Township of Upper Merion, PA
Montgomery County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Supervisors of Upper Merion Township as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Dogs in parks — See Ch. 115, Art. V.
[Adopted 6-1-1987 by Ord. No. 87-507]
This article shall be known and may be cited as the "Dog and Cat Ordinance of Upper Merion Township."
For the purposes of this article, the following words shall have the indicated meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
AT LARGE
Off the premises of the owner and not under the control of the owner, a member of his or her immediate family or an agent of the owner either by leash, cord, chain or otherwise within control of such person so that at all times the dog can be prevented from causing any damage, disturbance or annoyance.
[Added 5-20-1999 by Ord. No. 99-683]
CAT
That genus and species known as "Felis catus" which spends any part of any twenty-four-hour day in a residence inhabited by a human being.
DISEASE
Hydrophobia, commonly called "rabies."
DOG
That genus and species known as "Canis familiaris."
ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL
The township's Animal Control Officer or the township's Police Department.
[Added 5-20-1999 by Ord. No. 99-683]
OWNER
Any person, firm or corporation who or which owns, possesses, maintains, houses or keeps any dog or dogs or cat or cats within Upper Merion Township, whether for compensation or otherwise.
TOWNSHIP
Upper Merion Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania.
The owner of every dog within the township shall keep such dog at all times either:
A. 
Confined within an enclosure from which it cannot escape or retained upon the owner's property:
B. 
Firmly secured by means of a collar and chain or leash or other device so that it cannot stray beyond the premises on which it is secured; or
C. 
Under reasonable control when engaged in walking, running, exhibition, field training or other lawful activity.
[Added 5-20-1999 by Ord. No. 99-683]
No person having possession, custody or control of any dog or other animal shall permit any dog or other animal to commit a nuisance whereby said animal defecates upon any gutter, street, driveway, alley, curb or sidewalk in the township, or upon the floors or stairways of any building or place frequented by the public or used in common by the tenants, or upon the outside walls, walkways, driveways, alleys, curbs or stairways or any building abutting on a public street or park, or upon the grounds of any public park or public area or upon any private property other than the property of the owner of such animal.
[Added 5-20-1999 by Ord. No. 99-683]
Any person having possession, custody or control of any dog or other animal, which animal commits a nuisance by defecating in any area other than the private property of the owner of such dog or other animal, as prohibited in § 73-3.1, shall be required to immediately remove the excrement from such surface and either:
A. 
Carry the same away for disposal in a toilet, or
B. 
Place the same in a nonleaking container for deposit in a trash or litter receptacle.
[Added 5-20-1999 by Ord. No. 99-683]
Guide dogs accompanying a blind person, dogs used to assist any other physically disabled person or dogs used in any Police or Fire Department activities shall be exempt from the provisions of this article.
It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dog or cat to permit such dog or cat to run at large within the township.
It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dog or keeper of any dog to permit such dog to jump or attack any human being or any domesticated animal or damage any personal property, including but not confined to damage resulting from placing urine or excrement on grass, shrubs, trees, flower or any other form of vegetation not owned by or in possession of the dog owner or dog keeper.
A. 
In any case where a dog or cat attacks a human being, breaking that person's skin, such dog or cat shall be secured, confined and isolated by the owner or the proper officer of the township in a veterinarian hospital of the owner's choice at the owner's expense or isolated at the owner's residence or other place designated by the owner.
B. 
All dogs or cats so detained shall be isolated for a ten-day period from the date of the attack for the purpose of determining whether or not the dog or cat is rabid. Any costs or damages resulting from an attack or confinement shall be at the owner's expense.
C. 
Within 10 days following termination of the confinement of the dog or cat, the owner shall submit to the township an investigative report on forms provided by the township. Within 10 days following determination of the confinement of the dog or cat, the owner shall notify the attack victim of the medical results of the offending dog's or cat's confinement. The report submitted to the township and the notification submitted to the attack victim shall contain a report from a licensed veterinarian.
D. 
When a dog that bites or attacks a human being is a guide dog for the blind, a hearing dog for the deaf, an aid dog for the handicapped or a police work-dog in the performance of duties, said dog need not be confined if it is under the active supervision of a licensed veterinarian.
It shall be unlawful for any dog owner to permit any such dog to emit disturbing noises or sounds of such frequent occurrence or nature as to annoy nearby residents or constitute a public nuisance.
Every owner shall arrange for and cause his dog or cat to be inoculated by or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian against the disease. Dogs or cats owned and maintained by research facilities for research purposes shall not be required to be inoculated under the terms of this article.
Within five days after a dog or cat becomes three months of age, every owner shall arrange for and cause for his or her dog or cat to be inoculated by or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian against the disease.
Within 30 days after the arrival of any dog or cat within the township, every owner shall arrange for and cause his or her dog or cat to be inoculated by or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian against the disease, unless said dog or cat has been previously inoculated.
