Pennsylvania representative looks to increase dog licenses, fees

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WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (WKBN) – Pennsylvania Rep. Jeff Wheeland championed legislation that would increase the number of dogs licensed in the state on Thursday.

House Bill 526 and Senate Bill 232 would decrease the legal age to license a dog from 12 to eight weeks and raise the dog license fee from its current rate of $6.50 to $10 annually.

“In Pennsylvania you can buy a dog at 8 weeks of age, but the legal age to license a dog is 12 weeks,” said deputy secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Agriculture Fred Strathmeyer. “This results in an incredible loss for the bureau, as the time lapse allows owners to push licensing aside.

Only about 50% of approximately three million dogs in Pennsylvania are licensed, according to Strathmeyer. That leaves over one million dogs unlicensed and without an official way to contact an owner if the dog is lost or attacks another animal.

The fee increase would supplement the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement’s funding crisis and decrease the stress of dog-related incidents for local government and shelters.

Though personnel and operating costs for the Bureau have increased, dog licensing fees have remained the same for 25 years.

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