Stephanie Hastings is on a mission. 

“It takes situations that bring awareness to invoke change,” said Hastings. 

She wants to strengthen animal cruelty laws in Pennsylvania after she says her dog was abused at a local boarding kennel. 

“He just completely withdrew and isolated, and it was like he looked broken when he came back,” said Hastings. 

She took her dog Becker to a veterinarian who concluded the injuries were related to a shock collar or shocking incident. 

“He had marks on his neck that looked like burn marks of what I initially thought were bite marks, but it turned out to be shock collar burns on his neck and he didn’t go in with them,” said Hastings. 

Hastings filed complaints with multiple state agencies and animal organizations, but she found using a shock collar in Pennsylvania is not illegal. 

“They do not regulate the business practices of kennels, including equipment used such as shock collars,” said Hastings. 

According to the Department of Agriculture, there are no restrictions on using shock collars at commercial kennels. The collars are often used by pet owners to train or command dogs. 

“I don’t believe in them. I don’t use them. I don’t even use a prong collar,” said Hastings. 

Hastings says she wants to see stricter laws regarding shock collars and more laws protecting pets from abuse. 

“The whole experience has been incredibly frustrating. It’s been eye-opening. I’ve always known that animals aren’t viewed the same as humans, which I can’t personally understand,” said Hastings. 

The kennel says shock collars are against its policies but would not say if it uses them. The kennel was inspected after Hasting’s complaint and no violations were found. 

Before boarding your pet, you can ask a kennel about its policy and procedures regarding restraint.