Pennsylvania dog owners have to apply for required 2011 dog licenses before the Jan. 1 deadline, according to Deputy Secretary for Dog Law Enforcement Jessie Smith.
All dogs must be licensed. Failure to license a dog is a summary offense and could result in a maximum fine of $300 for each unlicensed dog.
"Applying for a license is a simple and inexpensive way to ensure your dog will be cared for in the event of an emergency," said Mr. Smith. "If your pet gets lost, a license is the easiest way to identify the owner and return the dog home safely."
State law requires that all dogs three months or older be licensed by Jan. 1 each year. An annual license is $8.45 and a lifetime license is $51.45. If the animal is spayed or neutered, the annual fee is $6.45 and lifetime is $31.45. Discounts are available to older adults and people with disabilities. New this year, the dog licensing law was altered to reflect a 45-cent administrative fee for cost of postage involved with licensing. Due to this change, only new applications reflecting this fee will be accepted.
Fees collected through dog licensing are used by the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement to protect the safety, health and welfare of dogs. More than 929,000 dogs were licensed in 2010.
More information about dog licensing, a list of county treasurer's offices and a downloadable license application are available online at www.agriculture.state.pa.us, under "Programs" and then "PA Dog Licensing."