City of Harrisburg, PA
Dauphin County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Harrisburg by Ord. No. 11-1992. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 3-501.1 Purpose.

A. 
This subtitle is enacted to regulate the maintenance, keeping or possession of animals within the City of Harrisburg in order to promote the health, safety and general welfare of its inhabitants.
B. 
Where the provisions of this subtitle impose greater restrictions than those of any other statute, ordinance, regulation, or resolution, the provisions of this subtitle shall be controlling. Where the provisions of any other statute, ordinance, regulation or resolution impose greater restrictions than this subtitle, the provisions of such other statute, ordinance, regulation, or resolution shall be controlling.
C. 
Together with Title 6, Public Health Code, this subtitle shall be commonly referred to as the "Animal Control Law" of the City.

§ 3-501.2 Definitions.

The following words and phrases, as used in this subtitle and/or rules and regulations adopted pursuant thereto, shall have the following meanings, unless a different meaning is plainly required by the context:
ANIMAL
Any live, vertebrate creature, domestic or wild, except human beings. "Animal" shall be construed in a broad sense to also include birds, fish, reptiles and insects.
ANIMAL CLINIC or ANIMAL HOSPITAL
Any establishment maintained and operated by a licensed veterinarian for immunization, surgery and/or diagnosis and treatment of diseases of and injuries to animals.
ANIMAL CONTROL SECTION
That section of the Bureau of Police created for the control of animals within the corporate boundaries of the City, the head of which shall be the Chief of Police.
ANIMAL SHELTER
Any premises, or any portion thereof, which is used for the temporary or permanent harboring, care, confinement, or detention of lost, stray, ill, or injured animals.
AT LARGE
Any dog, cat or other animal that is intentionally or negligently off the property of its owner, or not under restraint as defined herein, or not under the immediate physical control of the owner, keeper or another competent person capable of physically restraining the animal.
[Amended 9-28-2004 by Ord. No. 33-2004]
BREEDER
Any person, association, organization, entity or institution which houses or maintains dogs or cats for the purpose of reproduction for sale or exchange, show or training.
CAGE
Any interior enclosure of limited space, enclosed on the bottom and on all four sides by either solid walls or otherwise, in which animals or other creatures are placed for any purpose, including confinement or display. No cage shall be enclosed entirely by solid walls.
CARNIVOROUS
Meat eating, as applied to predatory animals, wild by nature, as distinguished from the common domestic animals, whether or not such animal was bred or reared in captivity.
CAT
Any member of the genus and species known as "Felis domesticus."
CATTERY
Any indoor housing facility wherein cats are kept for the purpose of leasing, buying, sale, boarding, show, breeding, exchange, or placement as pets or other similar purpose and is so constructed that the cats cannot stray therefrom.
DOG
Any member of the genus and species known as "Canis familiaris."
FOSTER HOME
Any person or residence that takes in stray or unknown dogs and cats for the purpose of rehabilitating and placing them free of charge.
HEALTHFUL
A condition, appropriate to the particular species of animal involved, which is hygienic and conducive to the maintenance of the animal's well-being and the prevention of disease.
HUMANE AGENCY
A duly incorporated animal protection or animal welfare organization.
HUMANE AGENT
A representative of a duly incorporated animal protection or animal welfare organization.
IMPOUND
The action by the Police Bureau or authorized local agency to apprehend, catch, trap, net, or, if necessary, kill any animal.
KENNEL
Any indoor housing facility wherein dogs are kept for the purpose of breeding, hunting, training, leasing, buying, boarding, sale, show, exchange, or placement as pets or other similar purpose and is so constructed that dogs cannot stray therefrom.
MAMMAL
Any of the mammalia class of higher vertebrates comprising animals that nourish their young with milk secreted from mammary glands and have the skin more or less covered with hair. For purposes of this subtitle, man is excluded from the term "mammal."
NUISANCE ANIMAL
Any animal whose conduct disturbs the rights of, or threatens the safety of, or injures a member of the general public or another animal, or interferes with the ordinary use and enjoyment of property with such intensity so as to constitute a continuing injury, annoyance, inconvenience or discomfort to the public health, safety or welfare. Frequency of conduct may be a factor in determining a nuisance; however, one incident may be sufficient to declare an animal to be a nuisance animal.
[Added 9-28-2004 by Ord. No. 33-2004]
OWNER
When applied to the proprietorship of a dog or cat, every person having a right of property in such dog or cat, every person who keeps or harbors such dog or cat or has it in his or her care, and every person who permits such dog or cat to remain on or about any premises occupied by him or her. "Owner" is also any person who keeps, has temporary or permanent custody of, possesses, harbors, regularly feeds, exercises control over, or has a property right in any animal, livestock or fowl regulated by this subtitle, provided that veterinary hospitals, animal clinics, commercial kennels and pet shops and their employees shall not be construed to be owners.
PET SHOP
Any business or person that acquires dogs and/or cats for the purpose of resale, whether as owner, agent or consignee.
PRIMARY ENCLOSURE
A structure used to immediately restrict a dog or cat to a limited amount of space, such as a room, pen, run, cage, crate, or compartment.
RESTRAINT or RESTRAINED
The state of being secured or controlled by leash or chain or when a dog, cat or other animal is not confined within the real property limits of its owner's premises by a building or appropriate transportation device. This definition shall not apply to animals participating in field trials or obedience classes organized and sanctioned by nationally recognized animal clubs, animals assisting disabled persons (i.e., guide dogs), animals assisting peace officers engaged in law enforcement duties or while being trained for law enforcement purposes, or an animal on its owner's property, so long as such animal is under the direct and effective sound and gesture control and is within sight and sound of its owner, or such individuals noted above, and the animal does not violate any of the provisions of these ordinances.
[Amended 9-28-2004 by Ord. No. 33-2004; 5-14-2013 by Ord. No. 7-2013]
VETERINARIAN
A doctor of veterinary medicine who has graduated from an accredited and recognized school of veterinary medicine and possesses a license to practice veterinary medicine.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: The definition of "wild animal" which immediately followed this definition was repealed 10-22-1996 by Ord. No. 16-1996.

