Animal Protection Caucus lauds passage of updates to PA’s Dog Law

Senate Bill 746 will modernize dog licensing, strengthen enforcement efforts

HARRISBURG, Oct. 19 – Members of the bipartisan, bicameral Animal Protection Caucus applauded the final passage of a bill that will help bolster Pennsylvania’s Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement (BDLE).

Both the House and Senate approved S.B. 746, legislation introduced by Sen. Elder Vogel (R-Beaver, Butler, Lawrence) that would enable the online sale of dog licenses in all counties, increase penalties for civil and criminal violations of Pennsylvania’s Dog Law, and reasonably increase dog license and kennel inspection fees.

“This legislation will finally stabilize the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, which for too long has been overburdened and underfunded. It modernizes the dog licensing process and provides more support for the overwhelmed agency, while ensuring those who break the law are properly punished.” said Rep. Melissa Shusterman (D-Chester), co-chair of the Animal Protection Caucus.

The Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement is charged with enforcing state laws on kennels, harboring dangerous dogs, and preventing dogs from running at large. The BDLE has been operating in a deficit for several years, preventing the agency from hiring a new warden and additional staff.

“As co-chair of the Animal Protection Caucus, I fully support these updates to Pennsylvania’s Dog Law that ensure funding for important protections and adequate staff to investigate animal cruelty cases,” said Sen. Katie Muth (D-Berks, Chester, Montgomery). “I appreciate the leadership of Sen. Vogel and Rep. Shusterman to get these long-overdue updates to enhance animal welfare and protection to the Governor’s desk.”

Under S.B. 746, owners will be asked to pay an annual $5 license fee for each neutered male dog or spayed female dog, or $7 for all other dogs. Lifetime license fees for neutered or spayed dogs will cost owners $30, or $50 for all other dogs. Pennsylvanians 65 and older will pay less for those licenses. Those who fail to license their dogs will be fined anywhere from $50 to $300 for each unlicensed dog.

“These enhancements to Pennsylvania’s Dog Law provide long overdue modernizations and enforcement mechanisms,” said Sen. Tracy Pennycuick (R-Berks, Montgomery), co-sponsor of the bill. “Additionally, this legislation provides the resources necessary for the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement to continue their vitally important work of protecting the animals of the Commonwealth. I want to thank Senator Vogel for his championing of Senate Bill 746 and my General Assembly colleagues for their support and expedited passage of this bill.”

“These updates will help provide much-needed revenue and support for our dog law enforcement officers. This bill has been a long time coming, but there’s still more work to be done,” said Rep. Ryan Bizzarro (D-Erie), co-chair of the Animal Protection Caucus and Chairman of the House Majority Policy Committee. “The Animal Protection Caucus will continue to work to strengthen our dog laws, provide price transparency for the sale of dogs, and pass Victoria’s Law.”

Senate Bill 746 now heads to Gov. Josh Shapiro’s desk to be signed into law.