is essential to provide dogs with
companionship, as they are social animals and he considers isolation

· All water from the kennel must be piped into holding tanks,
which must be pumped periodically and hauled away. Good had planned
to allow this water to flow onto his farmland, which is both
standard agricultural practice and is specifically approved on his
farm's nutrient management plan.

· Any dogs that die cannot be buried on the farm, including
beloved pets. Instead, they have to be hauled away as refuse by a
pre-approved carcass removal company, with written notice to the

· All dog stools must be hauled off of the property as
garbage, and written proof must be submitted to the township. Good
had planned to spread the manure on his property, which also is a
standard agricultural practice and is approved in his farm's
nutrient management plan.

· And other care requirements were mandated, such as hand
feeding only, daily exercise for the dogs and sanitation rules.
These kinds of requirements normally are considered to be the role
of state regulations, and Good planned to apply for a state kennel

"What they are telling you is that if you are breeding a dog,
nothing you do is good enough," Good said.

Good appealed the decision to Lebanon County Court and lost. Judge
Samuel Kline ruled in favor of the zoning board in late March (Judge
Kline did throw out two of the 28 stipulations, but allowed all of
the animal rights stipulations to remain in effect. The ruling
allowed the kennel permit to be transferred to a new owner if the
land is sold, and allowed Good to spread manure.)

Judge Kline's ruling is bad news for dog owners all across
Pennsylvania. It sets a legal precedent that can and will be used in
all of Pennsylvania's counties, towns, cities and townships. Kline
essentially ruled that a zoning board has the power to regulate
animal rights issues.

Good has appealed Judge Kline's ruling to the state Superior Court,
and the American Sporting Dog Alliance urges Pennsylvania dog owners
to assist Good with this appeal. We hope that dog owners will lend
Good their full support and assist him with the costs of an
expensive appeal. We also hope several attorneys will volunteer
their services to Good's legal defense efforts.

Good can be reached at

What happened to Good is not an isolated incident. We have had
dozens of confirmed and unconfirmed reports of similar zoning
actions in Pennsylvania over the past two years, especially in the
southeastern and south central parts of the state.

Good's situation has far-ranging importance for all dog and kennel
owners in Pennsylvania.

This year, the state Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement began to require
kennel license holders to affirm that they are in compliance with
all local ordinances and zoning codes. There have been reports that
the Bureau plans to contact local zoning boards to see if licensed
kennels are in compliance.

Moreover, recent draft regulatory and legislative proposals have
required kennel owners to comply with local zoning rules, and the
current proposed state kennel legislation gives the Bureau almost
unlimited power to create new regulations with minimal public
notification and participation.

We urge Pennsylvania dog owners to contact their legislators and ask
them to oppose this highly flawed legislation in general, and to
specifically oppose the provision for new regulations. We also urge
special vigilance to make sure that no zoning requirements are
included in kennel legislation or amended onto it. The draft
legislation, H.B. 2525, which is sponsored by Rep. James Casorio (D-
Westmoreland County) and supported by Gov. Ed Rendell, is now before
the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

The Heidelberg Township Zoning Hearing Board clearly overstepped its
bounds and legal mandate on the Good situation, and we also urge our
readers to contact the township supervisors to voice disapproval of
this action and of the influence of radical animal rights activists
on township zoning issues. The township's email is

In it's brief to Judge Kline, the township defined it's belief that
animal welfare issues are "a valid zoning purpose to protect the
health, safety and welfare…of the community."

None of the stipulations protect the people of the township from
anything. Almost all of them regulate only the dogs and the way they
are raised.

The ban on natural breeding is an example of this kind of twisted
logic. A rare sexually transmitted disease in dogs is brucellosis.
It can result in sterility and miscarriages in female animals.

This issue was raised by animal rights activists at the hearing, and
then was used by the zoning board to ban natural breeding.

However, normal veterinary practice in preventing the spread of this
rare disease in dogs is quite different. Instead, a simple blood
test can tell if a dog is a carrier of this disease. Many dog owners
routinely test all of their breeding animals, and the issue has no
impact on public health for humans.

Good wants the option to either breed naturally or artificially, as
sometimes bulldogs are difficult to breed naturally because of their
anatomy. However, he emphasizes that no public or veterinary health
risks are involved, and this has nothing to do with zoning issues.

