Back in 2008 we applauded the Pennsylvania General Assembly - admittedly a rare occurrence - for passing a puppy mill law aimed at relieving animal cruelty perpetrated by substandard conditions in dog breeding factories.
The law became a model for such legislation around the country.
Now comes news that while Pennsylvania has an excellent law, it has a poor enforcement program.
According to the Associated Press, a Pennsylvania advisory board says thousands of breeding dogs are languishing because the state Dog Law Enforcement Office has not enforced regulations meant to eliminate substandard commercial kennels known as puppy mills.
A panel of the Dog Law Advisory Board says its investigation found disturbingly lax enforcement of a 2008 law that had been hailed as a nationwide model. It says scores of kennels have been skirting tough new rules on ventilation, humidity, lighting, flooring and ammonia levels and that many of the protections contained in the law "largely exist only on paper."
The law came about as the result of reports of dogs living in unhealthy, unsafe and generally disgusting environments for the sole purpose of procreation. The harvest, often sickly pups, were then sold as thoroughbred canines to unsuspecting owners.
According to the report, inspections are down and no citations or license revocations have been issued since 2010.
Can it be that puppy mills have been eradicated, that this shadowy business has been cleaned up? We find that hard to believe.
A law is only as good as the apparatus in place to enforce it. This is a good law, and the state needs to fix the problem.