Dog owners beware: the next knock on your front door could be the 'Dog Warden,' ready to fine those with unlicensed or unvaccinated dogs up to $300.
The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is canvasing for up-to-date dog licenses and rabies vaccinations, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Press Secretary Samantha Krepps tells NBC10.com.
According to Krepps, these compliance checks by Humane Officers and 'Dog Wardens,' or Pennsylvania Dog law enforcement officers, are being conducted in all Pa. counties in an effort to keep residents and their dogs safe.
"We’re not trying to nab people,” Krepps said. “With dogs being outside more frequently during the summer, we’re just trying to make sure all dogs are licensed and properly vaccinated in order to keep both Pennsylvanians and their dogs safe."
The Dog Wardens will be driving through neighborhoods and, in some cases, knocking on doors to hand out license applications and renewal forms.
A warning will be issued to owners whose dogs are found without the proper licensing or rabies boosters. Dog owners will have 48 hours to acquire the necessary license and/or vaccination, or they'll face a citation and a fine of up to $300 for each violation.
The canvasing began in March 2014 as a part of Dog Licensing Awareness Month. So far, 35 counties have been checked and 440 Pa. dog owners have been cited for non-compliance.
Montgomery County Treasurer Jason Salus says his county issued a press release to inform residents about the canvasing and to give them time to make their dogs compliant.
"It is the law for every dog to be licensed for many reasons," Salus says. "[Licenses] can be used to reunite lost dogs with their owners, fund kennel stays for lost dogs, and fund inspections of kennels and puppy mills."
For most of the Commonwealth, dogs three months of age and older must be licensed by January 1st each year. An annual license costs $8.45, a fee that is discounted to $6.45 if the dog is spayed or neutered. Licenses can be acquired online or at a local county treasurer’s office.
In Philadelphia, the rules differ. Dogs 4-months or older must be licensed within 30 days of acquiring the dog. Licenses for spayed or neutered canines cost $16. The fee is $40 for unaltered dogs. Residents can apply for the licenses online.