New ordinance to permit hefty fines for unleashed dogs in Williamsport

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WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — A new ordinance was recently passed that will charge residents 20 times the original amount if their dogs are caught running the streets unleashed, especially if the dog has a history of bad behavior.

Previously, the penalty for an owner’s dog running at large was a mere $50 but now it’s a $1,000 fine.

Under Pennsylvania law, all dogs must be controlled and can’t roam freely unless, of course, they’re confined on personal property.

The South Williamsport Borough of Administration says this is a by-product of dogs escaping their properties then attacking other dogs. This can result in expensive veterinarian fines, or even the death of the victim’s pet.

Since 2019, South Williamsport has reported at least half a dozen dog attacks and hope that this new penalty will prevent any more attacks from happening.

“These attacks, these injuries to other domestic animals, these injuries to other human beings are over. So be prepared to spend a lot of money before a magistrate and potentially 30 days in county prison,” said Steve Cappelli, borough manager and director of public safety.

Cappelli says the borough can’t single out any specific breeds, but all owners are responsible for the behavior of their dogs.

He’s encouraging residents to report any dogs acting aggressively, seen roaming without a leash and to document any attacks.

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