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What are Pennsylvania's Dog Laws?

Protector of dogs, but will it last: picture of dog warden with stray emphasizing need to increase dog licesne fee

    • All dogs three months of age or older must be licensed.  Licenses are issued by the County Treasurer.
    • All dogs must be under control and must not be allowed to run at large.  Dogs are personal property, and owners are responsible for damages caused by their dog.
    • It is illegal to mistreat or abuse any animal.  Violations should be reported to a local humane organization or the police.
    • It is illegal to abandon or attempt to abandon any dog.
    • No dog under eight weeks of age may be sold, traded, bartered or transferred.
    • You may not place any poison or harmful substance in any place where dogs may easily eat it, whether it is your own property or elsewhere.
    • You must have a current kennel license if you operate a facility that keeps, harbors, boards, shelters, sells, gives away or transfers a total of 26 or more dogs in any one calendar year.
    • Dogs and cats 3 months of age or older are required to have a current rabies vaccination.  It is illegal to interfere with an officer or employee of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture engaged in enforcement of dog laws.

The Dog Law Enforcement Office is charged with the following responsibilities:

    • Enforcing licensing and control of dogs
    • Enforcing kennel licensing and inspections
    • Investigating dog bites
    • Seizing and detaining any dog seen running at large
    • Reimbursing individuals for dog-caused damage to livestock, poultry and domestic game birds
    • Establishing and enforcing the quarantine of dogs in certain areas when required
    • Funding counties and humane organizations to establish dog control facilities
    • Providing educational services concerning dog ownership in Pennsylvania
    • Enforcing the Pennsylvania Rabies Law

Puppy Lemon Law:

In an effort to ensure that consumers buying a dog in Pennsylvania know their new pet has a clean bill of health, Pennsylvania's dog sellers and breeders must now post a visible notice that informs consumers of their rights under the state's Dog Purchaser Protection Act, also known as the "Puppy Lemon Law".  Sellers and breeders must also provide a written copy of the consumer's rights at the time of the sale.

For more information on Pennsylvania's "Puppy Lemon Law", or to file a complaint, visit the Office of the Attorney General, Bureau of Consumer Protection