It takes a tough gov to get goo-goo eyes over a little dog.
Ok so it wasn't a gubernatorial campaign stop, but Gov. Corbett paused for some cute photo ops today with a crew of homeless dogs at a shelter in Pittsburgh.
It was all for a good cause: dog licensing.
Corbett's approach has been more carrot than stick. He's urging Pennsylvanians to purchase the low (some would say too low) priced dog licenses to ensure their fur kids make it home should they escape or become lost.
“Dog ownership comes with a lot of responsibilities, and licensing your dog is on the top of the list,” said Corbett at an appearance at the Animal Friends shelter. “For less than two cents a day, a dog license can give you assurance that if your dog ever gets lost, he has a ticket home.”
The flip side? You can get smacked with a $300 fine if you or you dog is caught without one.
To hammer the point home Corbett proclaimed March as “Dog License Awareness Month." So license up people - and make sure your dog has his up-to-date rabies vaccines - 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.
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.
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. 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 - along with court fines and civil penalties are the sole source of revenue for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Dog Law Enforcement Office.
Even with record sales topping one million last year, state officials say with more than 12 million Pennsylvania residents only a fraction of dogs are licensed.
The press release issued by Corbett's office in conjunction with the event said dog law is "responsible for ensuring the welfare of dogs, regulating dangerous dogs and overseeing annual licensing and rabies vaccinations."
Hmmm..they forgot the issue that the public cares about the most: enforcing the dog law governing the care of dogs in close to 3,000 licensed kennels in Pennsylvania.
For more information, visit www.licenseyourdogPA.com or call the Dog Law Enforcement Office at 717-787-3062.