Local Kennels to Close, Leaving Dogs Homeless

These dogs need loving homes

By Kelly Bayliss and Vince Lattanzio
|  Thursday, Dec 24, 2009  |  Updated 12:06 AM EDT
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Over 100 commercial kennels will be forced to close by month's end.

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Pa. Shelters Overrun as Kennels Close

A new law that's set to deliver better health and well being for animals in kennels is causing some to shut their doors, leaving shelters filled to the brim.
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At the end of the month, more than 100 commercial kennels will be forced to close leaving many dogs out in the cold.

While area shelters will take many of the dogs, space is extremely limited and some may need to be turned away.

That means a whole lot of pups are in need of homes.

”We had 21 one day and nine another day," humane police officer Janine Choplick of Pottstown, Pa.'s Hillside SPCA told the Morning Call. "I think every shelter is scrambling right now, knowing there are going to be closings."

The impending kennel shutdowns are a result of Act 119, the new dog law that was passed on Oct. 8, 2009 to improve conditions for canine.

The regulations apply mostly to kennels that breed dogs for dealers and pet stores demanding that each dog have more space, sees a vet twice a year and has access to an outdoor area where they can play, stretch and explore.

Not only will the new law improve the treatment of dogs, it also will help ensure that newly acquired pets are socialized, happy and healthy, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement.

The kennels can give the animals to rescue organizations, have the animals euthanized, sell or give them to other breeders or place them in homes on their own.

At the Bucks County SPCA, officials say they've taken in about 75 dogs -- most of which are already in new homes.

"Out of 75 dogs we've taken in to date, there were two that were unable to be safely placed," Bucks County SPCA's executive director Anne Irwin told NBCPhiladelphia.com.

Irwin, who also serves as the president of the Federated Humane Society of Pa., says most of the misplaced animals are the breeding dogs used by kennels. Many have been relatively healthy, but lack in social skills due to their little interaction with humans and the outside world.

Volunteers hand feed the dogs for the first few weeks to acclimate them with humans.

"I think that's it's been a winning situation that dogs have come out of kennels to rescue groups and for the first time of their lives really be dogs," Irwin said.

But what happens when rescue organizations fill up? Will the dogs just be kicked to the curb or put-down?

Policies vary by rescue organization, but Irwin says the Federated Humane Society has set up a network of rescue organizations both in Pa. and across the river in New Jersey to help take animals when others are full.

In fact, Irwin says news of an abundance of dogs has seemed to help the Bucks SPCA -- with more people stopping in to check out the new dogs. And while not everyone may adopt a pooch, others may opt to take home a cat or rabbit or guinea pig.

"People have been saying 'You are more than I thought you were,'" she said.

Still, loving, permanent homes are needed. To adopt a dog of your own call your local shelter.

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