Letter Written to PA State Senator 8/12/16 Regarding puppy brokers in PA
We wrote the open letter below to address the scourge of puppy broker websites selling illegal kennel puppies in PA. Please read our article on the issue here This is very important to us, and the fact that this practice still continues is extremely frustrating. We are USDA licensed and are held accountable for the puppies in our care, as it should be. Unfortunately 90% of the kennels in Lancaster are not. And those puppies like Libre, are being sold on puppy broker websites across the state by the thousands. Every time a Libre happens it continues to shine a negative light on our state. As a dog owner and dog lover and a business in complete compliance we’re trying to force change. This is a complicated issue, but it deserves your time. Please read and hopefully we can get some legislation in place to combat what is referred to as the puppy mill loophole.
Letter sent to:
Senator Lloyd Smucker
cc: Hon. Brett R Miller via form
cc: Hon. Keith Greiner
cc: Hon. P. Michael via form
cc: Hon. Brian Cutler
Dear Senator Smucker,
My name is Michael Young and I’m writing you today in regards to the Pennsylvania Dog Laws.. My wife and myself took over our family business full time in 2008. Ridgewood Kennels II. We’ve been in business, breeding and placing puppies in PA and surrounding states since 1973. Having done this my entire life I’ve seen all of the good and the bad. We still to this day have the same partner kennels we started with 45 years ago. It’s a second and third generation business. Something we are very proud of. Our store carries a State license and each of our kennels are USDA Licensed, State Licensed, ACA five star rated, and we are the only pet placement service to offer a lifetime warranty against anything congenital or hereditary.
I for one applaud the latest set of regulations passed through into law. The very point of those regulations was to ensure the well being of the puppies in the care of those kennels. We all know the reputation Lancaster county has with the puppy mills, as a multiple dog owner and dog lover I think it’s great. But the original intent of those laws was not only to improve upon the deplorable conditions across the state, but also so we in Lancaster County could lead the country in dog law reform, and show perspective buyers and the country that we aren’t one big puppy mill. That our dogs are cared for and well treated. That our dogs don’t live in tiny wire cages stacked 3 high in some dark unheated barn. I believe those laws are tough, and are working when they’re being applied. For example, if your a pet store in PA, you can only procure your dogs from a USDA licensed breeder. Who is inspected, whose dogs are inspected for health, whose kennels are approved by a licensed engineer, who has an attending vet. A kennel with state mandated lighting requirements, heating, and cooling, all recorded on a computer for the state to monitor 24/7. Our Kennels are pristine and spotless, I would eat off the floor. A number of officials have tours our commercial facilities. Representative Gordon Denlinger being one of them.
90 to 95% of the states kennels do not carry a USDA license. They operate as illegals or scatter their dogs amongst family members to stay under the 26 dog limit per year so to avoid requiring licenses. Or they flat out don’t care and they just do it anyway. They can’t sell these puppies to pet stores in PA, they can only sell them as retail straight to the public. Which the puppy broker sites are more than happy to do for them. It’s no secret to the PA Dept. of Ag what’s going on. They don’t have the man power or time to fight it. So here we are, following the rule of law to the T, because it’s law and we believe in it, while the broker sites are selling puppies to PA and surrounding states by the thousands per year with no license, from kennels that carry no license. We all know most of these sales are cash sales, so they aren’t paying taxes, and the conditions with no oversight are often deplorable. While no one does anything about it. Every time a Libre happens, the public points it’s fingers at the Commercial Kennels. The ones that type of puppy COULDN’T have come from. Or to the pet store that is inspected and regulated. I can’t put into words the frustration I feel when I see a post about “don’t buy your puppy from a pet store because it’s a puppy mill” when all the illegal puppy mills from ten years ago are actually selling their dogs as a “private breeder” on one of the 15 different broker site. And the public doesn’t know any better. When 90% of the puppies being placed across PA are coming from unlicensed kennels the public perception is that the dog laws don’t work. They work, they just aren’t being applied. Google “Puppies for sale in PA”. The entire first page (13 results) are puppy brokers, that each have hundreds upon hundreds of puppies on each site. No License, no oversight, no regulation. Every time we hear of a kennel being caught or you see a filthy disgusting kennel on a ASPCA commercial, it’s an illegal who sells his puppies through brokers. It’s the virtual puppy mill loop hole. But the public doesn’t know that. They assume it’s commercial licensed kennels and pet stores. Why aren’t the brokers being required to carry a license? They should be held to the same standards as a pet store. They ARE a pet store. Just because they do it “virtually” doesn’t mean they don’t do it. Until those broker sites are held accountable to what they sell, meaning their puppies can only be USDA approved like anyone else who retails puppies in PA, this state will never shed it’s puppy mill legacy. The puppy mills are still in business because of broker sites and always will be because they have no one to answer to. I, as a dog lover and firm believer in the PA state dog laws and as a business owner trying to be responsible for our puppies, will continue to be forced in defending myself against public misconception. Lancaster County and Pennsylvania will still be looked at as the worst puppy mill area of the country when we could be a leader in puppy mill reform if control was taken of the private breeders, with no regulations, selling on broker sites with no regulations.
Please take a moment and read this article. It’s relevant and important.