Animal rights activists frequently use "scare tactics" such as the
brucellosis issue to hide their real agenda, which is to eliminate
the private breeding of dogs, and ultimately the private ownership
of dogs.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pet Sterilization Raise Health Concerns

Pet sterilization laws raise health concerns
Spayed or neutered dogs more at risk for cancers, other ills, research shows

By Kim Campbell Thornton
MSNBC contributor
updated 8:56 a.m. ET, Mon., May. 19, 2008

As legislators push for more mandatory spay and neuter laws for pets as young as 4 and 6 months in hopes of reducing the number of unwanted animals, critics are crying foul over research showing that such surgeries may raise certain health risks in dogs and therefore shouldn't be required.

Studies have shown that dogs that undergo spaying (removal of the ovaries and uterus) or neutering (removal of the testicles) are at increased risks for certain cancers, thyroid disorder, incontinence and some of the same behavior issues, such as aggression, that the surgeries are said to prevent.

Most of these problems aren't common to begin with, and the increased risks can depend on the type of dog and the age the surgery is performed. Still, the findings are leading some experts to say that, contrary to conventional wisdom, later spay/neuter surgery for dogs, and even vasectomies for male canines, may be better options for some animals, depending on such factors as breed and lifestyle.

The American Veterinary Medical Association has not taken a stand on spay/neuter legislation, but the American College of Theriogenologists, a group of veterinary reproduction specialists that advises the AVMA, is considering a position paper opposing the legislation at its meeting in St. Louis in August, says veterinarian John Hamil of Laguna Beach, Calif., a member of the group's task force that looked at the issue.

“What they’re saying is that because there have been problems associated with spay/neuter surgery, they think it’s improper for it to be mandated, much less at an early age," says Hamil. "They feel the decision should be made after discussion between the owner and veterinarian.”

Proponents of spay/neuter legislation say it's a way to reduce the numbers of animals in shelters and cut down on euthanasia rates. They also cite the health and behavior benefits of the procedures, such as prevention of mammary cancer, spraying and marking territory, and roaming.

Patty Khuly, a veterinarian in Miami, says a better solution to control the animal population than mandatory spay/neutering by a certain age is to offer the surgeries at lower costs so more pet owners can afford them and get them done according to a veterinarian's recommendations.

“I don’t believe that the fourth month is a reasonable window,” she says. “Most veterinarians would agree on that. I think low-cost spay/neuter, making it more available, is the solution, as opposed to mandating a time frame, especially when we don’t know the real impact of early spay/neuter.”

For more than a decade, the cities of San Mateo and Belmont in California have required sterilization of most cats and dogs more than 6 months old. But more attention is being paid to the pros and cons of pet sterilization now because of a recent spate of legislation that has been passed or introduced. Los Angeles, for instance, passed an ordinance requiring cats and dogs more than 4 months old to be neutered or spayed by October or risk fines up to $500. Palm Beach, Fla., and North Las Vegas also have approved such measures, and dozens more cities and counties, including Chicago and Dallas, are considering them. Rhode Island is the only state to have passed a mandatory spay/neuter law, and it applies just to cats.

No one-size-fits-all answer
The idea that pets should be spayed or neutered at approximately 6 months of age or earlier dates to studies in the 1960s and 1970s showing that spaying a female before her first estrus cycle almost eliminated mammary cancer — which is common in dogs — and that spayed and neutered dogs showed a decrease in behavior problems that can be fueled by sex hormones.

Spay/neuter surgery also has other benefits, including prevention of unwanted litters, no messy twice-yearly estrus cycles in females and a reduced rate of uterine infections later in life. Spayed and neutered dogs and cats also have longer lifespans.

Since the early studies were conducted, however, research has also shown downsides to the surgeries beyond acute side effects such as bleeding and inflammation.

Margaret V. Root Kustritz, a veterinary reproduction specialist at the University of Minnesota, reviewed 200 studies and found that while spay/neuter surgery has benefits, it is also linked to increases in the incidence of certain diseases and conditions such as bone cancer, heart tumors, hypothyroidism and canine cruciate ligament (CCL) injuries, as well as prostate cancer in male dogs and urinary incontinence in females. The extent of the risk can depend on the problem, as well as the size and sex of the dog, and the age the surgery is performed.

