Pennsylvania

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PA - Dog Law - Chapter 8. Dogs (consolidated dog laws)

These statutes represent Pennsylvania's Dog Law, and contain provisions related to licensing, rabies quarantines, kennels, and the dangerous dog chapter.  The significant features of the law include a statewide control requirement for dogs (Section 305) and provisions for "dangerous dogs" (Section 501 et. seq.).  Under the latter, any person may kill any dog which he sees in the act of pursuing or wounding or killing any domestic animal, including household pets, or pursuing, wounding or attacking human beings, whether or not such a dog bears a required license tag.  There is no liability on such persons in damages or otherwise for such killing.

PA - Dog - § 550. General immunity from noise


This Pennsylvania statute provides that a

ll owners and operators of dog training and special retriever training areas licensed by the Pennsylvania Game Commission shall be exempt and immune from any civil action or criminal prosecution in any manner relating to noise provided they were and remain in compliance with any applicable noise control laws or ordinances at the time the permit for establishment of the training area was authorized.

PA - Disaster - State Emergency Managment Plan The Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA) says its mission is to "save lives, reduce suffering, and protect property and the environment by leading and coordinating Commonwealth agencies and resources to prevent, protect, prepare, respond and recover from any man-made or natural disaster." The issue of animals in disaster are dealt with in Emergency Support Function #11 - Agriculture and Natural Resources Annex (2015). This detailed document also covers issue of food safety and security during disasters.
PA - Dangerous - § 459-507-A. Construction of article (dangerous dogs)


This Pennsylvania statute provides the construction of the dangerous dog chapter in the state.  It outlines the exceptions under the dangerous dog law as well as the enforcement procedure for one who is attacked by such dog.  It also specifically states that any provisions of local ordinances relating to dangerous dogs are hereby abrogated.  Further, a local ordinance otherwise dealing with dogs may not prohibit or otherwise limit a specific breed of dog.

PA - Cruelty - § 5536. Tethering of unattended dog This statute describes specific circumstances under which the tethering of an unattended dog outdoors may create a rebuttable presumption that the dog has been neglected. A dog tethered for less than nine hours in a 24-hour period with potable water, an area of shade, a tether at least three times the length of the dog with a swivel anchor and a well-fitted collar is not presumed to be neglect, unless tethered for more than a half hour in temperatures above 90 degrees or below 32 degrees. The statute is effective as of August 2017.
PA - Cruelty - Consolidated Cruelty Statutes This document contains Pennsylvania's anti-cruelty laws that were amended in 2017 and 2018. In 2018, the state added a rescue and immunity provision for dogs and cats in "hot cars." Section 5532 covers neglect of animal and states that a person who has care of animal must provide: (1) necessary sustenance and potable water; (2) access to clean and sanitary shelter and protection from the weather; and (3) necessary veterinary care. Violation is a summary offense unless the violation causes bodily injury or puts the animal in imminent danger of bodily injury (then, it is a misdemeanor of third degree). A person commits cruelty to animals (Sec. 5533) if he or she intentionally, knowingly or recklessly illtreats, overloads, beats, abandons or abuses an animal. Aggravated cruelty is provided by Sec. 5534 and is defined as torture, or neglect or cruelty that causes serious bodily injury or death of an animal. Such conduct is a felony of the third degree. Another section creates legal presumptions with regard to tethering of a dog that relate to the length of time tethered, the type of collar/tether, and even the outside temperature (both low and high temperatures). Section 5539 makes it unlawful to transport an equine animal in or upon a vehicle with two or more levels stacked on top of one another. The state also prohibits the cropping of dogs' ears, debarking of dogs, docking of dogs' tails, performance of surgical births of dogs, and declawing of cats by persons other than veterinary doctors while the animals are anesthetized. Animal fighting is prohibited in the chapter as a felony of the third degree. Other provisions concern selling of dog and cat pelts, live animals as prizes, and harassment of service and police animals. Exemptions under the act include state game/hunting laws, the killing of a dog or cat in accordance with the Animal Destruction Method Authorization Law, the killing of an animal found pursuing domestic animals/fowl, destruction of public nuisance dogs, pest control, "[s]hooting activities not otherwise prohibited under this subchapter," and the authorized use of research animals.
PA - Cruelty - Chapter 37. Humane Society Police Officers.


These statutes enable and regulate Pennsylvania's grant of police powers to humane society agents. Topics within these statutes include the appointment, termination, powers granted to, and training of humane society police officers.

PA - Assistance Animals - Assistance Animal/Guide Dog Laws


The following statutes comprise the state's relevant assistance animal and guide dog laws.

Muehlieb v. City of Philadelphia


In this case, the city of Philadelphia filed a suit against a homeowner seeking to restrain her from violating the health, housing and zoning provisions of city code by owning more than ten dogs.  On appeal, the homeowner challenged the local ordinance as being preempted by the state Dog Law.  The Commonwealth Court held that the state Dog Law, which permitted holder of private kennel class I license to house up to 50 animals did not preempt city's animal control law which set limit of 12 dogs, and the homeowner's housing of 20 dogs was a public nuisance that the city could enjoin.

Miller v. Peraino


The incident generating this dispute after two veterinary assistants claimed that Miller viciously beat plaintiff's dog Nera to death because he was having difficulty getting the dog from the basement recovery room to the waiting area upstairs where the dog would be picked up.  The sole issue on this appeal is the dismissal of plaintiff's cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress resulting from both the dog's death and the veterinarian's behavior during plaintiff's picketing of his business.  Relying on both the Restatement (Second) of Torts and a prior decision inDaughen v. Fox, the court held that intentional infliction of emotional distress cannot legally be founded upon a veterinarian's behavior toward an animal. 

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