Animal protection groups plan to gather for a candlelight vigil this Sunday in Philadelphia to demand enforcement of a law requiring solid flooring in puppy mill cages.
Demonstration organizer Bill Smith, founder of Main Line Animal Rescue (MLAR), said the “dog law,” supported by Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and passed in 2008 bans the dangerous wire strand flooring commonly used in commercial dog breeding kennels.
Instead, the law requires safer solid or slatted flooring. Smith said the wire strand flooring is painful for the dogs’ sensitive paw pads and causes numerous injuries that his group and others often end up treating.
“The majority of the dogs that we pull from Lancaster County and other puppy mills in Pennsylvania have splayed feet,” Smith told Animal Policy Examiner in a telephone interview Friday. “And some of them are missing feet and paws because the dogs below them [in stacked cages] pulled them and bit them. It’s just very unsafe. Dogs become trapped in the wire.”
Breeders prefer the wire flooring, similar to chicken wire, because it allows urine and feces to drop out of the cages, meaning less cleanup effort.
Breeders’ groups asked for and won a one-year reprieve from the law’s enforcement, until October 2009, to give them time to comply. A further reprieve was granted to allow a nine-member panel of veterinarians, the Canine Health Board, to reconsider flooring options and to hear sales presentations from flooring manufacturers, said Smith.
By virtue of political affiliation, Gov. Rendell “controls the votes of five of the nine board members,” Smith said. “And that’s what we want him to do. We want him to step up and call his five vets. Two of them are incredible anyway, and alerted me to what was happening. We need him to contact all his vets [on the board] and say ‘listen, no more waivers, no more alternatives to solid or slatted flooring.’”
One of the types of flooring the Canine Health Board members are considering “is designed for hogs,” said Smith. “The bottom of a hog’s foot as you know is very different from the bottom of a dog’s foot. Dogs have very sensitive pads. Hogs basically carry the surfaces with them. They have hooves.”
While the health board mulls over flooring types and other provisions of the law, including a high-end temperature cap of 85 degrees for the caged dogs, Smith said the thousands of dogs held in Pennsylvania’s hundreds of commercial breeding kennels will continue to suffer.
“This is a no-brainer,” said Smith. “I mean, this is just ridiculous. This is something that the people of Pennsylvania didn’t want two years ago. I don’t know why we’re still revisiting it at this point.”
For more info about the candlelight vigil and about MLAR’s many adoptable dogs rescued from puppy mills:
Main Line Animal Rescue
Adrian awaits a loving home…
(Info from Main Line Animal Rescue)
ADRIAN (photo above)
Manchester terrier/Chihuahua mix
3 years old
Think of the film Rocky. Think of how much Rocky loved Adrian. Think of how you could be Rocky.
You don’t have to run up the art museum steps. You just have to love her. She wants nothing more than to hear someone call out “ADRIAN!”
Adrian does not want to help you train for rounds against Apollo Creed. She is most comfortable hopping into your arms and being cuddled.
She has been waiting for such a long time for a loving adult home with an experienced pet owner.
She had a million to one shot of being freed from a puppy mill. It happened. Now her chances for having a home of her own are high thanks to MLAR. Think Rocky. Be Adrian’s hero.
INTERESTED IN MORE NEWS AND INFO ABOUT ANIMALS? Check out AnimalBeat.org.
Katerina Lorenzatos Makris (a.k.a. Kathryn Makris). author of 18 books for major publishers and hundreds of articles, holds a B.A. in Environmental Science Studies and a lifelong interest in animal issues. She is a co-founder of AnimalBeat.org.
Among her books are Your Adopted Dog: Everything You Need to Know about Rescuing and Caring for a Best Friend in Need (The Lyons Press), coauthored with Shelley Frost, and The Eco-Kids, a series of novels for tweens (Avon Books).
Her story Small Change placed as a finalist in The Bark magazine’s short fiction contest and will be published this year.
She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.