The risk of a type of cardiac tumor called hemangiosarcoma is five times higher in spayed female dogs than unspayed females, noted Kustritz. And neutered males have 2.4 times the risk of unneutered males. The risk was also higher for osteosarcoma (bone cancer): Dogs spayed or neutered before age 1 were up to two times as likely to develop the disease than those that hadn’t been altered.

Spaying and neutering may also heighten behavior problems such as aggression in some breeds and noise phobias in dogs altered at less than 5 months of age, she found.

While it's long been believed that spaying and neutering can improve a dog's behavior, one large study done at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine found that, with a few exceptions, spaying and neutering was associated with worse behavior, although those effects were often specific to certain breeds and depended on the age at which the dog was altered.

Cats seem to fare better, though. The main risk they face from sterilization is that they can become sedentary and obese, according to Kustritz's review of studies. As a result, vets say sterilizing cats before 6 months of age is appropriate.

Reproductive choice
Still, some oppose the mandatory spay/neuter surgery for both cats and dogs based on the grounds that pet owners may not be able to afford the surgery if reduced-cost programs aren't available. Plus, they argue, people should have a choice.

In San Mateo, Calif., Peninsula Humane Society president Ken White says such legislation provides a one-approach answer to a problem that is different from community to community.

White believes low-cost or free spay/neuter programs are a better way to reduce the number of unwanted animals, based on what’s worked in San Mateo. The numbers of animals requiring euthanasia dropped dramatically — a 93 percent reduction since 1970 — as the humane society added ways for people to take advantage of low-cost and no-cost spay/neuter programs.

Stephanie Shain, director of outreach for the Humane Society of the United States, says that in general the organization is in favor of spay/neuter laws but "we look at every piece of legislation individually. We generally recommend that those decisions are made with a veterinarian. If an individual pet owner feels they want to wait longer or their veterinarian feels they should wait longer, that's their choice."

Veterinarians should consider the age for spay/neuter surgery based on the individual animal rather than rely on the traditional 6-month standard, says Khuly.

For instance, giant dog breeds are more at risk for some types of cancer, and akitas, German shepherds, golden and Labrador retrievers, Newfoundlands, poodles and Saint Bernards are among the breeds at higher risk for CCL ruptures.

“It seems that the bigger the dog, the less desirable it is to spay them early,” says Hamil. In his practice, he recommends spaying or neutering large or giant-breed dogs later than small or medium-size dogs.

Some veterinarians suggest spaying females at 12 to 14 months of age, after the growth plates have closed and between estrus cycles. Hamil says that’s not unreasonable.

A kinder cut?
Vasectomy is an option, although a rather uncommon one, for dogs that participate in sports with their owners. The main advantage is better musculature, which can help with arthritis later in life, says Khuly. A vasectomy prevents procreation but keeps testosterone production.

“I think it makes a lot more sense to consider a vasectomy,” says Khuly. “Males with their testosterone really do have some advantages over those that don’t have their testosterone.”

While experts debate the timing of spay/neuter surgery, they generally agree that the benefits outweigh the risks.

“The disadvantages, although real, are not stark,” Hamil says. “It’s not like if you neuter them they’re going to get [bone cancer]. You would have a very slight increase in incidence, and it’s going to be breed-related ... [Whatever the increase is] that’s not a very big reason not to spay or neuter your dog.”

Kim Campbell Thornton is an award-winning author who has written many articles and more than a dozen books about dogs and cats. She belongs to the Dog Writers Association of America and is past president of the Cat Writers Association. She shares her home in California with three Cavalier King Charles spaniels and one African ringneck parakeet.

© 2008 MSNBC Interactive

Friday, May 16, 2008

Il- Chicago considers mandatory Spay/Neuter and Crimimal Backgroud Checks for Dog Breeders

Chicago Considers Mandatory Spay/Neuter and Criminal Background Checks for Dog Breeders

[Thursday, May 15, 2008]

Two Chicago Aldermen are sponsoring a new ordinance that would require all dogs to be spayed/neutered by the age of six months unless they qualify for an unneutered animal license. Chicago residents are asked to contact their representative on the Board of Aldermen to oppose this measure.

