Lucy Schreiber is a 5-year-old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Her dad, state Rep. Kevin Schreiber, D-York City, jokes that's "English for 'prissy.'"
She doesn't bring him the evening newspaper. She wants him to bring it to her, he said.
But Lucy wasn't always so confident. Days after Schreiber and his wife brought the toy dog home from a pet store, the couple's veterinarian said the 5-month old, 2.9-pound dog was malnourished and showing signs of having been mistreated, Schreiber said.
The dog is healthy now, and Schreiber said he doesn't regret the vet bills. But he and his wife would have liked to have known at the time of purchase what they discovered after they brought Lucy home: She had been bred by an out-of-state breeder with a sketchy reputation, he said.
But Schreiber said at a press conference Thursday that the first piece of legislation he'll introduce as a state representative will address that information gap.
He'll introduce the legislation at the start of the new session, and announced the proposal with supporters and their pets in the lobby of the Yorktowne Hotel.
The bill will require pet stores to display, on the cages of dogs for sale, information such as the breed, age, date of birth, the state in which the breeder of the dog is located, breeder licensing information, and any documentation of inoculations and medical treatments.
Schreiber said the documentation in the bill, which is "a consumer rights bill and an animal rights bill" amounts to a Carfax report for dogs.
Prior to 2008, Pennsylvania was considered among the worst states for integrity of dog breeders, said Sarah Speed, Pennsylvania State Director of the Humane Society of the United States.
That year, Speed told the crowd at the Yorktowne, the Legislature raised standards for dogs in breeding facilities and vowed to provide healthier and better socialized dogs to dog-buyers.
But she said a law is only as good as its enforcement.
State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale, Schreiber's predecessor in the 95th District, recently released an audit he said showed the Department of Agriculture's "intentional lack of enforcement" of the state's dog law and the commercial kennel canine health regulations from 2008 through 2012.
Schreiber said his legislation still will be necessary if the enforcement improves because many pet shops are selling dogs from breeding facilities outside of Pennsylvania.
Schreiber's bill hasn't been assigned a number yet, but more than 23 cosponsors have signed onto it since he began shopping it 10 days ago, he said.
The "common sense" bill has bipartisan support, he said, with 10 Republicans among those who've agreed to co-sponsor. Those Republicans include two Yorkers, Rep. Keith Gillespie, R-Springettsbury Township and Rep. Ron Miller, R-Jacobus.
Speed said she'd like to see Schreiber's legislation move with Senate Bill 82, the so-called "Dog Lemon Law" in the next session. That bill, which provides for consumer protections for people who purchase dogs, hasn't come up for a full vote in the Senate.
Pet shop owners who are obeying the law shouldn't have objections to Schreiber's proposal, said Missy Wurzbach, whose family owns Getty's Pet Shop at 2908 E. Market St. in Springettsbury Township.
She said she has heard stories of consumers buying unhealthy dogs from other stores, but Getty's doesn't buy from out-of-state breeders or puppy mills.
She said the store gets most of its dogs from "people who have dogs and had a litter."
The store doesn't currently post all of the information Schreiber's bill would require, but all of it is available to purchasers upon request, she said. She said she wouldn't object to the bill.
"Unless you're doing something illegally, it shouldn't really matter," she said.