Dog Licensing Information
The Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement is responsible for ensuring the welfare of dogs and puppies in licensed kennels. The Bureau also regulates activities pertaining to dogs that are classified as dangerous, and oversees annual licensure and rabies vaccinations for dogs.
State Dog Wardens
Our state dog wardens:
- Enforce licensing and rabies laws
- Seize and detain any dog viewed running at large without its owner
- Investigate dog bites and establish and enforce quarantine of dogs
- Enforce kennel licensing and regulations through at least two inspections each year of every licensed kennel
- Maintain a registry of dogs declared dangerous by a magisterial district judge and perform dangerous dog inspections
- Prosecute dog law violations in court
- Provide educational services about dog ownership
Pennsylvania’s Rabies Law
Ignoring Pennsylvania’s rabies vaccination law can be costly - in more ways than one. Dogs and cats are exposed to the rabies virus through wild and stray animals, posing a threat to their health and yours.
- Dogs and cats three months or older must have a current rabies vaccination
- Owners of non-vaccinated pets may be fined up to $300 plus court costs
- Licensed veterinarians can vaccinate dogs and provide a vaccination certificate
- Dog wardens perform random checks to ensure rabies vaccinations are current
License Your Dog: It’s the Law
- All dogs three months or older must be licensed by January 1 of each year.
- Owners of non-licensed dogs can be cited with a maximum fine of $300 per dog plus court costs.
- Dog wardens randomly canvass neighborhoods to ensure all dogs are licensed. Violators may be fined.
- If your dog gets lost, a current license is the fastest way to get your dog back home.
- Licensing fees help the millions of dogs in Pennsylvania by funding the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement.
- Purchase a license from your local county treasurer or issuing agent.
- An annual license is $8.50, and a lifetime license is $51.50. If your dog is spayed or neutered, the annual fee is $6.50 and lifetime is $3150. Discounts are available to older adults and people with disabilities.
Pennsylvania’s Dog Laws
- If your dog is not licensed, you may be fined up to $300 per dog. Get a license at your county treasurer’s office.
- Your dog must be under control and supervised at all times. You are responsible for any damages caused by your dog on someone else’s property.
- It is illegal to mistreat or abuse animals. Report suspected abuse to your local humane organization or police.
- Purposely poisoning a dog, whether it is yours or someone else’s, is illegal.
- You may not abandon or attempt to abandon any dog. You could be fined $1,000 plus court costs.
- Puppies under eight weeks old cannot be bartered, traded, sold, or transferred.
- You must have a kennel license if you keep, sell, transfer, adopt or foster at least 26 dogs in a calendar year.
- If your dog attacks or kills a human or domestic animal without provocation, it may be considered dangerous. You may face extensive fines and restrictions.