HARRISBURG, Pa. (WTAJ) — Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Auditor General Eugene DePasquale joined supporters in a plea for legislative action to protect Pennsylvania’s dogs, their owners and their communities on Wednesday.
Joined by Senator Judy Schwank, Representative Eddie Day Pashinski and Humane Society of the U.S. State Director Kristen Tullo, the group detailed the impending funding crisis of the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement and the implications for public safety and animal welfare.
The Humane Society of the United States is encouraging the Pennsylvania General Assembly to make adequate funding available so the welfare of the dogs, along with the public’s health and safety can remain protected.
“Simply put, that funding has run out. A small fee increase for the privilege of owning a dog can help protect those very dogs from harm,” Redding said.
Dog license fees have not increased in 24 years, and a bill proposed by Schwank and Pashinski proposes bringing dog license fees in line with other costs of living increases over the past 24 years. The annual license fees make up 90% of the bureau’s funding.
Currently, a license for a spayed or neutered dog costs $6.50. The new fee would be $10. A lifetime license for a spayed or neutered dog costs $31.50 at this time, and the new fee would be $49.
Redding said that dog licenses are a simple, inexpensive measure that funds our work to return lost dogs to their owners, ensure that dogs in kennels are humanely treated, and communities kept safe from dangerous strays and irresponsible dog owners.
The bill would also lower the age that a dog must be licensed from three months to eight weeks, which is the age that puppies can be transferred to a new owner.
“It’s been 24 years since we last increased dog license fees and the fees are critical to protect dog owners and the general public,” said Rep. Eddie Day Pashinski. “Without the service of the Bureau of Dog Law, we could see packs of stray dogs wreaking havoc in small communities, which was a problem we used to have.”
DePasquale said that they must make sure the dog wardens have the resources they need to do an effective job.
“The General Assembly has made some important changes to animal protection laws, but too little attention has been given to making sure dog law enforcement is adequately funded to protect the health and safety of all dogs,” DePasquale said.