HARRISBURG - New standards governing cage size, exercise, and veterinary care go into effect today for the roughly 300 licensed commercial dog kennels in Pennsylvania.

Under a law signed a year ago by Gov. Rendell, kennel operators who keep more than 59 dogs a year, or sell one or more dogs to a pet store, must house dogs in larger cages than before, and provide daily exercise and regular veterinary care for breeding dogs. The new law also forbids cage stacking and wire flooring in cages, and imposes kennel temperature requirements.

State dog wardens will be deployed starting today to inspect commercial kennels to ensure compliance, according to the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement. Those found in violation might receive citations or lose their licenses.

Jessie Smith, special deputy secretary of the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, said the stricter standards - widely regarded as the toughest in the nation - will significantly improve conditions for thousands of dogs living in kennels. - Amy Worden