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License to woof

Love Your Dog Month reminds owners to maintain the proper credentials

Tomes Observer photo by Kate Cataldo The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture reminds dog owners that a dog license is key to the safety and security of their dogs, families and communities.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture recognizes Love Your Dog Month.

It is reminding dog owners that a dog license is key to the safety and security of their dogs, families and communities.

“The most important responsibility is to license your dog,” Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said. “That ensures that they won’t end up in a shelter if they get lost, but it also ensures that dog wardens will continue to protect our communities and the animals we all love.”

Pennsylvanians are required by law to have a current license for all dogs at least three months old. However, according to the Dept. of Agriculture’s Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, fewer than half of all dogs in the commonwealth are licensed. Rates will vary from county to county.

Dog owners can get their dog licenses through their county treasurer’s offices, and many counties also offer licenses through sub-agents like veterinarian offices or online.

If your animal is spayed or neutered the average fee for an annual license is between $6.50 to $8.50. Lifetime licenses are also available for animals with microchips and tattoos. Discounts are often available for older adults and people with disabilities. Owners who fail to license their dogs could face a fine up to $300 for each unlicensed dog.

The Pennsylvania SPCA Director of Law Enforcement and Shelter Services Nicole Wilson said, “Through the collaboration and partnership with the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, we are continuing to rescue animals from cruelty and neglect and bring the abusers to justice. Dog Law does such important work to ensure the safety of the dogs in our state, and our communities, and through our relationship they are also making an impact on animals who are victims of abuse.”

Revenue made from the sale of licenses goes towards helping the department protect Pennsylvania’s people and their pets. Fees help pay for inspecting licensed kennels, investigating complaints of illegal kennels and kennel conditions, state veterinarian visits to kennels, monitoring dangerous dogs, returning stray dogs to their owners, compensating shelters to care for stray dogs, and compensating farmers for attacks on livestock.

But, there is still a major uphill battle when it comes to adequate funding.

A fee increase would benefit county treasurers, shelter owners and communities that are made safer by the dog wardens’ work.

For more information, visit licenseyourdogpa.pa.gov.

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