Cost to increase for dog licenses |

Cost to increase for dog licenses

Rich Cholodofsky

It’s going to cost more to buy dog licenses in Pennsylvania starting next month.

That’s when a 45-cent increase in the fees will be implemented to help local treasurers pay for postage to mail out licenses to customers.

“It’s an administrative fee. A change was needed because treasurers only got $1 for each license, and that was not covering postage,” said Jessie L. Smith, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Agriculture.

The state oversees all dog license programs, which are administered by county treasurers. Counties will now retain $1.45 for each license sold, up from the $1 that treasurers used to pay for administrative fees.

Under the new fee structure, licenses for dogs will cost $8.45, and canines spayed or neutered will receive a $2 discount.

Westmoreland County, which sells about 47,000 dog licenses every year, will return the additional money raised by the new fees back to the county’s general operating fund.

Treasurer Kathalyn O’Brien said years ago customers sent in self-addressed stamped envelopes with license applications. All postage expenses were covered by the state in recent years. Now the mailing costs will be paid by the county.

Fayette County Deputy Treasurer Diana Rossini said the additional money raised through the sale of about 12,000 licenses will be used to purchase postage.

“We’ll use it to actually mail the licenses back to customers,” Rossini said.

Westmoreland County has posted signs in local post offices and highlighted the price increase on annual renewals sent out this week to dog-license holders.

“We’ve tried very hard to let people know there is an increase,” O’Brien said.

Dogs 3 months or older are required by state law to be licensed. State dog wardens for the last several years have actively pursued citations for owners of dogs that are unlicensed.

The state estimates that as many as 50,000 dogs are unlicensed in Westmoreland County. More than a third of dogs in Fayette County are unlicensed, according to state officials.

“People getting licenses is a dog’s passport for getting home,” Smith said.

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