Recently, the Pennsylvania Senate introduced legislation to update Pennsylvania’s Dog Law. This includes positive changes such as removing the different prices for licensing an intact as opposed to a sterilized dog. The bill as written also includes numerous requirements for those currently licensed as a kennel by the state, as well as those operating as a rescue in the state. It also would require anyone entering the Commonwealth for shows, hunting, field trials, etc. to have an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection.
The bill is scheduled for a hearing tomorrow in the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee. Scroll down for hearing and contact information.
Senate Bill 746 is based upon proposed legislation from last session (see previous alert), that removes the difference in license fees for intact and sterilized dogs and makes many other changes to licensing for dog owners, kennels, and rescues, as well as other changes to the Commonwealth’s Dog Law.
The Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement (BDLE) has been operating in a deficit for a number of years and annually requires a transfer of funds to maintain operations. This has resulted in the Bureau being understaffed and limited in its ability to carry out the duties of the Bureau.
The primary purpose of Senate Bill 746 is to provide updates to various portions of the Dog Law including increasing dog and kennel licensing fees, kennel and rescue regulations, as well as changes to related to dogs entering the Commonwealth temporarily.
Changes to Requirements for Dogs Temporarily in the Commonwealth:
Under current law, any person may bring one or more dogs for show, trial, or breeding purposes or as a household pet without securing a Pennsylvania license, and any person holding a Pennsylvania nonresident hunting license may bring into the State one or more dogs for a period of 30 days for the purpose of hunting game during any hunting season when hunting with dogs is permitted. Further, this exemption extends to a provision requiring a certificate of health prepared by a licensed Doctor of Veterinary Medicine.
Under this bill, the exemption is being removed, and the requirement for a certificate of health prepared by a licensed Doctor of Veterinary Medicine is being changed to an interstate certificate of veterinary inspection. This change would mean all who come to Pennsylvania to participate in dog related events or hunting would be required to first obtain an interstate Certificate of Veterinary Inspection. Given the number of such events held in Pennsylvania, it is our understanding that the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement would find this new provision virtually impossible to enforce.
AKC GR has had numerous discussions with both the sponsor’s office and the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement regarding the language and is requesting a simple amendment to reinstate the existing exemption.
Dog License Fees Changes:
The bill seeks to streamline annual and lifetime dog licenses by increasing fees for the first time in 25 years. Under the updates, Pennsylvanians will pay $7 for an annual license or $49 for a lifetime license for male and female dogs while those 65 years of age or older and persons with disabilities will pay $5 for an annual license or $33 for a lifetime license for male and female dogs. AKC greatly appreciates that the higher license fee for owning an intact dog is removed.
Kennel and Rescue Regulation/Licensing Changes:
The Pennsylvania Dog Law defines a kennel as one where at least 26 dogs are kept or transferred in a calendar year. There are also licenses for boarding kennels and non-profit kennels.
Kennel license fees have not been increased since 1965. Since kennel inspections are a significant portion of the work done by BDLE, the proposal includes increases for each classification.
The legislation also eliminates the term “nonprofit kennel” and for licensing purposes establishes the following separate licensed entities: Humane Society or Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Municipal Holding Pen, and Rescue Network Kennel – all of which were previously considered nonprofit kennels. These kennels will have to comply with certain reporting and other requirements.
Finally, to avoid potential funding shortages in the future, the legislation gives the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture the authority to increase fees subject to the Commonwealth’s regulatory review process.
Other changes in Senate Bill 746 include:
- Requiring transparency for the source of a dog for all kennel license holders. AKC is asking for clarification to ensure that this transparency includes all sources for obtaining a dog, in order to help potential owners understand a dog’s background and ensure the dog is the right fit for them.
- Requiring a seller’s license information be included in all advertisements, including social media.
- Proof of licensure when requested by the appropriate authorities.
- Clarification of dangerous dog determination.
What You Can Do:
Senate Bill 746 is scheduled for a hearing tomorrow (Tuesday, June 6, 2023) at 10:00am. If you would like to provide comments on the bill, we encourage you to contact Senator Elder Vogel, Chair of the Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.
You may also contact the members of the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee to share any comments you may have.
AKC Government Relations will continue to closely monitor this bill and communicate with the General Assembly. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.