In light of the recent puppy mill raid by the PSPCA in Cochranville, Pa., I would like other readers to know how widespread these facilities are in the state of Pennsylvania, particularly in Chester and Lancaster counties.

Pennsylvania has the notorious title of "The Puppy Mill Capital of the East."

Puppy mills are breeding facilities that produce purebred puppies in large numbers. They are inhumane, designed to maximize profits, and commonly disregard the physical, social, and emotional health of the dogs. Because of these conditions, puppy mill puppies are more likely to have physical and behavioral problems than dogs from good sources.

These puppies are sold over the internet or in pet stores to unsuspecting consumers, but thanks to the Oprah Winfrey show and Lisa Ling, far more consumers are aware of these breeding facilities.

We now know that we must be responsible in how we bring a pet into our homes (by adoption or finding a truly reputable breeder), but there is more that needs to be done.

Gov. Ed Rendell is the first governor who has been willing to take on the puppy mill lobbyists. He began in 2006 by cleaning up shop in [the] Agricultural committee, firing members who were turning their heads to these atrocities. Legislators have been working on several bills to crack down on puppy mills (see Unfortunately, Chester Country Representative Art Hershey, a major opponent to the bill, and a small number of other representatives have added 115 amendments to one of the bills, HB 2525, in order to derail this bill. They succeeded in delaying the vote on the bill until the House returns for the Fall session.

The PSPCA and dog warden's office will be in a much stronger position to crack down on puppy mills, if these dog laws are passed. If these bills do not get through the House in September, we will have to start over again in 2009 and thousands of animals will continue to suffer the cruelties that we have seen in Cochranville.

As citizens who care about the welfare of our animals, we need to contact our representatives now to tell them we want to see this bill passed (without amendments, please) in the September session.

It is time for the state of Pennsylvania to lose its reputation as the "Puppy Mill Capital of the East."

Danette Cathcart


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