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.Harrisburg, PA – Today, Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding teamed up with Dauphin County’s Treasurer Janis Creason and the Executive Director of the Humane Society of the Harrisburg Area and the Federated Humane Societies of the President of Pennsylvania, Amy Kaunas, to clarify a crisis that is looming Dogs in kennels in Pennsylvania are affecting the families they adopt, and the strain on local government finances from underfunded dog license fees that are triggering the crisis.
“Pennsylvanians love our dogs,” said Redding. “And the Pennsylvania Canine Law sets some of the highest standards in the nation to protect them. But laws are worthless without adequate funding and staff to enforce them.
“We have a funding problem with a simple fix. And it would cost dog owners in Pennsylvania about as much as a cup of coffee. That’s a cup of coffee a year to protect the dogs we all love.”
As a direct result of the legislator’s failure to respond to an increase in the dog license fee, the office is unable to fill business-critical positions for dog guardians and even meet the minimum inspection requirements. Responses to dangerous dog incidents and dogs roaming free are slowed and often fall to local law enforcement agencies, putting a strain on their staff and finances.
“When I started my career as the district treasurer, I was surprised to learn that my office issued dog licenses,” said Creason. “At first I wasn’t very enthusiastic about the task. Over time, I came to appreciate the enormous amount of taxpayers’ money that could be saved at the community level if dogs were licensed.
“Dealing with lost dogs is expensive for local authorities and robs law enforcement agencies of valuable time and energy. My office reunites lost dogs with their owners at least three or four times a week. The dog’s owner saves valuable resources in animal shelters and the police Without the Bureau of Dog Law, the local government will face impossible choices. ”
Dog guards ensure that kennel owners are held accountable for maintaining decent living conditions and protecting against the spread of disease. As small businesses, kennel operators rely on quality checks and reports to show consumers that their kennel is a good place to buy a puppy or adopt a dog.
Dog guards also provide vital assistance with animal neglect and cruelty investigations, as they can enter kennels without a warrant to comply with complaints, a skill that humane police officers and local law enforcement agencies do not have. The office also reimburses shelters for housing unlicensed strays, but the amount of support per animal has dropped from $ 40 to $ 5, adding an extra burden to nonprofit animal shelter operators.
“I am honored to host Secretary Redding and his team to highlight the important role the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement plays in protecting the welfare of dogs in the Commonwealth,” said Kaunus. “We encourage every Pennsylvanian to learn about the challenges of the office and to stand up for the dogs of Pennsylvania.”
For several years now, the Department of Agriculture has been pushing for a minimal increase in the dog license fee to maintain funding from the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement so that work can continue to fight illegal kennels, register and track dangerous dogs, and improve health and wellbeing guarantee of dogs in PA, but lawmakers ignored this warning.
Due to the funding shortage, taxpayers’ money is being passed on to the office in order to maintain the minimum service requirements. The budget proposed by Governor Tom Wolf includes an additional transfer of $ 1.2 million for 2020-21 and a transfer of $ 1.5 million for 2021-22 for 2021-22. These funds come from all taxpayers and not from a small fee built into the responsibility of dog ownership.
Senator Judy Schwank (D-Berks) and State Representative Eddie Day Pashinski (D-Lucerne) have tabled two bills to remedy these problems. Senate Bill 232 and House Bill 526 would increase the dog license fee by a minimum to adequately fund the office and to further protect the health and safety of animals and people in Pennsylvania.
The bills, which are increasingly supported by both parties, provide for an increased license fee from $ 6.50 to $ 10 per year for most dog owners. They also require puppies to be licensed after eight weeks – the age at which they can be legally sold or adopted – a departure from the current standard of 12 weeks. This is expected to increase license sales by making the dog owner aware of their responsibility for purchasing a license.
For more information about dog licenses and the Pennsylvania Canine Law, visit licenseyourdogpa.pa.gov. For more information on the critical need to increase the dog license fee, see the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement’s 2020 Annual Report and visit Agriculture.pa.gov/raisethefee4papups.
MEDIA CONTACT: Shannon Powers – 717.603.2056, firstname.lastname@example.org