PENNSYLVANIA (WHTM) — Many animals around the country are protected by laws. Pennsylvania is no different. To own a dog, there are a few laws one needs to abide by to make sure the animal is safe, healthy, and protected.

Here is a list of laws all dog owners should know if they live in the Commonwealth.

  • Any dog that is three months or older must be licensed, and these are issued by the county treasurer.
  • Dogs are not allowed to run at large and should always be under control. Dogs are considered personal property in Pennsylvania and their owners are responsible for any damage a dog causes.
  • It is against the law to mistreat or abuse dogs or any animal in the state. Any violations should be reported to local law enforcement or police. It is also illegal to abandon any dog in the state.
  • No dog under eight months old is to be sold, traded, or transferred.
  • Dogs 3 months of age or older are required to have a current rabies vaccination. 

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement is in charge of protecting puppies and dogs, as well as consumers, from dangerous and stray animals.

The Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture defines a dangerous dog by one of the following:

  • Inflicted severe injury on a human being without provocation on public or private property.
  • Killed or inflicted severe injury on a domestic animal, dog, or cat without provocation while off the owner’s property.
  • Attacked a human being without provocation
  • Has been used in a crime

In addition, the dog has either or both of the following:

  • A history of attacking human beings and/or domestic animals, dogs or cats without provocation
  • A propensity to attack human beings and/or domestic animals, dogs, or cats without provocation

A dangerous dog can be confiscated under certain circumstances and the owner could be criminally charged.

More information regarding dog laws in Pennsylvania can be found here.