To qualify for an unneutered animal license the animal must meet one of the following qualifications:

*Certified by a veterinarian as having a valid medical reason for not being sterilized.
*Owners with a valid breeding permit.
*Dogs and cats of breeds approved by and registered with a registry or association recognized by the commission whose programs and practices are consistent with the humane treatment of animals, and the dogs or cats are kept for the purposes of showing or competing in legitimate shows or competitions hosted by or under the approval of recognized registry or association.
*Dogs that have earned or are actively being trained and are in the process of earning an agility, carting, herding, protection, rally, hunting, working or other title from a registry or association recognized by the commission whose programs and practices are consistent with the humane treatment of animals.
*Service dogs as defined by Illinois state law.
*Dogs owned by a guard dog service.
*Law enforcement and military dogs.

This new ordinance would also remove an existing exemption for residents who occasionally sell animals they bred and raised, meaning that anyone who breeds a litter would be deemed an "animal care facility" and must purchase a $330.00 license. In addition, to qualify for a breeding license a resident would need to submit to both a criminal background check and an inspection of their home. This is an unreasonable violation of the privacy and rights of responsible owners who are respected members of the Chicago community.

This unreasonable and unenforceable ordinance will have a profound negative impact not only upon responsible dog breeders in Chicago, but also upon all current and prospective dog owners.

The American Kennel Club opposes the concept of breeding permits, breeding bans, and the mandatory spay/neuter of purebred dogs. Instead, we support reasonable and enforceable laws that protect the welfare and health of purebred dogs and do not restrict the rights of responsible breeders and owners. Additionally, we strongly support and actively promote a wide range of programs to educate the public about responsible breeding practices and the responsible dog ownership.

The proposed ordinance will now be referred to a subcommittee of the Board of Aldermen. The AKC Government Relations staff will continue to provide updates as the legislation progresses.

PA- Proposed Dog law affects ALL dog owners- not just "puppy mills"

American Sporting Dog Alliance

(This is the first in a series of reports on newly introduced Pennsylvania
legislation that will affect every dog and kennel owner.)

HARRISBURG, PA “ Although the pomp and hoopla didn't quite come off as
advertised, three pieces of legislation were introduced Wednesday that will
affect every Pennsylvania dog and kennel owner:

H.B. 2525, sponsored by Rep. James Casorio (D-Westmoreland County) is the
centerpiece of Gov. Ed Rendell's plan to improve conditions in large commercial
breeding kennels. However, it also gives the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement
sweeping powers, cancels out public participation in developing regulations
for all kennels, and sets severe fines, penalties, illegal searches and
confiscation policies that will affect all kennels.

H.B. 2532, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Caltagirone (D- Berks County) amends the
ear cropping section of animal cruelty legislation to prohibit anyone except
a veterinarian from performing surgical procedures, but also sets ambiguous
restrictions on tail docking and subjects innocent dog owners to prosecution
for a serious criminal offense. This legislation would curtail rescue program
efforts for many dogs and make out of state residents guilty of a serious
crime for things that are legal in their home states if they pass through or
visit Pennsylvania for travel, dog shows and field trials.

H.B. 449, which was introduced more than a year ago, is being resurrected.
This legislation would make owners of dog seized for unproven animal cruelty
allegations pay for the cost of the care at animal shelters.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance published detailed analyses of all three
pieces of legislation over the past two weeks, and will continue to do so as
the legislative process unfolds. Copies of these prior reports are available
by request at

Wednesday's unveiling culminated more than a year of planning following the
derailment of "top-down" legislation last year. During this time, Bureau of
Dog Law Enforcement Deputy Director Jessie Smith met with many concerned
parties to gather input stemming from more than 16,000 written comments received
last year reportedly an all-time record for public comment on any kind of
legislation in Pennsylvania.

Ceremonies, press conferences, pro-legislation demonstrations, and debate
and testimony at a special meeting of the Dog Law Advisory Board were scheduled
for Wednesday. There was a modest amount of smoke at these events, but
little if any flame.

