Legislators in Pennsylvania are looking to crack down on illegal dog breeders. State Rep. Frank Farry (R-Middletown) has thrown his support behind House Bill 526.

HB 526 would simplify PA’s dog licensing and ensure funding for the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement. Its sister bill in the Senate is SB 232.

State Rep. Frank Farry accepts the 2018 Humane Award with his dog Bulmers. Credit: @PACapitaldog’s Instagram.

“If you don’t want to see more dogs left in the boiling heat without water,” said Farry, “or with severely damaged limbs and feet from walking in suspended cages, we need to pass HB 526 and SB 232.”

Nearly 90 percent of the BDLE’s budget comes from license fees, but the price hasn’t gone up in 25 years.

With no funding, the BDLE has been less effective in its mission to take out puppy mills and other abusive sellers. The understaffed bureau is “barely able to keep up with the minimum required inspections,” according to the PA Department of Agriculture.

Agriculture Deputy Secretary Fred Strathmeyer visited Willow Spring Kennels in Quakertown Thursday. Strathmeyer says more oversight means better conditions for the animals.

“The majority of licensed commercial kennels give their dogs exceptional care and they rely on publicly available kennel inspections to prove their good work and quality, because, unfortunately, not all kennels meet these high standards,” Strathmeyer said. “That is why commercial kennels are required to be inspected a minimum of twice a year. Dog warden inspections assure conditions are safe for the dogs and puppies that live there.

Farry says this bill would help bring the hammer down on breeders who see dogs as money makers and put these animals in terrible conditions.

“As Co-Chair of the House Animal Protection Caucus, a dog owner and animal lover, I support providing the resources that help eliminate animal cruelty and neglect from Pennsylvania.”

This is not Farry’s first time advocating for animals in the Commonwealth. The Middletown-Langhonre fire chief won the Humane Society’ Legislator of the Year Award in 2018 for his advocacy of Libre’s Law and other legislation protecting pets.