The Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement will canvass Schuylkill County throughout this month as part of its efforts to ensure Pennsylvania's dogs are licensed, vaccinated, and safe.

State law requires that all dogs three months of age and older be licensed by Jan. 1 of each year. The fee is $6 for each spayed and neutered dog and $8 for other dogs. Senior citizens and persons with disabilities may purchase a license for $4 for spayed and neutered dogs and $6 for other dogs.

Additionally, rabies vaccinations are required for all dogs and any cat (that enters a human dwelling) over three months of age.

The maximum fine per violation of the licensing requirement and rabies law is $300. Court costs may also be assessed.

According to officials with the bureau, ensuring your dog is licensed with up-to-date vaccinations is the surest way to keep your pet safe and healthy.

For instance, if a dog gets lost, having a current license is the fastest way for it to be reunited with its owner. Dogs that lack a current license could be transferred to shelters far from their homes and adopted by other families if the original owner cannot be identified.

Dog licenses are available through the Schuylkill County Treasurer, Jacqueline V. McGovern, 401 N. Second St., Pottsville, PA 17901; (570) 628-1433 or at the agents listed below.

Agents include: Abrachinsky's in Shenandoah; Brookside Animal Hospital, Orwigsburg; Blue Mountain Animal Clinic, New Ringgold; Carole Gundrum, Schuylkill Haven; Coaldale Borough, c/o Mark Richards, Coaldale; Cressona Country Store, Cressona; Custom Creations, Saint Clair; Kiefers Mill Inc., Hegins; Lehr's Feed Store, Pine Grove; Mountain Shadow, Schuylkill Haven; Paw Prints Pet Salon, Orwigsburg; Pribilla Home Center, Tower City; Pribilla Home Center 2, Tremont; Ruth Steinert Memorial SPCA, Minersville; Sandy's Bark-n-Purr, Tamaqua; Sasha's K-9 Bakery, Minersville; Standard Drug Store, McAdoo; Tom's Auto and Marine, Tamaqua; Warren Lane, Ashland; and Yablonsky's, Ringtown.

All dogs must be under control and are not permitted to run at-large.

Complaints may be reported to state Dog Law Enforcement officer Francis J. Cremia at (570) 628-2007.

For more information, contact the Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement at (717) 787-3062.

To report unlicensed dog kennels or unsatisfactory kennel conditions, call the confidential toll-free tip line at 1-877-DOG-TIP1.