§ 3-501.3 Creation of Animal Control Section.

There is hereby created an Animal Control Section in the Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Police, the head of which shall be the Chief of Police. The Police Chief may appoint or employ an animal control officer and such other assistants and employees as may be necessary for the proper performance of the duties and functions of the Animal Control Section and may delegate to them such powers and duties as deemed proper.

§ 3-501.4 General powers.

A. 
The Chief of Police may adopt and promulgate rules and regulations concerning the care and control of animals and facilities covered by this subtitle in accordance therewith. The Chief, with the approval of the Council, may establish license fees to be paid annually by any person or other legal entity seeking a license for any animal that is required to be licensed under the provisions of this subtitle and may establish permit fees to be paid annually by any person or other legal entity seeking a permit for a kennel, an animal clinic or hospital, an animal shelter, or any similar commercial establishment within the corporate limits of the City. The Chief, with approval of the Council, may establish other fees and charges as authorized in this subtitle.
B. 
The Chief of Police, with the approval of the Council, may establish a fee for the removal or disposition of every dead animal by the Animal Control Section, or by any other agency or employee of the City, from the premises of or for the benefit of any private property within the corporate limits of the City, or any private animal clinic or hospital, veterinarian's office, or any similar private institution, society, or agency.
C. 
The Chief of Police may suspend or revoke any permit or license issued pursuant to this subtitle if the person issued such permit fails to comply with the provisions of this subtitle, the rules and regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, and any other provisions of the Codified Ordinances or statutes of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania governing the care and control of animals and facilities.
D. 
The Chief of Police or a designated representative may, at any time, inspect all animals and the premises where animals are kept, provided that the inspection is made in conformity with the provisions of these Codified Ordinances and all other statutes applicable hereto.
E. 
Those employees or agents of the City charged with the duty of chasing running animals may pursue such animals onto City-owned property, vacated property and unenclosed private property.
F. 
The Chief of Police shall, upon complaint, determine if an animal, owner, animal shelter, or commercial animal establishment is in violation of this subtitle.
G. 
The Chief of Police shall, upon written request, consider and decide, in public meeting, whether to issue or reinstate a license or permit which has been denied, suspended or revoked.
H. 
Any person aggrieved by any action or refusal of action by the Chief of Police under the provisions of this subtitle may appeal the matter to the magisterial district judge of appropriate jurisdiction who shall hear the matter de novo. The magisterial district judge may affirm, reverse, or modify the action of the Chief of Police.

§ 3-501.5 Violation notice, hearing and appeal.

A. 
Whenever the Chief of Police has reason to believe that a provision of this subtitle has been violated, he or she may cause written notice to be served upon the alleged violator. Such notice shall specify the provision(s) of this subtitle alleged to have been violated and the facts alleged to constitute a violation and shall include an order that corrective action be taken within a reasonable time. Any such order shall become final unless the person named therein requests, in writing, a hearing within 10 days of the issuance of the notice.
B. 
Upon request for a hearing, the Chief of Police or a designated hearing officer shall hold a hearing at which all parties shall have the opportunity to be represented by legal counsel. Within 15 days following the hearing, the Chief of Police shall issue a written opinion affirming, modifying or rescinding the order previously issued. The written opinion shall state the evidence upon which the decision is based and shall include a notice of the right of any aggrieved party to enter an appeal to the magisterial district judge with appropriate jurisdiction.
C. 
If corrective action is not taken by the violator within the time specified in an order made pursuant to this section and an appeal is not taken, the right to hearing will be deemed waived, and the violator shall be issued a citation and summons by the magisterial district judge with appropriate jurisdiction.
D. 
All notices of violation(s) or other notices shall be served by regular mail or in person by an employee of the Bureau of Police or any other employee of the Department of Public Safety. In lieu of said service, a copy of the notice may be posted conspicuously upon the premises of the animal owner, keeper or possessor. Service by mail is deemed complete if said notice is mailed to the last known address of the recipient and is not returned as undeliverable.
E. 
The Chief of Police shall review all licenses issued to animal owners to whom notice of three or more ordinance violations has been issued in a twelve-month period, and consideration shall be given to suspending or revoking such licenses.