|Posted:||May 19, 2017 01:21 PM|
|From:||Senator Judith L. Schwank|
|To:||All Senate members|
|Subject:||Modernizing Dog License Purchases and Updating Fees|
In the near future, I will introduce legislation that amends the Dog Law (Act 225 of 1982) to modernize dog licensing in Pennsylvania and increase dog license fees for Fiscal Year 2017-18 to avoid a deficit in the Dog Law Restricted Account (DLRA).
Dog license sales account for approximately 87 percent of the total revenue generated for the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement, and after 20 years the DLRA is projected to go negative in Fiscal Year 2017-18.
Since 1996, dog license fees have remained unchanged while the Department’s responsibilities have increased exponentially as counties seek to cut costs by abandoning their local programs and turning responsibility over to the state. Despite increased license marketing activities and the Department’s best efforts to reduce costs, these expanded responsibilities and rising personnel costs coupled with stagnant revenue have caused expenses to far outpace revenues.
A fee increase would permit the Department to continue performing its statutory obligation while sustaining the Dog Law Restricted Account without creating an excessive fund balance. The legislation would also permit the Department to offer a modern and convenient online platform for license sales throughout the Commonwealth. A single, online platform for purchasing dog licenses would greatly improve customer service and satisfaction as well as improve the Department’s ability to maintain proper records.
Constituents would benefit from the continued services offered by the Department, such as investigating dog bites, picking up stray dogs, inspecting kennels, and offering reimbursements for damage to livestock caused by dogs. County treasurers would see increased revenue from the online licensing platforms for their part in administering the licenses. And finally, the Department would be able to re-establish a grant program for shelters taking in strays from dog wardens.
I urge you to join me in co-sponsoring this important legislation to ensure the Department of Agriculture, through a minimal fee increase, can continue its important mission, protecting Pennsylvania’s residents, counties, and canines.
Introduced as SB738