The pro-legislation rally on the Capitol steps was expected to draw hundreds
of people to protest conditions in "puppy mills", but only between 60 and
80 people attended to voice support. The number of actual participants could
not be determined, but the actual participants were outnumbered by
politicians, Bureau officials, reporters and television news crews. Even three owners of large commercial breeding kennels were observed on the fringes of the group.

There was little discussion at the Dog Law Advisory Board meeting, and most
members did not comment. Only about a dozen people testified at the meeting,
with comments running about three-to-one in opposition to the legislation.
Several opponents of the legislation pointed to failed new regulations as
reflecting either left-wing or extreme animal rights agendas.

The Casorio legislation has received strong support in the House of Representatives, with a reported 90 legislators signing on as co-sponsor; it takes 102 votes to assure passage in the House. He said he expects the legislation to be passed before the end of June.

"We're coming after you," Casorio warned commercial kennel owners in an
interview with an Allentown newspaper. "Today is the beginning of the end of
commercial kennels in Pennsylvania." The legislation also will come all of
Pennsylvania's 2,700 licensed kennels.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance supports many of the changes to improve
conditions in large commercial breeding kennels, but opposes the Casorio
legislation as a whole because it trashes constitutional protections, gives
virtually unlimited power to the Bureau, cuts out legislative approval for license
fee increases and eliminates necessary public review protections for future

The legislation provides truly frightening fines, penalties and confiscation
of dogs for even minor technical violations of regulations, and the planned
regulations are being kept hidden from public scrutiny. In addition, the
Casorio bill provides for unrestricted searches of homes, property and records,
and calls for kennel license revocations if working people are not available
for inspection at the Bureau's convenience.

Caltagirone's Animal Cruelty Act amendments would have a devastating impact
on shelter and rescue programs, because most animals come to these facilities
from unknown sources or without veterinary records. It would be illegal to
possess a dog with cropped ears, scars from a Caesarian section or indications
of surgical debarking in the absence of proof that the work was done by a
veterinarian. It also would be illegal to possess a dog with a docked tail, if
proof could not be provided that the work was done before a puppy was four
days old, or by a veterinarian.

In addition, many Pennsylvanians may have lost veterinary records, or move
here or buy a puppy from other states that do not have these laws. They would
be automatically guilty of a serious criminal offense simply by being in
possession of their dog, and would have no defense in court. Nonresidents of
Pennsylvania would not be able to legally bring a dog with cropped ears or a
docked tail to this state while traveling, to hunt, or to attend a field trial or
dog show without veterinary proof.

The American Sporting Dog Alliance has been working through our members to
show legislators the hidden problems with this legislation. Thus far, our
members report that two legislators have withdrawn their co-sponsorship from the
Caltagirone bill. We hope to be able to convince many more legislators to
withdraw their support from both bills.

We plan to record every vote taken on this legislation and make this
information available to the voters for the November general election. We have been
working hard to develop a database of Pennsylvania dog and kennel owners, and
now can reach more than 50,000 voters in this state.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Congress Curtails Flow of Foreign Dogs into US

From Patti Strand

May 14, 2008

Congress Curtails Flow of Foreign Dogs into US

Conferees from the US House and Senate have finally reached agreement on the current Farm Bill. One amendment that was accepted is of special importance to dog enthusiasts and professionals because it would put more stringent health and screening requirements in place for dogs and puppies imported into the US for resale, an issue NAIA has monitored and lobbied for many years. Although the bill may need further clarification down the road to achieve its purpose, this is a critically important first step in ensuring public health, the health of our pets and the vitality of the pet industry in America.

The bill is expected to pass both houses of Congress, and if President Bush vetoes it, as he has indicated he will due to provisions which he considers wasteful, the Senate and House are expected to attempt an override.

This provision has become necessary due to a disturbing dynamic at work that NAIA has been working to inform American pet consumers about. Ironically, campaigns to end pet overpopulation have been so successful that demand for puppies actually outstrips supply in the United States today. The result is that US pet suppliers, both commercial distributors and animal shelters alike, have turned to foreign sources to fill it. A staggering 300,000 dogs were brought into the US in 2006 alone, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and that total may not include the significant number of puppies smuggled in through the black market.

