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PA Alert: Philadelphia Considering Limits, Sterilization Provisions

(Wednesday, April 13, 2011)

The Philadelphia City Council is considering numerous changes to its animal control code, including limits on dog ownership, requiring the sterilization of any animal sold, and numerous new licensing provisions.

Bill 110210 has already passed the City Committee on Law and Government. It will be formally presented to the full city council on Thursday, April 14, and is expected to be given a final vote on April 28. It is imperative that all responsible owners and breeders in Philadelphia, as well as clubs who host shows in the city, contact the council TODAY and express your concerns with this proposal.

Find the names and contact numbers for the Philadelphia City Council here.

If you would also like to attend the City Council hearing on April 14 and express your comments or concerns during the public comment portion of the agenda, the meeting information is as follows:

Philadelphia City Council Meeting
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Time: 9:30 a.m. (*Committee of the Whole is at 9:30, and the full council meeting will begin at approximately 10:00 a.m.)
Location: Philadelphia City Hall, Room 400

Summary:

The AKC strongly supports and promotes responsible dog ownership, but is concerned about a few of the changes Bill 110210 makes to the city’s animal code, including:

  • Requiring that all dogs and cats sold be sterilized – Exceptions include dogs obtained by a governmental entity for law enforcement or public safety, dogs obtained to be service or guide dogs, and dogs “of a recognized breed, obtained for the purposes of participation in a recognized competition.” A newly-created Animal Control Agency would determine the requirements for establishing how the term “recognized breed” is defined, and how the participation can be proven. While the AKC appreciates the council’s recognition that dogs need to be intact for competition, it is not always possible to determine at the time of purchase whether or not a dog will be used for a recognized competition. Those who violate this provision will be subject to a fine and may be asked to cease operations (breeding/selling) for one year.
  • Limiting ownership to two intact dogs – Current law limits ownership to no more than 12 adult dogs or cats, of which no more than four may be intact. The proposal changes this to clarify that within the limit of 12, only 2 dogs and 2 cats may be intact. Exceptions are made for those licensed as a kennel (defined as a facility in which 13 or more dogs or cats combined are kept, bred, whelped, harbored, boarded, sold or in any way transferred in a calendar year).
  • New/increased license fees – Currently the city charges a $16 annual licensing fee for each intact dog and an $8.00 fee for each sterilized dog. Permanent licensing is available at the rate of $40 for each intact dog and $16 for each sterilized dog. This proposal would not allow the purchase of permanent licenses going forward, and increase the fee to $40/$16 each year. An additional license is required for all animal shelters and “animal retailers”. “Animal retailer” is defined as anyone “engaged in the business of selling dogs or cats to the ultimate owner…”. It is unclear if this would include anyone who ever sells even one dog or cat.

Talking Points:
View AKC’s printable handout with talking points on dog limit laws.

View AKC’s handout “Animal Limit Laws: Better Alternatives”

View AKC’s Issue Analysis “Why Mandatory Spay/Neuter Laws are Ineffective”
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