After sharp criticism from animal rights advocates last year over lax enforcement of Pennsylvania's new regulations on kennels, the Corbett administration is touting its more recent record of regular inspections and frequent citations for illegal practices.

The state's 2008 dog law aimed to crack down on commercial dog kennels found to be filthy and cramped.
But members of a state board and the auditor general rebuked the Corbett administration in 2012 for underwhelming enforcement of the new rules.

A top official with the Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Dog Law Enforcement, says things are on the up and up now.

Part of the problem was that his staff had to learn how to enforce complicated new rules -- not just kennel flooring and cage size, but also lighting and air ventilation, said Mike Pechart.

"I went from having to have dog wardens to having folks who were experts in heating, ventilation, air conditioning, be able to measure air flow, do all those things," he said. "I can't say our staff were fully prepped to do all that."

Dog license sales are up by 14 percent, Pechart said, which is significant because licensing fees make up the biggest share of the office's budget.

That growing budget has allowed the office to fill vacant inspector positions and bring its veterinarian back to full-time employment status.