PA Dog Law Enforcement Office Cracks Down on Illegal Kennels in 2012

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The Dog Law Enforcement Office continues to crack down on illegal kennels throughout the state taking action against 37 kennels operating without a license.

“Pennsylvania’s Dog Law Enforcement Office is aggressively pursuing kennel owners who are not in compliance with the state’s dog law,” said Mike Pechart, acting dog law enforcement director. “Through routine inspections and information received from the public, the office was able to investigate, catch and pursue enforcement action against 37 kennels operating illegally this year.”

In 2012, dog wardens conducted nearly 4,505 inspections of the state’s 2,137 licensed kennels. To date, wardens have issued 3,013 summary citations and 55 misdemeanor complaints to dog owners in Pennsylvania, including commercial kennels that are not in compliance with the state’s dog law.

“The office is also focusing its efforts on investigating the illegal sale of dogs online,” said Pechart. “Since October, six kennel owners were discovered and charged.”

Any person who keeps or transfers 26 or more dogs in a calendar year must obtain a kennel license.

In addition, the office continues to implement new measures to enhance the enforcement of the state’s dog law, including:

  • Additional collaborative training of dog wardens coordinated with the Pennsylvania State Police;
  • Heightened emphasis on enforcement of dangerous dog laws by citing owners who fail to register their dogs deemed dangerous by a magisterial district judge;
  • Easier access to information with a consumer-friendly website, which helps dog owners access a dog license application, county treasurer contact information, Pennsylvania’s dog laws and an online tip form. The website also includes a list of shelters that take stray dogs to help pet owners who may be trying to locate a lost dog.

Pennsylvanians are reminded to purchase 2013 annual dog licenses from their county treasurers. State law requires all dogs three months and older to be licensed by Jan. 1 of each year.

Licensing fees support the department’s Dog Law Enforcement Office, which is responsible for ensuring the welfare of dogs kept in kennels, regulating dangerous dogs and overseeing annual licensing and rabies vaccinations.

The Dog Law Enforcement Office offers the following tips when purchasing a dog.

  • Confirm that the establishment has a current license with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.
  • Inspect the facility for cleanliness and make sure the dogs appear healthy. If you think there is a problem, contact the tip line at 717-787-3063.
  • Get a “Guarantee of Good Health’’ and a health certificate. The guarantee of health is part of the Puppy Lemon Law which applies to state licensed kennels. The health certificate will tell you if a veterinarian had recently checked the dog. If the dog is more than three months old, it will also certify that the animal has a current rabies vaccination.

For more information, visit or call the Dog Law Enforcement Office at 717-787-3062.

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