Emergencies - 911 or (215) 785-4040
Licenses are also available online at WWW.PADOGLICENSES.COM
You can also obtain dog licenses immediately at places like Mailboxes Unlimited, some hardware stores, and tag places. Check local listings for availability.
Dog Lovers in Pennsylvania
All dogs three months or older must be licensed by Jan. 1 of each year. Violators can be cited with a maximum fine of $300 per violation plus court costs. The cost of a dog license is cheaper than the fine for not having one.
An annual license is $8.50 and a lifetime license is $51.50. If the animal is spayed or neutered, the annual fee is $6.50 and lifetime is $31.50. Discounts are available to older adults and people with disabilities.
License fees help millions of dogs in the state by funding the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement which is charged with ensuring the welfare of breeding dogs and puppies in commercial breeding kennels. The Bureau also regulates activities pertaining to dogs that are classified as dangerous, and oversees annual licensure and rabies vaccinations for dogs.
Dog licenses can be purchased from your county treasurer or issuing agent. Please visit www.licenseyourdogPA.com for a listing of all treasurers.
If your dog gets lost, a current license is the fastest way to get him/her back. LOVE YOUR DOG? LICENSE YOUR DOG!
To report a lost/found pet, go to PAlostdog.com® to view/enter a posting.
*This site is set up for people to post both lost and found pets. If the dog has a dog license, the post will stay up until the dog is returned. If the dog does not have a license, the post will stay up for 1 week then be removed.
What are Pennsylvania's Dog Laws?
- All dogs three months of age or older must be licensed. Licenses are issued by the County Treasurer.
- All dogs must be under control and must not be allowed to run at large. Dogs are personal property, and owners are responsible for damages caused by their dog.
- It is illegal to mistreat or abuse any animal. Violations should be reported to a local humane organization or the police.
- It is illegal to abandon or attempt to abandon any dog.
- No dog under eight weeks of age may be sold, traded, bartered or transferred.
- You may not place any poison or harmful substance in any place where dogs may easily eat it, whether it is your own property or elsewhere.
- You must have a current kennel license if you operate a facility that keeps, harbors, boards, shelters, sells, gives away or transfers a total of 26 or more dogs in any one calendar year.
- Owners of dogs and cats 3 months of age or older are required to have a current rabies vaccination. It is illegal to interfere with an officer or employee of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture engaged in enforcement of dog laws.
Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement is charged with the following responsibilities:
- Enforcing licensing and control of dogs
- Enforcing kennel licensing and inspections
- Investigating dog bites
- Seizing and detaining any dog seen running at large
- Reimbursing individuals for dog-caused damage to livestock, poultry and domestic game birds
- Establishing and enforcing the quarantine of dogs in certain areas when required
- Funding counties and humane organizations to establish dog control facilities
- Providing educational services concerning dog ownership in Pennsylvania
- Enforcing the Pennsylvania Rabies Law
A dangerous dog is one that has attacked, inflicted severe injury to, or killed a human being or a domestic animal without provocation while off an owner's property. A dog is also considered dangerous if it was involved in committing a crime. It is unlawful for an owner or keeper of a dangerous dog to permit the dog to be outside the proper enclosure unless the dog is muzzled and restrained by a substantial chain or leash and under physical restraint of a responsible person. The muzzle shall be made in a manner that will not cause injury to the dog or interfere with its vision or respiration, but shall prevent it from biting any person or animal or from destroying property with its teeth.
Dangerous Dog Provisions:
- The Act does not apply to police dogs , guide dogs for the blind, hearing dogs for the deaf, aide dogs for the handicapped, or farm dogs (under certain circumstances).
- The Act does not apply where a person attacked, provoked the animal, or was committing willful trespass or another unlawful act for which civil suit can be brought.
- If a dog attacks a person, the person (or anyone acting on his/her behalf), the state dog warden or a police officer may file a complaint with a magisterial district justice charging the owner or keeper with harboring a dangerous dog.
Responsibilities of Dog Owner:
If the dog is deemed dangerous by the magisterial district justice, the owner must:
- Register the animal with the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement and re-register on an annual basis
- Registration fee is $500 per calendar year for the life of the dog plus an additional amount as set by the Department to cover administrative cost
- Confine the dog in a proper enclosure
- Post a warning sign with a symbol that warns children of the presence of a dangerous dog
- Keep the dog muzzled and leashed when outside the proper enclosure
- Spay or Neuter the dog
- Microchip the dog
- Be compliant with court ordered restitution
- Post a bond or purchase and maintain liability insurance in the amount of $50,000 to pay for injuries inflicted by the dog
- Agree not to cancel the liability insurance during the license period unless he/she disposes of the dog
- Sign a statement providing that he/she will notify the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, state dog warden and local police if the dog is loose, attacks a human or an animal, dies or is sold/donated
Requirements and Responsibilities Prior to October 8, 2009 (Act 119):
The law that applies to the dangerous dog is the law in effect on the actual date a judge has declared a dog dangerous. (i.e. the dog is declared dangerous on or before October 7, 2008, Act 225 will apply, if the dog is declared dangerous on October 9, 2009, Act 119 will apply)
*NOTE: If a dangerous dog is transferred to a new owner, the new law (Act 119) will automatically supersede the old law (Act 225).
- A dangerous dog could be confiscated under certain circumstances (i.e. the dog is not properly registered or not kept in a proper enclosure)
- The owner could be found guilty of a criminal offense to a first degree misdemeanor
- All known incidents of dog attacks by dangerous dogs must be reported to the state dog warden, who must investigate all reports
- Article V, Dangerous Dogs overrides all local ordinances relating to dangerous dogs