Legislation in Pittsburgh Protecting Dogs in Severe Weather

little dog in snow
Miko is properly dressed and supervised for a walk on the trail.

On December 15 Pittsburgh City Council approved and Mayor Bill Peduto signed into law ordinances to protect the welfare of dogs kept outdoors during severe winter weather. Councilwoman Darlene Harris sponsored the two pieces of legislation amending “Pittsburgh City Code at Title 6: Conduct, Article III: – Dogs, Cats and Other Animals, Chapter 633”,  one “providing for and setting forth requirements for outdoor shelters for dogs; and, penalty for violation”, and another “adding a new section at 633.23, providing for the manner by which a dog may be tethered; and, kept outdoors in severe weather conditions.”

The regulations aren’t only for winter weather. Outdoor dogs must be brought inside when temperatures drop below 32 degrees or rise above 90 degrees. The rules specify the size of doghouses, and doghouses or barrels made of metal are explicitly prohibited.

Councilwoman Darlene Harris’s statement on her City Council page reads, “This legislation prohibits pet owners from leaving their dogs outdoors in extreme weather conditions for long periods of time, and provides standards for dog houses, and chains used for tethering.  These ordinances put forward today’s best practices for the humane treatment of dogs, and will give Animal Care and Control officers another tool to address the abuse and neglect of pets in our city.” 

Visit these pages on the City of Pittsburgh website to find the link to the complete explanation for each bill. The links will open up in Microsoft Word.

Providing for the manner by which a dog may be tethered; and, kept outdoors in severe weather conditions.

Providing for and setting forth requirements for outdoor shelters for dogs; and, penalty for violation.

If you see a dog outside in poor conditions or tethered outdoors 24/7, call Pittsburgh Animal Control Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. 412-255-2036, outside of these hours call 412-255-2935, for emergencies call 911 for Pittsburgh police to report the condition under the new laws.

. . . . . . .

Dog Licensing in Pennsylvania due by January 1

But you can still take care of this. It’s quick and pretty inexpensive, and it’s the law that all dogs three months and older to be licensed by January 1 of each year.

An annual dog license is $8.50, or $6.50 if the animal is spayed or neutered. Lifetime licenses are available for dogs that have permanent identification like a microchip or tattoo. Older adults and people with disabilities may be eligible for discounts. The dog license application is simple and only requests owner contact information and details about the dog being licensed, like name, age, breed and color.

Violators can be cited with a maximum fine of $300 per violation plus court costs.

Agriculture Secretary George Greig reminds residents, “Buying a dog license is easy and affordable and it gives owners peace of mind knowing that if their dog gets lost, it’s his ticket home.”

Allegheny County residents can find information and applications through County Treasurer John Weinstein on the Allegheny County website. Residents in other counties can find their licensing agency through www.licenseyourdogPA.com or call the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement Office at 717-787-3062.

Read more articles about Health and Safety and Veterinary Medicine.

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