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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 mcauser@pahousegop.com 
Eddie Pashinski reppashinski@pahouse.net 
Christina Sappey repsappey@pahouse.com 
Ryan Warner rwarner@pahousegop.com 
Christopher Rabb reprabb@pahouse.net 
Rich Irvin rirvin@pahousegop.com 
Clint Owlett cowlett@pahousegop.com 
Liz Hanbidge rephanbidge@pahouse.net 
Stephanie Borowicz sborowicz@pahousegop.com 
Mark Gillen mgillen@pahousegop.com 
David Millard dmillard@pahousegop.com 
John Lawrence jlawrence@pahousegop.com 
Pamela Snyder repsnyder@pahouse.net 
Mark Keller mkeller@pahousegop.com 
Russ Diamond rdiamond@pahousegop.com 
Danilo Burgos repburgos@pahouse.net 
Bridget Kosierowski repkosierowski@pahouse.net 
David Zimmerman dzimmerman@pahousegop.com 
Steven Malagari repmalagari@pahouse.net 
Marci Mustello mmustello@pahousegop.com 
Pamela DeLissio repdelissio@pahouse.net 
Mindy Fee mfee@pahousegop.com 
Johnathan Hershey jhershey@pahousegop.com 
Marcia Hahn mhahn@pahousegop.com 
Gwendolyn Green repgreen@pahouse.net 
Kate Klunk kklunk@pahousegop.com

For more information, contact AKC Government Relations at 919-816-3720 or doglaw@akc.org.

 

 

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