Dog warden to canvas Butler County neighborhoods for violations

| Saturday, March 22, 2014, 2:16 p.m.

Beginning in April, Butler County's dog warden will canvas neighborhoods to make sure dog owners are complying with the state's dog law.

“With canvassing, it's a concerted effort in each neighborhood to go around making sure they don't see any dogs without licenses and that they have rabies booster tags,” said Samantha Krepps, spokeswoman for the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, which oversees the state's dog law.

The canvassing in April follows a publicity campaign in March, which the department designates as dog law awareness month, to increase dog license sales and inform people of the consequences of not obeying the law, said Krepps.

All dogs 3 months of age and older are required, by law, to be licensed by Jan. 1 of each year in Pennsylvania. The maximum fine for failing to license a dog is $300.

The cost of an annual license is $8.45 for unaltered dogs and $6.45 if the pet is spayed or neutered.

Attempts to reach Ken Rudisil, Butler County's dog warden, were not successful.

So far this year, there have been eight citations filed in Butler County for all types of dog law enforcement violations, including failure to license, dogs running at large, kennel violations and having a dangerous dog, Krepps said.

There were 101 citations reported in Butler County in 2013 and 4,077 citations across the state, according to the 2013 Dog Law Annual Report released by the Dog Law Enforcement Office.

State Agriculture Secretary George Greig stopped at the Butler County Humane Society on March 14 to remind residents about the importance of licensing dogs.

Keeping dogs licensed is not only the law, but it's the easiest way to keep a pet safe if it gets lost or runs away from home.

“This little piece of metal is the dog's ticket home in case it runs off,” said Butler County Treasurer Diane Marburger, who sells the licenses in her office, but they are also available online or at one of 12 local licensing agencies.

Marburger said her office sold more than 20,000 licenses for 2014, about on par with previous year's sales. She hopes the state and countywide awareness campaign will give a boost in license sales.

“The wardens don't want to fine anyone. They just want your dog licensed,” she said.

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Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or

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