Dog Owners Exceed Dog Licensing Challenge to Earn $10,000 PetSmart® Donation for Service Dogs

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Pennsylvania pet owners licensed 124,555 dogs in March during “Dog License Awareness Month,” exceeding the 100,000-license goal set by state dog law officials.

In recognition of the milestone, pet specialty retailer PetSmart® today donated $10,000 to Susquehanna Service Dogs. The non-profit organization trains and provides service and hearing dogs that help children and adults with special needs become more independent.

“Thank you to all Pennsylvanians who purchased dog licenses to safeguard pets and support service dogs across the state,” Agriculture Secretary George Greig said. “Dog licensing is affordable and easy, and it’s the best way to help ensure lost dogs make it home. Aside from the peace-of-mind it brings, licensing your dog is the law.”

State law requires all dogs three months and older to be licensed each year. Owners who fail to license their dogs could face a fine of up to $300 for each unlicensed dog.

“Dog licensing is every pet owner’s responsibility,” Jennifer Steck, Harrisburg PetSmart® manager said. “We are thrilled today to donate $10,000 to Susquehanna Service Dogs on behalf of Pennsylvania’s dog owners who have taken the important step to license their dogs.”


The cost of training and placing one service dog is approximately $20,000.  Most of the funds are donated by individuals, groups and corporations.

“On behalf of Susquehanna Service Dogs and the people we help lead more independent lives, thank you,” Amanda Nicholson, Susquehanna Service Dogs training coordinator said. “It’s expensive to train and place one service dog, and our organization depends on the generous support of donors to carry out our mission.”

Dog owners can purchase a license at their local county treasurer’s office, through agents and online.

An annual dog license is $8.45 or $6.45 if the animal is spayed or neutered. Lifetime licenses are available for dogs that have permanent identification like a microchip or tattoo. Older adults and people with disabilities may be eligible for discounts.

The dog license application is simple and only requests owner contact information and details about the dog being licensed, like name, age, breed and color.

“So far this year, dog owners have purchased nearly 1.1 million licenses,” Greig said. “We still have a long way to go, and dog wardens will continue to canvass neighborhoods across the state to remind dog owners of their responsibility.”

Greig offered these reasons for dog licensing:

  • It’s the law. All dogs three months and older must have a current license.
  • If your dog gets lost, a license is the best way to get him back. A license helps animal control and shelters identify your dog and get him back home safely.
  • The cost of a license is less than the penalty for being caught without one. A license costs less than two cents a day, but owners who fail to license their dogs could face a fine of up to $300 for each unlicensed dog.
  • License fees support animal control. The annual fee you pay to license your dog helps keep shelters running and supports the work of the Dog Law Enforcement Office, which is responsible for ensuring the welfare of dogs, regulating dangerous dogs and overseeing annual licensing and rabies vaccinations. State dog wardens completed 4,711 kennel inspections last year and issued 3,113 summary citations and 56 misdemeanor charges related to violations of the Pennsylvania Dog Law.

Source: PA Dept. of Agriculture

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