Lancaster Tourism Community Supports PA Dog Law Reform

On behalf of Lancaster’s tourism industry, we were proud to join Bill Smith of Main Line Animal Rescue and others as a presenter at the HSUS Dog Rally held earlier this week on the steps of Pennsylvania’s Capitol building in Harrisburg, to show our support for HB 2525, which would overhaul the state’s outdated dog law.

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Bill is profiled in the September 29 edition of People magazine and was featured earlier this year on The Oprah Winfrey Show.  We applaud his tireless efforts to rescue dogs being treated inhumanely in some large-scale commercial breeding kennels throughout the state.  The PA Dutch CVB supports HB 2525 because it would significantly improve the standards of care at kennels and, most important, it’s quite simply the right thing to do!

We encourage you to contact members of the Pennsylvania Senate and voice your support for HB 2525.

Remarks in Support of HB 2525, to Improve Pennsylvania’s Dog Law, presented on the Capitol Grounds, Harrisburg, September 16, 2008, by PA Dutch CVB Vice President Janet Wall

Good afternoon, and thanks to all of you for being here, to make your voice heard on this very important issue.

On behalf of the Lancaster County tourism community, I am pleased and honored to have been invited by the Humane Society to participate in today’s rally, and to stand with them and with you in support of this needed legislation that addresses the inhumane treatment of dogs at some large-scale breeding kennels located in Lancaster County and around the state.

The Pennsylvania Dutch Convention & Visitors Bureau and our member tourism properties throughout Lancaster County agree that what’s happening in these situations is atrocious, and that change can’t happen fast enough.

All of us involved in this campaign agree that the most crucial and direct ways of resolving this issue are through aggressive enforcement of current and prospective laws, and through education of the consumer. To that end, Lancaster’s tourism industry has taken several concrete steps of its own, and supported those of others, to ensure that these conditions are swiftly brought to a halt.

First off, Pennsylvania’s Dog Law is in dire need of an overhaul to adequately regulate commercial dog-breeding facilities, while ensuring that these changes are fair and reasonable for all kennel owners. We applaud Governor Rendell’s work in recent years to resolve this problem, and his pledge and subsequent actions to further step up this campaign.

To maintain the focus on this issue, our organization and members have personally urged the General Assembly to pass HB 2525, and have been encouraging concerned citizens to contact the Governor’s office and state legislators directly in this regard.

The reasons for supporting this legislation are simple and straightforward:

The other direct way to address this cruelty is to eliminate demand. It’s imperative that consumers make informed decisions when adding a dog to their family, asking the right questions, including where a puppy has come from. And this is where the Humane Society provides us all with some tremendous assistance. Their website is a great starting point for making an educated choice, from information on Adopting from an Animal Shelter to Choosing the Right Dog.

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.

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.

Abusive breeders should be put out of business immediately and permanently. There are no two ways about it. The PA Dutch CVB and its members remain committed to working toward solutions that result in the humane treatment of dogs bred for sale statewide, and we welcome all voices in this effort.

Today, as we stand before the General Assembly, our voices must rise up as one – pass HB 2525 now!

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