The key to resolving this issue is aggressive enforcement of current and prospective laws, and education of the consumer. To that end, Lancaster's tourism industry has taken several concrete steps of its own, and supported those of others.
In the fall of 2008, our organization and members urged the Pennsylvania General Assembly to pass House Bill 2525 - an overhaul of Pennsylvania's Dog Law - and took part in the HSUS/ASPCA Dog Rally in Harrisburg in support of the bill. We were very pleased that its subsequent passage will now allow the state to adequately regulate commercial dog-breeding facilities, while ensuring that these changes are fair and reasonable for all kennel owners.
Moreover, the new measure has been characterized as "one of the best laws in the country" by Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania state director for the Humane Society of the U.S., and the Philadelphia Inquirer has noted that it's "regarded as the strictest in the country."
Overall, we applaud Governor Rendell's work in recent years to resolve this problem, and his pledge to further step up this campaign. To maintain the focus on this issue, we have been directing concerned citizens to contact the Governor's office and members of the General Assembly as well.
We also continue to urge consumers to make an informed decision when purchasing a dog, as the most direct way to address this cruelty is to eliminate demand. Our message is that it's important to ask questions and know where a puppy has come from. Thus, we've been directing individuals to the U.S. Humane Society as a great starting point for making an educated choice.
We've been proactively sharing this message with consumers via links and statements on our website, as well as through responses to individual inquiries. We have also given this information to our members, so that they can provide the same advice to those who contact properties directly.
We further ask that people remember there are so many dogs already waiting for homes, and encourage everyone to consider getting their first or next dog from a local humane group or other rescue organization.
Abusive breeders should be put out of business immediately and permanently. There are no two ways about it. The Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau and its members remain committed to working toward solutions that result in the humane treatment of dogs bred for sale in Lancaster County, and we welcome your voice in this effort.