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Yesterday, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell signed House Bill 39 into law.  Effective immediately, this new law now:

  • Limits the legal practices of ear cropping, debarking, and surgical births to those procedures performed by a veterinarian.
  • Permits owners to perform tail docking and dewclaw removal procedures only on dogs less than five days of age; otherwise, these procedures must be performed by a veterinarian.
  • Requires a person who procures these procedures to keep a record of the name of the attending veterinarian, the date of the procedure, and the location where the procedure was performed.  The record must be kept with the dog as long as any incision resulting from a procedure is unhealed.  Anyone in possession of a dog with an unhealed incision resulting from these procedures will be required to prove (with the required record) that the procedure was legally performed.

The bill also expands the law banning animal fighting in Pennsylvania.  Beginning October 2009, people who “steal or acquire in any manner any animal for animal fighting” are subject to a felony charge under Pennsylvania’s animal fighting statute. 

The American Kennel Club congratulates the Pennsylvania Federation of Dog Clubs on ensuring that major, positive changes were made to the bill since its introduction, including successfully removing a previous requirement that anyone who showed or exhibited a dog in Pennsylvania with cropped ears had to carry proof that the procedure was performed by a veterinarian.  We also commend the many responsible purebred dog breeders, fanciers, and enthusiasts who expressed their concerns with earlier versions of this bill. 

For more information, contact AKC’s Government Relations Department at (919) 816-3720, or e-mail

Yesterday, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell signed House Bill 39 into law.  Effective…