Dogs win with PA license challenge

March marked a triple win for dogs in the Commonwealth.

The Dog Law Enforcement Office surpassed its goal to license 100,000 dogs that month.

Individual dogs win because their license tags offer a route home if they are lost.

The struggling dog law office wins because that month's sale of the licenses mean hundreds of thousands of needed dollars to inspect commercial kennels, pick up strays and enforce license and rabies laws.

And Susquehanna Service Dogs wins because the non-profit group that trains service dogs for those with special needs was the recipient of a $10,000 PetSmart donation in recognition of the milestone.

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

In all, the state licensed 124,555 dogs during "Dog License Awareness Month, adding to the grand total of 1.1 million dogs licensed so far this year.

(Based on the state's population - 12 million - and national statistics that show almost half the population owns at least one dog, law officials say they still have a long way to go to get all dogs licensed.)

Pennsylvania law requires 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.

Owners can buy licenses at their local county treasurer's office, through agents such as farm and feed stores and vets' offices, and online.

An annual dog license is $6.45 if the animal is spayed or neutered ($8.45 if the dog is not 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.

 For more information, visit or call the Dog Law Enforcement Office at 717-787-3062.

(Photo/Women's Humane Society)