MERCER, Pa. (WKBN) – Pet owners in Pennsylvania could soon get a knock at their door asking to show a license for their dog.
Efforts to get the message out are happening all across the state, including Mercer County.
Agriculture Secretary George Greig today invited Pennsylvania students in first through sixth grades to enter a poster contest to raise awareness about the importance of dog licensing. The deadline to enter the statewide contest is April 30.
“Dog ownership comes with a lot of responsibilities, and licensing your dog is on the top of the list,” Greig said during a news conference at the Mercer County Courthouse. “This contest is a great way to educate students and their families about the importance of licensing their dogs. I encourage all eligible students to participate, get creative and talk with their families about safeguarding their ‘best friend.’”
Greig joined Mercer County Treasurer Ginny Richardson to remind Pennsylvanians to purchase dog licenses in recognition of March as “Dog License Awareness Month.”
The poster contest is open to all students enrolled in public, private or home school. Students involved with a sponsoring 4-H club or scouting organization may also participate.
The poster must reflect the theme “License your dog. It’s his ticket home.” and include the website http://www.licenseyourdogPA.com.
Judging will be based on effective communication of the theme and importance of the dog license law and creativity.
The grand-prize winner will receive a $20 in cash plus a visit by the Secretary of Agriculture and a dog warden during an official poster unveiling at their school. Grand prize artwork will be used on promotional displays and websites and will be the cover page of the 2015 Dog Law Enforcement Office Coloring Book. Winners of each age division (first and second grade, third and fourth grade, fifth and sixth grade) will receive a $15 cash prize and their artwork will appear in the office’s coloring book.
Friday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett urged Pennsylvanians to license their dogs, saying a current dog license is the best way to ensure lost dogs are reunited with their families.
Governor Corbett proclaimed March as “Dog License Awareness Month,” reminding Pennsylvanians to purchase licenses before dog wardens begin canvassing homes to check for current license and rabies vaccinations. State law requires all dogs three months and older to be licensed by Jan. 1 of each year. Owners who fail to license their dogs could face a fine of up to $300 for each unlicensed dog.
“Dog wardens across the state will be out in full force in the coming months to ensure all Pennsylvanians are following the laws,” said Agriculture Secretary George Greig. “Buy a license for your dog now, because the cost of a license is less than the penalty for being caught without one.”
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 persons with disabilities may be eligible for discounts.
“Licensing your dog is easy and affordable,” said Allegheny County Treasurer John Weinstein. “Buy a license from your county treasurer or another licensing agent like a retail store, veterinarian office or, in many cases, online.”
The dog license application requires owner contact information and details about the dog being licensed, like name, age, breed and color. The information is used by animal control and shelters to identify lost dogs and get them home safely.
“Each day we rescue lost dogs, some of which are not licensed,” said David Swisher, Animal Friends’ president and chief executive officer. “More than 7,600 dogs entered shelters and animal control agencies in Allegheny County in 2013. It’s heartbreaking to know that many of the dogs in area shelters could have been reunited with their owners if they simply had a license.”
Licensing fees support animal control through the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Dog Law Enforcement Office, which is responsible for ensuring the welfare of dogs, regulating dangerous dogs and overseeing annual licensing and rabies vaccinations.
For more information, click here, or call the Dog Law Enforcement Office at 717-787-3062.