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House Co-Sponsorship Memoranda

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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: February 3, 2015 03:49 PM
From: Representative Katharine M. Watson and Rep. Joseph A. Petrarca
To: All House members
Subject: Fine Collections related to Dog Law Enforcement
Under the Dog Law, state dog wardens and the police are authorized to issue citations for violations of the Dog Law. If a successful penalty is levied by a state dog warden, the fine money goes into the Dog Law Restricted Account (DLRA), which is used to support the operations of the Office of Dog law at the Department of Agriculture. Individual dog license and kennel license fees are also deposited into the DLRA.

Since 1987, however, all fine money over the amount collected in that fiscal year (approximately $69,000) is diverted to the Judicial Computer System Augmentation Account. The Judicial Computer System Augmentation Account is used for ongoing operations of the statewide judicial computer system. Under Title 42 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, there are exceptions for certain fines, fees or costs, not to be reverted to the Computer System Augmentation Account.

Through the years of 1998 to 2013, the Dog Law fines and penalties accumulated to just shy of $4.5 million. However, over $3.3 million was forfeited to the judicial computer account (average of $208,000 / year). The total revenue retained by the DLRA during those same years is merely 25% of the total monies collected.

We are planning to introduce legislation to add an exemption to Title 42 to allow all the Dog Law fines and penalties collected to remain in the DLRA. This small annual increase in revenue will help toward sustaining the operations of the Office of Dog Law Enforcement in conducting its statutory obligations of inspecting kennels, investigating dog bite incidents, and apprehending dogs running at large, just to name a few. It will also pay the leasing costs and some maintenance of the fleet of trucks driven by state dog wardens.

Please join us in co-sponsoring this important legislation.

Introduced as HB502