With less than 24 hours to go before its first meeting, Gov. Rendell today announced his appointments to the new Canine Health Board, charged with making key decisions on standards for flooring, lighting and ventilation for commercial breeding kennels in Pennsylvania.
Rendell named Drs. Jennifer Muller of Philadelphia, Karen Overall of Glen Mills and Bryan Langlois of Lancaster - all experts in conditions facing dogs living in commercial breeding kennels - to the nine-member, all veterinarian board.
Muller, who was named board chairman, is a small animal practitioner and a member of the Governor's Dog Law Advisory Board. Overall is a research associate in neurobiology at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. Langlois is veterinarian with the Humane League of Lancaster County, which treats hundreds of dogs seized from or surrendered by Pennsylvania puppy mills every year.
The leaders of the four legislative caucuses, the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association and the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical School also have appointments to the board. Members will serve two-year terms.
The other board appointments include:
Dr. Ramsi P. Chaudhari, medical director of the VCA Dunmore Animal Hospital, was named by Senate Minority leader Robert Mellow (D., Lackawanna)
Dr. John Simms, of Burnt Mill Veterinary Center in Shippensburg, was named by House Minority Leader Sam Smith (R., Jefferson)
Dr. Colin Harvey, a dentistry professor with The University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical School, was named by the university as its appointment.
Dr. Amy Hinton was named by the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association. Among Hinton's clients is Conodoguinet Kennel in Cumberland County, the largest dog broker in the state.
Dr. Larry R. Bason of Lock Haven, was named by House Majority Leader Bill DeWeese (D., Greene).
Senate President Pro Tempore Joe Scarnati (R., Jefferson) has not yet released the name of his appointment.
The board was created as a last minute compromise to get Rendell's dog law bill (HB 2525) through the Senate last month. Amendments to the 1982 dog law were drafted to improve conditions in hundreds of large breeding kennels. The new law - regarded as the strictest in the country - requires breeders who sell more than 60 dogs a year and those who sell dogs to pet stores to comply with a range of new standards, including the doubling of cage sizes and the elimination of cage stacking. Breeders must also provide dogs with exercise and semi-annual vet care.
The law also eliminates wire flooring - the source of injuries and discomfort for dogs forced to stand on it for years. The board will be tasked with coming up with alternative flooring that addresses drainage issues, but is also safe and humane.
The board is scheduled to meet for the first time tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the Department of Agriculture building in Harrisburg. A spokesman for the agency said no agenda would be made available until tomorrow.
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