Pennsylvania Dog Owners Urged to License Pets by January 1, 2024

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PENNSYLVANIA —Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding is reminding dog owners in the state that they are required to purchase a 2024 license for their pets from their county treasurer by January 1, 2024. According to Redding, these licenses are not only a legal obligation but also a means of protecting Pennsylvania’s dogs and ensuring their quick return if they are ever lost.

Redding emphasized the value of licensing, saying, “If you love your dog, license your dog. It’s simple. The best way to protect the dogs we love is with a license.” He continued to explain that even if a dog is microchipped, a visible license on their collar can prevent them from ending up in a shelter if they get lost.

In Pennsylvania, all dogs aged three months and older must be licensed. An annual license costs $8.70, while a lifetime license is $51.70. If the dog is spayed or neutered, the annual fee is reduced to $6.70, and the lifetime cost drops to $31.70. Lifetime licenses necessitate that the dog has a microchip or tattoo. Older adults and individuals with disabilities can avail discounts.

The funds collected from dog licenses support the work of the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement in safeguarding all dogs and communities in Pennsylvania. The Bureau’s responsibilities include inspecting boarding and breeding kennels, investigating and prosecuting illegal kennel operators, ensuring dogs in breeding operations receive necessary veterinary care, monitoring dangerous dogs, investigating dog bites, holding owners accountable, reuniting licensed lost dogs with their families, and helping unlicensed lost dogs find shelter.

Failure to license dogs can result in fines ranging from $50 to $300, plus court costs, a sum significantly higher than the cost of a license.

Dog owners can purchase licenses through Pennsylvania’s county treasurers.

On January 21, 2024, Act 18 of 2023, The Dog Law Modernization Act, will come into effect. This act amends the act of December 7, 1982, and includes provisions for licensing, kennels, offenses of dogs, dangerous dogs, injury to dogs, enforcement and penalties, sterilization of dogs and cats, and more. The new law seeks to further protect dogs in Pennsylvania by strengthening regulations and penalties related to their care and treatment.

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