Sunday, July 13, 2014

Dog license purchases on the rise in county

June 30. 2013 11:15PM


State law requires all dogs three months and older to be licensed each year.

Owners who fail to license their dogs could face a find of up to $300 for each unlicensed dog.

An annual dog license is $8.45 or $6.45 if the dog is spayed or neutered.

Lifetime licenses are also available for dogs that have a permanent identification, like a microchip or tattoo: $51.45 for a non-neutered or spayed pet and $31.45 for a neutered or spayed pet.

Older Pennsylvanians and people with disabilities may be eligible for discounts.

Licenses can be purchased at the county treasurer’s office in the Luzerne County Courthouse, at participating retailers and online at

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WILKES-BARRE – Thanks to the implementation of a website where customers can purchase dog licenses, the Luzerne County Treasurer’s Office expects to see an increase in sales this year.

It’s an increase that the state Department of Agriculture has seen recently, too, with more than 100,000 dogs being licensed statewide in March alone.

According to the county treasurer’s office, 29,984 individual licenses were sold in 2011, compared to 23,654 in 2012.

As of the end of May the office has sold 22,476 licenses, which includes senior/disabled licenses, lifetime licenses and licenses sold online.

“We’re thrilled the county manager (Robert Lawton) switched to an online dog license application. Sales are doing so well. We are going to sell more than last year,” county treasurer office manager Laura Beers said.

The online purchasing of dog licenses, which can be done at, began in Luzerne County on April 19. Since that date, the county has recieved 684 license purchases online alone.

“We weren’t even advertising it and we were getting sales,” Beers said.

Here’s how it works: A dog owner fills out an application online, pays the amount for an annual or lifetime license, plus a $2 fee that goes to the company that runs the website. In the morning, the county treasurer’s office downloads a file of sales, prints out paper licenses and mails metal dog licenses to owners.

“That’s 684 we didn’t have to type in. We just pressed a button and folded,” Beers said. “We couldn’t be happier.”

Beers said 13 counties this year have so far reported an increase in purchased dog licenses due to the website, which services a total of 32 counties, including Luzerne County.

Statewide Pennsylvania pet owners licensed 124,555 dogs in March, exceeding a 100,000 goal.

After exceeding the goal, pet retailer PetSmart donated $10,000 to Susquehanna Service Dogs, a non-profit organization that trains and provides service and hearing dogs that help children and adults with special needs become more independent.

Dog licenses are important, Beers said, because it is state law to license your dog. Licenses keep track of how many dogs live in a municipality and they help locate lost pets.

Beers said if a dog is lost and has a county license, residents can call the treasurer’s office during regular business hours to help identify the dog.

If it is after hours, Beers said, there is a non-emergency number police departments can call so that a 911 communications worker can access the county database to identify the dog.

“(Licenses) help get dogs home,” Beers said.

Pet owners sometimes think they don’t need a license if their dog normally stays indoors or on a leash, but the fact is, Beers said, that it’s a state law and relatively cheap to purchase a dog license in Pennsylvania compared to other states.

Beers said she often gets questioned as to why cats do not have to be licensed, to which she replies that it is a matter of enforcement.

There are typically many stray cats in an area as well as cats that are pets, and it can be hard to enforce a cat licensing law.


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