Copy and pasted from Bushy Run Kennel Club's news letter with permission to cross post.
"Pennsylvania Draft Legislation Puts Clamps on Tail Docking
A proposed revision of the Pennsylvania Animal Cruelty law makes it illegal or anyone to own or possess a dog or puppy with a docked tail, unless the person can prove that the tail was docked by a licensed veterinarian or has filed an affidavit of proof with a county treasurer that the procedure was done before the law goes into effect This draft legislation will be presented to the Dog Law Advisory Board this week, prior to being published n The Pennsylvania Bulletin and submitted to the state Legislature.
The proposed law also would apply to nonresidents of Pennsylvania who are passing through the state, or who participate in field trials, dog shows, performance events or hunting here. Several sporting breeds routinely have their tails docked, following breed standards designed to prevent severe tail injuries while hunting, including Brittanys, German shorthaired pointers, cocker spaniels, various breeds of terriers and several others. Many other breeds that customarily have their tails docked are as diverse as Australian shepherds, Yorkshire terriers and rottweilers.
Animal cruelty statutes carry criminal penalties, and in Pennsylvania are enforced by Humane Society officers, county animal control officers and police officers. The proposed legislation also grants power to state dog wardens to enforce all animal cruelty statutes.
The American Sporting Dog Alliance (ASDA) is actively working to oppose this legislation. We need your support and membership right now to show Pennsylvania lawmakers that sporting dog owners are united in opposition to this arbitrary infringement of our rights and breed traditions. Please visit our website to learn about us and join our fight to protect your rights: http://www.americansportingdogalliance.org.
This legislation will be introduced to accompany a major 80-page-long revision of Pennsylvania=E2?Ts kennel laws. Both bills are supported by Gov=
Ed Rendell. ASDA will be issuing commentary about the tough new kennel legislation in the near future.
ASDA maintains that this legislation quite literally would create chaos and result in stiff fines for many thousands of law-abiding dog owners every year. While licensed kennel owners may be informed at some point, few pet owners would have a way of knowing about the law until a dog warden shows up at their door with a citation. Perhaps the most vulnerable people would be pet owners and hunters who own one or two dogs, but don=E2?Tt participate in events or organizations that would inform them of this law. We see the potential for millions of dollars in unfair and unjustified fines to be sucked out of the pockets of law-abiding private citizens to feed the greedy jaws of government.
If passed into law, this legislation also would have a devastating impact on field trials, performance testing and shows for many breeds. Nonresidents simply would not be able to comply with a requirement, which would require having a veterinary certificate or registering the dog with a county treasurer in Pennsylvania.
Most people who buy a dog or puppy have no way of knowing if a veterinarian has docked the tail, but simply have taken a breeder at his or her word when proof has not been required by law. They also may not be able to contact someone el-seE2?Ts veterinarian many months or years after the fact to obtain proof. Some people also may be trapped by this law if a veterinarian has retired, moved or died, or if the dog=E2?Ts breeder cannot be located. Even after being cited, these people would have no way to come into compliance in the future, and would be given the painful choice of either facing increasingly stiff penalties in the future or euthanizing their beloved petand companion. This legislation would turn thousands of law-abiding people into criminals, at the stroke of a pen!
In addition, some dogs lose part or all of their tails through accidents and injuries, and sometimes as newborn puppies. This can happen to a newborn puppy if its mother steps on it or accidentally hurts its tail cleaning it up after birth. Older dogs can get their tails caught in doors, or break them by accidentally cracking them against hard objects. Owners of these dogs would have no defense against being charged with animal cruelty.
The legislation also would seriously impact both Pennsylvania and out-of-state trainers and handlers, who would be virtually
prohibited from bringing a dog with a docked tail into the state for a field trial or to be trained. Many Pennsylvania residents
also would be effectively prohibited from buying a dog or puppy from a breeder of their choice from out of state,
even if the breeder was completely in compliance with the laws of his or her own state.
Even travelers passing through Pennsylvania with their pets would be subject to a criminal citation under this legislation. Some conscientious and experienced breeders dock the tails of puppies, after having been advised to do this and trained by their veterinarians. This practice would be prohibited by the legislation. Many veterinarians report that newly born puppies show no signs of pain or discomfort from docking procedures, and some even sleep through the procedure.
A particularly onerous aspect of this legislation is that it places the burden of proof on the person who owns a dog or is in possession of it, rather than upon the state. This flies in the face of the entire American system of jurisprudence, which is based on the presumption of innocence for anyone who is accused of violating any law. These vital protections to individual liberties are enshrined in the constitutions of the United States and most states. No crime of any kind is more serious or dangerous to American society than comprising the integrity of the Constitution and basic human rights.
The legislation also includes similar prohibitions against debarking dogs, performing cesarean sections to assist in birthing puppies, and cropping ears.
ASDA is in complete support of the prohibitions in the legislation against these procedures by anyone other than a licensed veterinarian. We feel that it is completely inappropriate for anyone except a licensed veterinarian to perform these procedures.
However, ASDA opposes placing the burden of proof on the dog owner, trainer or handler of the dog. We believe that legal liability should be limited to the person who owned the dog at the time the procedures were performed, and that the burden of proof
should lie with the state."