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Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement

Keeping Pennsylvania Growing means managing the millions of dogs living in the state. The Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement is responsible for ensuring the welfare of breeding dogs and puppies in commercial breeding kennels.  The Office also regulates activities pertaining to dogs that are classified as dangerous, and oversees annual licensure and rabies vaccinations for dogs.

                Attention Commercial Kennel  Owners/Operators:

  • In order to try to harmonize the interests of the mother and the puppies with the law, in 2010 the Department put in place regulations and a policy that balanced the competing interests and provided a solution which has thus far worked.
  • However, due to litigation pursued by the Animal Legal Defense Fund, the resolution of that conflict in place for six years was ruled on September 9, 2016 by the PA Commonwealth Court to have been impermissible.
  • The Commonwealth Court has ruled that the interests of the adult dog are paramount while nursing puppies and that whelping pens must be constructed identically to adult dog enclosures.
  • The Commonwealth Court has determined that only the General Assembly can address the conflict any further at this time.
  • The Department must require nursing mothers and their puppies be housed in enclosures identical to those that are required for all dogs over 12 weeks of age.
  • On October 3, 2016, all commercial kennels were notified by letter in crystal clear terms of this fact. Whelping pens must be treated and constructed as adult dog enclosures beginning with the 2017 kennel license year.

                 Local Health Departments.pdfCommercial Kennel Letter