Within three years after the last previous inoculation against said disease, every owner shall arrange for and cause his or her dog or cat to be reinoculated by or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian against said disease. Those dogs or cats vaccinated prior to one year of age shall be considered protected only for one year and shall be reinoculated within one year of the dog's or cat's first inoculation and every three years thereafter.
In the case of dogs and cats known to have been bitten by a rabid animal, the following rules shall apply:
A. 
Unvaccinated dogs or cats.
(1) 
In the case of dogs or cats which are not vaccinated in accordance with §§ 73-8, 73-9, 73-10 and 73-11 of this article and which have been bitten by a known rabid animal, said bitten (exposed) dog or cat shall be immediately destroyed.
(2) 
If the owner is unwilling to destroy the bitten (exposed) dog or cat, strict isolation of the dog or cat in a kennel under veterinary supervision for a minimum of six months at the owner's expense shall be required.
B. 
Dogs or cats which have been inoculated in accordance with §§ 73-8, 73-9, 73-10 and 73-11 of this article shall be handled as follows:
(1) 
The dog or cat shall be immediately revaccinated and confined as required in § 73-3 of this article for a period of 30 days following reinoculation.
(2) 
If the dog or cat is not immediately reinoculated, the dog or cat shall be confined in strict isolation in a kennel for six months under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian at the owner's expense.
(3) 
The dog or cat shall be destroyed if the owner does not comply with Subsection B(1) or (2) above.
A. 
It shall be the duty of every police officer or other authorized official of the township to seize and detain any dog or cat which has not been inoculated as herein required or which is running at large as herein prohibited.
B. 
The officials of the township shall cause any dog or cat so seized and detained to be properly kept and fed and shall give immediate notice, either personally or by registered or certified mail, to the person in whose name a dog license was procured, if said dog is licensed, or to any person whose identity is ascertainable from a tag on the dog or cat to claim such dog or cat within five days after notice. The owner or claimant shall also pay all reasonable expenses incurred by reason of the dog's or cat's detention. If the dog or cat has not been inoculated pursuant to the terms of this article, the owner shall arrange for and cause the dog or cat to be inoculated by or under the supervision of a licensed veterinarian against the disease before the dog or cat is returned.
C. 
The enforcement official, in enforcing the provisions of this article, may apprehend a dog found on public or private property. However, prior to entering on private property, an enforcement official shall make a reasonable attempt to obtain permission from the property's owner or occupant.
[Added 5-20-1999 by Ord. No. 99-683]
Each owner shall retain in his or her possession satisfactory proof that his or her dog or cat has been properly inoculated against the disease as required by this article.
A. 
Where a dog or cat seized wears a license tag or is otherwise identifiable and if, after five days from the giving of notice as prescribed by § 73-13, such dog or cat has not been claimed, the proper official of the township shall dispose of such dog or cat by transporting the dog or cat to the nearest Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals facility or another similar humane facility or by otherwise providing for the destruction of the dog or cat in some humane manner.
B. 
Where the dog or cat seized wears no license tag or is otherwise unidentifiable, such dog or cat shall, after five days of detention, be disposed of in accordance with the provisions of Subsection A above.
C. 
Any dog seized or impounded under the provisions of this article shall be released only on payment of a $25 impoundment fee; provided, however, that any dog impounded for the second time in any twelve-month period shall be released only on payment of $50, and if so captured for a third offense in any twelve-month period, it shall be released only upon payment of $75. In addition to the impounding fees charged herein, there shall be a boarding charge of $15 per day during which the dog is impounded.
[Added 5-20-1999 by Ord. No. 99-683]
D. 
The Board of Supervisors is hereby empowered to increase the impoundment fees and boarding charges provided for in this section by appropriate resolution. The Board of Supervisors may make such increases in said fees and charges as it deems appropriate and necessary from time to time.
[Amended 5-20-1999 by Ord. No. 99-683]
[Amended 12-31-1991 by Ord. No. 91-593]
Any person, firm or corporation who shall violate a provision of this article shall be liable, upon summary conviction, to a fine or penalties as set forth in Article III, General Penalty Provisions, of Chapter 1, General Provisions, which fines and penalties may be collected by suit or by summary proceeding brought in the name of Upper Merion Township before any District Justice or recoverable as debts of a like amount are now by law recoverable. Proceedings for the violation of this article and for the collection of fines and penalties imposed thereby may be commenced by warrant or by summons, at the discretion of the District Justice before whom the proceeding is begun. All fines and penalties collected for the violation of this article shall be paid over to the township treasury. Upon judgment against any person by summary conviction, all proceedings by summons on a default of the payment of the fine or penalty imposed and the cost, the defendant may be sentenced and committed to the township lockup for a period of not exceeding five days or the county jail for a period of not exceeding 30 days.
Ordinance No. 67-201, as amended, and all other ordinances or resolutions or parts thereof insofar as they are inconsistent with this article are hereby repealed.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to affect any suit or proceeding pending in any court or any rights acquired or liability incurred or any permit issued or any cause or causes of action existing prior to this article.