Pashinski to introduce legislation to protect Pennsylvanians and their dogs

HARRISBURG, April 29 – State Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski, D-Luzerne, today announced his plan to introduce legislation that amends Pennsylvania’s Dog Law (Act 225 of 1982) to streamline the dog license structure to a single fee matrix and ensure the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement can perform its vital function to protect the health and safety of Pennsylvanians and their dogs.

“The Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement is essential to keeping both humans and our canine companions safe across Pennsylvania,” Pashinski said. “Despite taking on additional responsibilities over the last 20 years, their fees have not been increased since 1996 – jeopardizing the progress Pennsylvania has made to protect dogs in commercial breeding kennels and to help reunite stray dogs with their families. My proposal would make sure Pennsylvania is able to continue cracking down on illegal commercial kennels and bad actors while providing resources to protect the public from dangerous dogs.”

The bureau's Dog Law Restricted Account fund is expected to run out of money if nothing is done to generate revenue and help its efforts to streamline operations, with dog licenses making up around 87 percent of the revenue. To finance these improvements and to keep dogs and the public safe, Pashinski’s bill would increase the cost of a dog license and combine spayed/neutered and unaltered animals into one blanket category.

For example, the annual license fee for all dogs would increase from $6.50 to $10, and the lifetime license fee would go from $31.50 to $49. Residents who are at least 65 and those with disabilities fees will be $7 for a year and the lifetime license will be $33.

“These proposed license costs are comparable to – if not less than – what dog owners pay in parts of Pennsylvania that set their own rates,” Pashinski said. “For instance, the annual dog license fee in Scranton is $35, and Altoona charges $54 for a lifetime license. My plan would help standardize the licensing process statewide, while benefiting county treasurers who would receive more in revenue for their part in administering the licensing process.”

Pashinski’s proposal would also make sure that every dog in Pennsylvania has the opportunity to be licensed by requiring owners to license their dog at the point of sale or transfer. Currently, a dog can be transferred at 8 weeks but is not required to be licensed until 3 months. These commonsense efficiencies would offset the state Department of Agriculture’s costs while increasing the rate of licensure.

The Dog Law Restricted Account supports the work of the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement – the only government entity that has the authority to oversee commercial kennels. Last year, the bureau conducted more than 5,000 kennel inspections and issued about 3,000 citations. But beyond just kennel inspections, the bureau helps protect stray dogs and monitors dangerous dogs and responds to dog bites. There are about 520 dangerous dogs registered or pending registration in Pennsylvania. A report issued earlier this year ranked Pennsylvania 4th nationally for the number of dog bite insurance claims filed by homeowners.

Learn more about the bureau by visiting: www.agriculture.pa.gov/Animals/DogLaw.