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By Michael Rubinkam for The Alternative Press

BELLEVILLE, Pa. — Daniel Peachey’s breeding dogs used to stand on wire flooring all day, cooped up in cages that provided no regular access to the outdoors.

No more. Peachey recently spent more than $20,000 on upgrades at his Stone Mountain Kennel, outside of State College, to meet stringent new health and safety standards that state officials say have gone a long way toward ending Pennsylvania’s reputation as the puppy mill capital of the East.

While breeders like Peachey have found themselves shelling out tens of thousands of dollars to comply with the strictest kennel law in the nation, scores of substandard commercial kennels have opted to close instead — freeing a minimum of 14,000 dogs from bleak surroundings where they typically received little attention or care.

The state Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement is wagging its tail about the results, declaring Friday in its annual report to the Legislature that Pennsylvania has become a “model state” for its oversight of commercial breeders.

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