The PA governor's race: Do pets have a place on platform?

Now that the 2010 gubernatorial primary is history, just where do the Democratic and Republican candidates stand on animal welfare issues?

We don't know.

Either Democrat Allegheny County executive Dan Onorato or Republican Attorney General Tom Corbett will take over an office that has pawprints all over it. Gov. Rendell, of course, championed the 2008 dog law that improved conditions in commercial kennels.

But neither of the candidates to fill his office has made known their pet platform.

Only Auditor General Jack Wagner, who ran a distant second in the Democratic gubernatorial race, was a vocal supporter for animals. Wagner was endorsed by the League of Humane Voters for his stance opposing 24/7 dog-chaining, pigeon shoots and gas chambers at shelters. He also vowed to continue the effort launched by Gov. Rendell to improve conditions in puppy mills.

During his tenure as Attorney General, Corbett has filed suits against several problematic puppy mill operators, most notably Joyce Stoltzfus who ran CC Pets (formerly Puppy Love). Corbett's prosecution of Stoltzfus - who had over three decades of run-ins with state and federal authorities and in 2005 was found to have fraudulently sold sick animals to 271 customers  - eventually led to a $150,000 fine and the kennel's closure by the Department of Agriculture.

But so far in the race for governor, Corbett has been silent on animal issues.

Both leading Democratic candidates for lieutenant governor have voiced support for animal welfare issues. Late tonight, state House Rep. Scott Conklin of Centre County (who was a vocal supporter of the new dog law and who oppose dog chaining) held a slim lead over former Philadelphia City Controller Jonathan Saidel who also opposes chaining. Saidel said he would work to make Pennsylvania a "no kill" state and establish a holding period for cats in shelters before they are euthanized.

Philly Dawg has heard nothing about where Republican lieutenant governor candidate and Bucks County commissioner Jim Cawley stands on animal welfare issues.