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Above is a link to a story that many of you have already heard about- I've been travelling and just got back today, so I'm posting it late for those interested:


"With his puppy-mill-rescue dog by his side, Gov. Rendell made an impassioned plea to the legislature yesterday to pass a bill that aims to make sweeping improvements in the state's commercial kennels.

Sometime between July 24 and July 29, Elmer and Ammon Zimmerman of Kutztown shot their small-breed dogs - most of them poodles, cocker spaniels and shih tzus - and threw them in a compost pile after veterinary exams were ordered on 39 animals for fleas, according to officials with the state Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement.

House Bill 2525 would make it illegal for anyone but a veterinarian to euthanize a dog in a commercial kennel housing 60 or more dogs a year. First-time violators would face a maximum fine of $500 and up to 90 days in jail.

The bill also would increase cage sizes, ban wire cage flooring, eliminate cage-stacking, and require outdoor exercise areas and annual veterinary exams.

It stalled in the House Appropriations Committee last month, just before summer recess, after Republicans loaded it up with more than 100 amendments.

Rendell, who also yesterday announced plans to increase the dog-law enforcement staff by 13, including a veterinarian, had strong words for Republican House members, especially Rep. Art Hershey (R., Chester). Several of Hershey's 17 amendments would strip out major provisions of the bill, including cage size and access to water.

Hershey did not return a call seeking comment.

But Rep. Dan Moul (R., Adams), sponsor of an amendment to keep the shooting of dogs legal, said he believed shooting a dog was a humane way to destroy it.

"There are all kinds of ways to euthanize an animal. . . . A bullet to the head is instantaneous," he said.

After the news conference, Rendell paused to let Maggie, his adopted 3-year-old golden retriever, play with other dogs, and then governor and canine posed for pictures on a bench.

He said Maggie, who last year went from a rabbit hutch in Lancaster County to the governor's mansion, could have suffered the same fate as the Berks County dogs.

"She was destined to spend her life in a small cage and give birth to litter after litter until she was 8 or 9 and be discarded or shot like the dogs in Berks County," Rendell said.

"To think nothing could happen to the people who did that is a disgrace."
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