Office regulating Pa. dog kennels gets new director

Posted: January 23, 2014

HARRISBURG - The embattled office charged with enforcing laws governing Pennsylvania's more than 2,100 dog kennels has its first permanent director since 2012.

Agriculture Secretary George Greig on Tuesday named Kristen Donmoyer, a veteran state dog warden and supervisor, as the new director of the dog law enforcement office.

"Kristen brings the law enforcement experience and knowledge of the state's dog laws necessary to protect dogs across the state," Greig said.

Donmoyer's appointment comes nearly 18 months after Lynn Diehl was forced out for failing to conduct inspections of the state's largest commercial breeding kennels.

An audit released last year by the Auditor General's Office found that in 2011-12, scores of kennels went for more than year without inspection just as the stricter law increasing standards of care was to take effect. Auditors also found the office was doing a poor job managing the account that pays for equipment and wardens' salaries, and nearly went insolvent.

Mike Pechart, a special deputy secretary in the Department of Agriculture, had been serving as acting director of the office since Diehl's ouster.

Donmoyer was hired in 2007 among a team of inspectors brought in as part of Gov. Ed Rendell's crackdown on puppy mills. She will now oversee 65 employees, including wardens, a veterinarian, and other staff.

Auditor General Eugene DePasquale called her appointment a move in the right direction for the agency. "She has the right type of background for the position," he said. "They are taking professional management seriously, and they are putting in reforms."

Pennsylvania once had more than 300 commercial kennels - those selling more than 60 dogs a year - and was known as the puppy mill capital of the East. Today there are only 59 such licensed facilities, but the number of illegal kennels operating in the state continues to be a problem, Pechart said.

Under Donmoyer's tenure as director of enforcement last year, the number of citations increased by roughly 30 percent, according to agency statistics. The office cited 44 illegal kennels, revoked four licenses, and refused to grant licenses to five kennels.



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