HARRISBURG – In an effort to revitalize the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement (BDLE), Sen. Elder Vogel, Jr.’s (R-47) Dog Law Modernization Bill (Senate Bill 746) advanced from the Senate with bipartisan support by a vote of 43-7.
Senate Bill 746 would provide critical updates to Pennsylvania’s Dog Law including increases to licensing and kennel fees.
“The Bureau has been struggling over the last several years to cover basic operations and fill critical vacancies to ensure they can perform their duties efficiently,” said Vogel. “With their primary operating funds coming from the licensing and kennel fees administered through the Dog Law, my legislation seeks to adjust those fees to create an improved flow of funding to better address the Bureau’s current needs. I appreciate my colleagues’ continued support of this vital legislation.”
For the last several years the BDLE has relied on state appropriations to maintain its operations as they have been working in a deficit which has caused a staff shortage within the BDLE and has made it impossible from hiring a new warden when a position is vacated.
To remedy this issue, among others, and with the support of the Department of Agriculture, Senate Bill 746 would first revise annual and lifetime dog licenses. For individual dog licenses, the annual fees would gradually increase by $2 for an annual license in the first year to $7, and a subsequent increase of $2 the following year to $9, with a final increase of $1 in 2027 taking the maximum fee increase to $10, and $49 for a lifetime license (no additional increases) regardless of spay/neuter status.
Seniors and persons disabled are eligible for a $2 discount on annual licenses and a $16 discount on lifetime licenses.
Additionally, since kennel inspections are a significant portion of the work done by the BDLE, this legislation includes a 25% percent increase for each classification.
It is important to note that these fees have not seen an increase for several decades – 25 years for annual and lifetime dog licenses and 57 years for kennel license fees to be exact.
With only approximately 50% of dogs in Pennsylvania licensed, more also needs to be done to improve licensing compliance, so the bill would require a dog be licensed at three months of age or older (current law) or the point of transfer to a new owner, whichever occurs first. It will also establish an online licensing website for counties that do not currently offer one, thus increasing convenience for their residents. A statewide licensing database will also be created to modernize the information and provide accessibility to law enforcement statewide.
The legislation also seeks to clarify “dangerous dog” determinations, require that kennels notify the Department of Agriculture of updates to their type or classification, update rescue network kennel licensing and related documentation of foreign dogs, revoke kennel licenses when the kennel is charged with animal cruelty, require transparency of both the source of a dog and the identifying seller’s license information in advertisements, ensure proof of licensure is provided when requested by the appropriate authorities and increase criminal penalties for law violators.
Senate Bill 746 now moves to the House for consideration.
CONTACT: Abby Chiumento, 717-787-3076