HARRISBURG – Dog wardens, working with the Humane League of Lancaster County, shut down an illegal dog kennel Wednesday in Gordonville, Lancaster County, and removed 20 dogs from the facility.
The owner, Aaron Lapp, will not be permitted to obtain a kennel license in the future and will be required to keep fewer than 25 dogs per year. Any kennel housing more than 25 dogs per year is required to be licensed and inspected.
Wardens first became aware of the illegal kennel from a consumer tip and cited the kennel in August for operating without a license. Lapp pleaded guilty to those charges and was told he could not own or keep more than 25 dogs in a year.
A follow-up inspection of the kennel today showed a decline in sanitary conditions and dogs in the kennel were found to have matted fur. Because of the deteriorated conditions, wardens contacted the Humane League, which removed the dogs.
“Our state dog wardens are following up on any information about illegal kennels and they are making sure that those facilities come into compliance with the law or are shut down,” said Jessie Smith, Pennsylvania’s special deputy secretary of dog law enforcement. “Dog wardens work to ensure that kennels in Pennsylvania meet the state’s standards for cleanliness and upkeep to provide for the health and safety of the dogs they house.”
Smith said conditions in kennels can deteriorate quickly when not cleaned and cared for properly.
“Dog wardens, routinely, visit a kennel twice a year,” said Smith. “These inspections offer snapshots of the conditions of the kennel on that particular day, but conditions can be very different between inspections. A lack of care for even a day or two can lead to grossly unsanitary conditions.”
Smith said all dogs in commercial breeding kennels will be better protected now that Governor Edward G. Rendell has signed Act 119 of 2008 is law.
Act 119 addresses the health and welfare needs of the dogs housed in large commercial breeding kennels by requiring these operations to meet the new physical standards for cage size and flooring within one year, unless granted a temporary waiver by the Department of Agriculture.
Among other protections for dogs, the new law doubles the minimum floor space for dogs, eliminates wire flooring, and requires exercise that is at least as good as unfettered access to an exercise area twice the size of the primary enclosure. The previous law did not require that dogs ever be taken out of cages, much less be provided access to exercise areas. The wire flooring allowed under the previous law breaks down easily and destroys dogs’ feet over time.
The new law also requires veterinary examinations for each dog twice per year.
The requirements for other types of kennels, like sporting and hobby dog kennels, are virtually unchanged. These entities do not operate with the purpose of breeding large quantities of dogs to sell for profit.
In July, the state launched a toll-free hotline, 1-877-DOG-TIP1, to help anyone wishing to offer confidential tips about unsatisfactory or illegal kennels.