Push to raise dog license fee in Pa., keep dogs and people safer

This Week in Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — For weeks, the state has been saying the price of a dog license needs to go up, to keep both people and pets safe. Tuesday, abc27 learned more about why.

This has to do with increasing the dog license fee, which hasn’t gone up in 25 years. They want to raise it from $6.50 to $10, which we’re told would generate about $8.6 million annually.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, that money is needed to restore services that have been cut. Hiring has also been put off, leaving Lancaster and Montgomery Counties without dog wardens.

“We have 14 vacancies in those counties. Lancaster especially, we have three times more kennels than any other county in the state, and what that means is we’ve had to bring in dog wardens from all over the state to come and do inspections there, just to meet that bare minimal,” said Kristen Donmoyer, Pennsylvania Director of Dog Law Enforcement.

A pair of bills, one in the state House, one in the Senate, would raise the dog license fee to adequately fund the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement. Both bills are in committees right now.

“All those places that make the headlines as being considered a puppy mill. It’s going to allow us to go after those places. It’s going to allow us to continue to support shelters that hold stray dogs for us,” Donmoyer said.

The dog license fee helps pay dog wardens, who by law, perform a minimum of two unannounced inspections per year on licensed kennels. But that’s not the only reason for the increased fees.

“It seems that we’ve had a lot more dog bites, and we’re also getting more and more dangerous dog charges and keeping up with the dangerous dogs has been a real challenge,” said Rickee Miller, state Dog Warden Supervisor.

According to the state Department of Agriculture, funding proposed in the budget will not fill the whole gap, and restore needed services. The fix that will avoid higher costs to taxpayers and allow the dog law to be enforced properly is through this proposed fee increase.

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