House Bill 1463 aims to restore the PA Dog Law Restricted Account to sound financial health by increasing individual dog license fees.  The money in the account comes from licensing fees and penalties for violations of the Dog Law.  No funds from the state’s budget are spent on Dog Law enforcement.  A number of years ago, $4 million was removed from the account to help balance the budget.  PFDC challenged this in Federal Court along with other groups, but we lost the court battle.   Ever since, the amount available to support the Dog Law functions has diminished.


We have known for about a year that the Dog Law Restricted Account would go into the red if current licensing levels continued and fees stayed where they are. Fees have not changed since 1996.


House Bill HB1463 would raise individual Dog Licensing fees as follows:

(1) For each neutered male dog and for each spayed female dog the license fee was $5, it will go to $8. Lifetime licenses will go to $44 from $30.
(2) For all other male and female dogs, the license fee was $7, it will go to $11. Lifetime license will go to $74 from $50.
(3) For Pennsylvania residents 65 years of age or older and persons with disabilities, each neutered male dog and spayed female dog the license fee was $3, it will go to $5. Lifetime licenses will be $29 from $20. For all other male and female dogs owned by seniors or disabled citizens, the license fee was $5, it will go to $8. Lifetime licenses will be $44 from $30.

Another major change proposed in the Bill would change the mechanism for future fee increases. Under current Law, a Bill must be passed through the Legislature to raise these fees, as HB1463 is doing. However, HB1463 contains language that would make these fees a matter of regulation. Should this pass, the Secretary of Agriculture at the request of the Governor he/she serves could propose a new fees and that proposed regulation would go for review through the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC). The Department would have to show evidence of expenses to support the requested change. We have some reservations about changing these fees from statute to regulation, but we recognize the Bill will probably fail without this provision.

The proposal would also allow the state to develop a website where residence could obtain individual dog licenses across the Internet.

The Dog Law Enforcement really does need the funding increase to stay out of the red. Without it, kennel inspections and license enforcement could be significantly curtailed. This would not serve any of us. At this point in time, we are inclined to support HB1463 and its companion Bill in the Senate SB738. Please give us any feedback from your organization on this important issue.

Senate Bill 738

House Bill 1463