Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary: Consider Facts Before Adopting, Buying Pets This Holiday Season

Dec 13, 2010, 15:54 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture

Encourage Gift of Dog License; Due Jan. 1

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 13, 2010 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Giving or receiving a puppy or other new pet as a gift this holiday season may seem like a great idea, but Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding encouraged consumers to think carefully before adopting or buying pets for others.

"It's easy to get caught up in the excitement of the season, but it's important to make sure the pet is going to a home that is fully prepared to care for it," Redding said. "Pet ownership brings enormous responsibility that continues long after the holiday season fades into a memory."

Redding also noted that animals from shelters or rescues make great pets and can provide years of loyal companionship. Statewide, there are more than 250 humane societies and rescues that have pets available for adoption.

If purchasing a dog from a breeder, ensure the breeder is reputable and visit before buying to inspect the dogs and facilities. To check the breeder's kennel inspection report, or reports for shelters and rescues, visit and click on "Bureaus, Commissions and Councils," then "Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement."

Redding said a license is a great gift for those who already own a dog. In addition to being required, a license often helps lost pets be returned to the owner. State law requires that puppies be at least eight weeks old before being adopted or purchased, and all dogs three months or older be licensed by Jan. 1 each year.

License applications are available at county treasurers' offices. For a list of county treasurers, or a printable license application, visit and click "Forms."

To aid the Department of Agriculture's efforts to enforce the dog law, Pennsylvanians are asked to confidentially report unsatisfactory conditions at kennels or illegal kennel that may be operating in the community. Call the department's toll-free tip line at 1-877-DOG-TIP1 (1-877-364-8471).

Media Contact: Matt Tindall, 717-787-5085

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture