The cost of a dog license in Pennsylvania has stayed the same since 1996, and the state Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement has lost money as a result, say members of the Pennsylvania General Assembly who tabled license increase bills.
Senate Senator Judy Schwank, a Democrat from Ruscombmanor Township, introduced Senate Law 232 in February. State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski, a Democrat from Lucerne County, introduced a mirror law in House Bill 526.
Schwank and Pashinski lead the agricultural committees in their respective branches of the General Assembly.
Both bills are still on the Agriculture and Rural Affairs committees.
“We are literally running out of resources we need to protect dogs and people through the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement,” said Schwank.
The bills would require dogs 8 weeks and older to be admitted instead of 3 months and older as the current law provides.
The annual license fee would increase from the current $ 6.50 for a spayed or neutered dog to $ 10.
Lifetime licenses for spayed dogs with permanent identification such as a microchip or tattoo would increase from $ 31.50 to $ 49.
The suggested fees for non-neutered dogs are $ 10 per year or $ 49 for life. Reduced fees for the elderly and the disabled would continue.
Dollars and cents
“While the dog license fee has remained the same, staff costs for the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement have nearly doubled, up nearly 88%,” said a statement released in May by the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, which oversees the office.
“This legislation would simplify the way dogs are admitted by linking the process to points of sale or transfer and protecting the health and safety of dogs and their owners,” said Frank Farry, Republican MP for Bucks County. in a statement. “We have heard too many horror stories from dogs being abused in breeding situations or breeders selling dozens of sick dogs with little to no remedy.”
Farry is co-chair of the Legislature’s Animal Welfare Committee.
In addition to kennel inspections, the office manages the state’s Dangerous Dog Registry, reimburses farmers for dog-damaged livestock, welcomes stray dogs, and brings lost dogs back together through licensing information, according to the Department of Agriculture.
“Now that we have to take $ 1.5 million from the existing agricultural budget to fund the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, taxpayers are now paying for it,” Schwank said. “This is important to be aware of. There are other Ag programs that will not happen as a result if we have to enforce these laws. We have to keep people and pets safe.”
The local angle
Berks County’s largest animal shelters endorse the proposals.
- “If the office is unable to operate due to a lack of funds, more of the burden could fall on local governments / police and private housing and rescues,” Alexis Pagoulatos, CEO of the Animal Rescue League of Berks County, said in a statement. â€œIn addition, Berks County is already collecting some of the revenue from dog licenses, which we hope will be used for animal services in the future. However, it is currently being included in the general operating budget of the county which we hope will have policies that will be rethought as our entire county is in dire need of funding for basic animal control services to protect animals and residents. “
- “While no one wants higher government fees, that’s a pretty modest increase,” said Karel Minor, president and CEO of Humane Pennsylvania, which runs the Freedom Center for Animal Life-Saving in Reading and the Humane League of Lancaster County. â€œMore funding for dog law enforcement should lead to better enforcement, and we hope that fewer strays, less health-impaired dogs from under-regulated kennels, and better controls for dangerous dogs. All of this would help our organization, as dogs with these dogs “problems come to us a lot.”
Agents who levy state dog license fees, such as the Berks County’s Department of Treasury, will increase their share of the funds. Administration fees would increase from $ 1 plus the cost of a postage to $ 2 for every annual license sold and to $ 3 for every lifetime license sold.