Ask Betsy! May 2013

Dear Betsy,

As a concerned pet owner I am saddened to see what I view as a rash of lost dogs in the Wilkes-Barre area and around Luzerne County. No collars, tags, etc.—sweet dogs standing in the middle of a busy street just wondering where they are!  We also had a case of rabies in the Parsons section of Wilkes-Barre last month. What are the laws pertaining to pet ownership in Luzerne County?

Linda Loveserpups

Dear Linda,

You are correct. Way too many animals are lost, abandoned, mistreated, or stolen in our area. If our current laws were enforced, I think that we would see fewer problems. There just aren’t enough people to handle the growing animal population. Please adopt and spay/neuter!

Here are Pennsylvania’s current Dog Laws:

All dogs three months of age or older must be licensed. Licenses are issued by the County Treasurer.

All dogs must be under control and must not be allowed to run at large. Dogs are personal property, and so owners are responsible for damages caused by their dog.

It is illegal to mistreat or abuse any animal. Violations should be reported to a local humane organization or the police.

It is illegal to abandon or attempt to abandon any dog.

No dog under eight weeks of age may be sold, traded, bartered or transferred.

You may not place any poison or harmful substance in any place where dogs may easily eat it, whether it is your own property or elsewhere.

You must have a current kennel license if you operate a facility that keeps, harbors, boards, shelters, sells, gives away or transfers a total of 26 or more dogs in any one calendar year.

Owners of dogs and cats three months of age or older are required to have a current rabies vaccination. It is illegal to interfere with an officer or employee of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture engaged in enforcement of dog laws.

Lifetime Licenses are available if you have your dog micro chipped or tattooed. This can be done at your veterinarian’s office.  As for rabies vaccines, there is a one-year or three-year available. Our local shelter, the Luzerne County SPCA, can help with information on area vaccine clinics and low-cost spay/neuter programs.

Luzerne County Lifetime Dog License Fees
$51.45 for a non-neutered male or non-spayed female
$31.45 for a neutered male or spayed female

Senior Citizens Lifetime Dog License Fees
$31.45 for a non-neutered male or non-spayed female
$21.45 for a neutered male or spayed female

  • Betsy Summers
  • Betsy Summers is a long-time resident of Wilkes-Barre who holds an associate’s degree from Centenary College and advanced degrees from the School of Hard Knocks. She’s also a self-taught carpenter, electrician, gardener, and Jane of all trades. Betsy currently works in veterinary sales, has served on the subcommittee for Luzerne County ethics, and has run for a number of political offices, most recently, PA State Auditor General in 2012.If you’d like a question answered, contact Betsy at or call us at 570-266-8086.

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