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The Pennsylvania Senate recently passed Senate Bill 798 which seeks to make changes to the Commonwealth’s Dangerous Dog Law by changing definitions, increasing a fee, and eliminating the need to prove vicious propensity or history of attacks in determining that a dog is a dangerous dog under the law. AKC has concerns about this measure.

The bill has been assigned to the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.  With the General Assembly preparing for summer recess, it is unlikely that this legislation will be acted upon soon – if at all – by the Committee for the remainder of this session.  However, measures can move until the end of the session and AKC Government Relations will continue to monitor the bill carefully.

What the Bill Does:
SB 798 as passed by the Senate makes several changes, including:

  • Amends Section 502-A of the Dog Law to revise the summary offense of harboring a dangerous dog. The bill removes the term “without provocation” and replaces it with the term “unprovoked.” It then defines unprovoked as any action by a dog that involves biting, attacking or forcibly coming into unwanted physical contact with a person who or domestic animal that is acting peaceably and lawfully.
  • Clarifies who may file a complaint by replacing “anyone of behalf of” with “the person’s legal guardian or personal representative.”
  • States that if an unprovoked dog acts with propensity to kill or inflict severe injury, it may be proven by a single incident. This repeals current law, which requires the need to prove that a dog has a vicious propensity or history of attacks in order to prove the offense of harboring a dangerous dog.  As a result of this bill, owner could and most like would be cited for “harboring a dangerous dog” after that first attack.
  • Increases the registration fee for a dangerous dog certificate from $500 to $1,000 per calendar year.

What You Can Do:

Comments regarding the measure may be made to members of the House Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee.

The committee contact information is as follows:

Martin Causer, Chair 
Eddie Pashinski 
Christina Sappey 
Ryan Warner 
Christopher Rabb 
Rich Irvin 
Clint Owlett 
Liz Hanbidge 
Stephanie Borowicz 
Mark Gillen 
David Millard 
John Lawrence 
Pamela Snyder 
Mark Keller 
Russ Diamond 
Danilo Burgos 
Bridget Kosierowski 
David Zimmerman 
Steven Malagari 
Marci Mustello 
Pamela DeLissio 
Mindy Fee 
Johnathan Hershey 
Marcia Hahn 
Gwendolyn Green 
Kate Klunk

For more information, contact AKC Government Relations at 919-816-3720 or