Imported dogs, legal or illegal, typically come from countries without the high level of veterinary medicine found in the US and they displace higher quality American-bred dogs and existing shelter dogs struggling to find homes. Without the new Farm Bill provision, or without enforcement, imported dogs will continue to be a public health threat, exposing Americans to zoonotic (animal-to-human) diseases such as rabies, and exposing the U.S. pet, livestock and wildlife populations to diseases and parasites that they would not contract otherwise.

NAIA favors the language recommended by the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians in their Animal Rabies Compendium, namely that: "The movement of dogs for purpose of adoption or sale from areas with dog-to-dog rabies transmission should be prohibited." We think the Farm Bill with its 6 month requirement for puppy imports is a major step in the right direction.

In the meantime, NAIA continues to support the Center for Disease Control's ongoing efforts to develop tougher import regulations, urging their adoption of standards that will protect Americans from sick foreign dogs. You may read NAIA's comment letter here. Enhanced CDC rules, combined with passage of the new Farm Bill, would finally bring our decade-long campaign to address puppy imports to fruition.

We urge you to go to our Farm Bill Action Alert and write your US Senator and Representative today asking them to support the Farm Bill when it comes to the floor.

Please also Make a Donation Today to help NAIA shut down puppy imports and protect healthy pets in America.

For more background and press coverage of this issue, see the following articles:

Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

PA- Proposed "puppy mill" regulations hits hobby breeders hard

Revised PA Bill Will Take Bite Out of Sporting Dog Breeders

(Columbus, OH) - A revised bill for proposed “puppy mill” regulations in Pennsylvania threatens to put sporting dog kennel owners and hobby breeders out of business if it is passed as currently written.

The new legislation, House Bill 2525, introduced today by Representative James E. Casorio Jr., D-Westmoreland, was crafted to address the issue of so-called “puppy mills,” abusive large-scale commercial dog breeding operations. In addition to regulating puppy mills, the measure sets up the non-elected officials of the state Agriculture Department as the unchecked, sole authority that controls puppy operations and all dog breeders, including smaller hunting dog kennels.

“We are concerned that future holders of these offices will not be accountable to the public or the legislature,” said Rob Sexton, vice president of government affairs for the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA).

House Bill 2525 permits the Agriculture Department, not the elected members of the legislature to:

Set kennel license fees;
Decide how kennels are to be operated;
Determine those acts that constitute a violation;
Set penalties for violations, which may include forfeiture of dogs without compensation and even jail time.

“The bill enables the career staff of a state agency to be lawmaker, judge, jury and executioner,” said Sexton. “The legislature has spelled out strict guidelines for other agencies, such as the Pennsylvania Game Commission. The Agriculture Department, when enforcing the dog law, should have the same guidance.”

Other concerns with the bill include:

Decreasing the amount of public input on changes to the dog law;
Allowing searches on residences not associated with the actual operation of a kennel;
Subjecting license holders to state penalties as a result of local ordinances.

In 2006, a coalition was formed by the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), and its Sporting Dog Defense Coalition (SDDC), along with the Masters of Foxhounds Association, Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs, and representatives of national, state, and local sporting dog kennels and associations. From the beginning, the coalition has wanted to be helpful in the effort to crack down on abusive “puppy mills” without impacting private kennels, including sporting kennels.

The USSA coalition contends that legislation can be written to effectively eliminate abuses without endangering the existence of legitimate sporting dog kennels.

What is needed, are clear standards and criteria so there can be an objective assessment as to whether the punishment handed down in a case is reasonably related to the severity of the crime. Anyone charged by the department could also incur the costs of the government housing their dogs during the resolution of the offenses and legal fees. These concerns should not be difficult to fix and still give the department the authority over abusive “puppy mills.”

“We’ve compromised with the department in the negotiations from the start,” said Sexton. “We’ve been clear all along that any legislation that enables the department to further regulate abusive puppy mills must not damage law abiding hobby breeders.”

The USSA coalition opposes the bill as written, but there are many aspects that might be amended to address its concerns without compromising the objectives of the legislation.

For a complete listing of issues and concerns with the bill and a listing of sportsmen’s opponents, go to MailScanner has detected a possible fraud attempt from "" claiming to be and click on Pennsylvania Dog Law Alert!

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance is a national association of sportsmen and sportsmen’s organizations that protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs. For more information about the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and its work, call (614) 888-4868 or visit its website