There will be no hog flooring in Pennsylvania's commercial dog breeding kennels.
After fierce letter-writing campaigns, endless debate and even a vigil at Gov. Rendell's East Falls house, the board responsible for conditions in commercial kennels voted to reject so-called "hog flooring."
The Canine Health Board yesterday voted unanimously against allowing Tenderfoot woven wire flooring and rejected several types of plastic flooring with paw-and-claw-grabbing holes in them.
Under the 2008 dog law, only solid or slatted flooring was deemed acceptable in commercial kennels (defined as those operations selling or transferring more than 60 dogs a year or selling a single dog to a pet store.) But the law left open the ability of the newly-constituted Canine Health Board to approve alternative floors.
At a meeting in Harrisburg yesterday the board heard arguments from breeders who argued for different types of flooring, including one made to hold potted plants in nurseries.
Animal advocate Bill Smith, of Main Line Animal Rescue in Chester Springs, and others argued vigorously against Tenderfoot and other types of flooring with holes because of the wealth of evidence the damage it can do to dogs' paws. Smith said there have been cases where breeders even amputated a dog's leg because it was stuck in flooring hole.
Dog Law Advisory Board members Tom Hickey and Marsha Perelman, both from the Philadelphia area, spoke in opposition to the flooring.
Perelman said a representative for Tenderfoot told her there was no difference between the company's hog flooring and its dog flooring except the color. Some animal behavior experts have criticized Tenderfoot for not providing the hard surface dogs need to feel secure, although it is used in research facilities.
Smith advocated a flooring known as Kennel Deck that he believed was safe because it is mostly solid plastic with channels for urine disposal. He also said it was more affordable than Tenderfoot.
It's not clear exactly where Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association stands on Tenderfoot since they never made their opinion public and were not present yesterday. During the dog law debate the PVMA campaigned against solid flooring saying it was not sanitary. Animal welfare advocates countered that virtually all animal shelters keep their dogs on solid flooring, so those engaged in for-profit dog breeding should be able to clean their kennels on a daily basis as non-profit shelters do.
The PVMA did however name a board member fired by the governor for not making clear his position on hog flooring to their seat on the board when it became vacant several weeks ago.