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Are dog wardens violating constitutional rights?

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Like it or not, dog owners may be getting a visit from a Dog Warden.

"I would be a little freaked out if a dog warden came to my house unannounced," said dog owner Alex Blythe, a Lancaster County resident.

According to the Department of Agriculture, the dog wardens will spend the next few weeks coming door-to-door checking for dog licenses.

The goal is to keep people and pets safe by making sure they have their rabies vaccination.

Some dog owners are okay with that idea.

"I think they should come check on my dog. Make sure I`m taking care of it. Making sure things are being done. She is licensed, she has her shots. They should be checking on people and making sure they are taking care of their animals," said dog owner Jeff Snell, a York County resident.

Others argue this is a 4th amendment violation, saying the warden`s have no right to come to your property without a warrant.

Attorney Steven Stambaugh says it`s not that simple.

"Is it technically trespassing? Yes. Any time anybody comes on your property, it`s technically trespassing. But it happens all the time. So if they come and ask questions, you simply don`t have to answer the questions," said Stambaugh.

Stambaugh says if the wardens don`t have a warrant, you are not required to answer any questions or provide documentation.

And the Department of Agriculture respects that.

In a written statement, the department told us the wardens will not enter a home or building without the owner`s permission, adding that the state`s statutory authority says, "A dog warden or employee of the department may enter into a home or other building only with the permission of the occupant or with a duly issued search warrant."

And while the laws may seem complicated, Stambaugh says the solution is simple.

"Just go get your dog licensed."

To license your dog, visit

The schedule is as follows:

April 9-13: Berks, Centre, Clarion, Franklin, Luzerne, and Westmoreland counties

April 16-20: Carbon, Dauphin, Delaware, Elk, Huntingdon, Lycoming, Perry, Somerset, and York counties

April 23-27: Armstrong, Bucks, Butler, Lebanon, Mifflin, Potter, and Susquehanna counties

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