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State Wardens To Check Dog Licenses And Pet Vaccination History In The Region

Sarah Kovash
90.5 WESA
Charlie, a golden retriever, relaxes in the grass on Thursday, April 19, 2018. Throughout western Pennsylvania, dog wardens will be canvassing communities to check on the status of pet licenses and vaccination history.

Starting this month, state dog wardens will begin canvassing across 36 Pennsylvania counties, to check with dog owners on the status of their pet’s license and vaccination history.

“This outreach program helps educate Pennsylvanians about the need to keep dog licenses and rabies vaccinations – for both dogs and cats – up to date,”officials said in a release.

By Pennsylvania law, dog licenses must be renewed annually by Jan. 1. The fee is $6.50 for spayed and neutered dogs, and $8.50 for other dogs. Fees for older adults or anyone with disabilities is $2 cheaper. Violations of this law can result in a $300 fee, not counting any court fees.

Will Nichols, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, said that these fees pay for the work of state dog wardens do, including kennel inspections and enforcing dangerous dog laws that pertain to incidents such as dog bites. Officials will check the relevant documents by going door-to-door of pet owners. 

“The maximum price is $8.50, and that’s the price of two high quality cups of coffee, for instance. And it’s a small peace of mind in case your dog gets lost, so they can find their way home,” Nichols said. “We’re just asking that folks keep their dogs in mind here.”

Nichols also stressed the importance of checking for updated rabies vaccine, as rabies is “a prevalent disease in Pennsylvania” that dogs are prone to contracting.

“Though dogs are members of our family and in close proximity, they’re still out and about potentially being exposed to animals with rabies,” Nichols said. “The importance of making sure that your dogs are up-to-date on their rabies vaccinations is abundantly clear.”

According to the press release from the Department of Agricultural, the canvassing will begin on May 1, and dog wardens will make scheduled visits to a handful of counties each week. Allegheny County is scheduled to receive visits beginning the week of May 14, and will continue until May 25.