New dog law in Pennsylvania increases license fees for 1st time in decades

A bill to protect dogs and consumers in Pennsylvania was signed into law on Monday by Gov. Josh Shapiro.

Under the law, the price of dog licenses will increase for the first time in almost 30 years.

The sale of dog licenses, required in the commonwealth, helps uphold high standards of care in kennels, shuts down illegal kennels and keeps communities safer by holding dangerous dog owners responsible, according to the Department of Agriculture.

“Pennsylvanians have made it clear that they expect kennels, breeders, and shelters to be held to high standards,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said in a release. “They want their communities to be safe from stray and dangerous dogs. They want owners to be held responsible when their dog attacks, and they want unscrupulous breeders to be shut down. The Shapiro administration, working with both parties in the legislature, has made commonsense changes to the dog law to keep our communities, our families, and our dogs safe and healthy.”

There’s been a severe strain on funds to support the enforcement of Pennsylvania’s Dog Law because fees haven’t increased in decades, the Department of Agriculture said.

The fee for a yearly license will increase to $8.70 and $52.70 for a lifetime license on March 1. Between Dec. 1 and March 1, owners of dogs that are spayed and neutered can get the prior rates of $6.70 for an annual license and $31.70 for a lifetime license.

Fines for unlicensed dogs will range from $100 to $500, plus court costs.

The law also increases the license fees for kennels, which haven’t increased in nearly 60 years, and criminal penalties for other violations.

The bill, which goes into effect in 90 days, was sponsored by Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee Chair Sen. Elder Vogel and had bipartisan support.

Licenses can be purchased here.

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