Definition of ‘Owner’ Expanded Under PA Dog Law

Posted on: June 29th, 2012       Attorney Thomas Newell

A 2006 legal decision of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania confirmed the broad scope of the word ‘owner’ as defined by the PA Dog Law.  The Defendant was charged with multiple violations of the PA Dog Law even though she was not the registered owner.  Trial evidence proved that she was feeding and caring for the dogs and permitted them to remain on property where she lived.

Even though she did not own the dogs and nor did she own the property they were on, the court ruled that the Defendant met the definition of owner as stated in Section 102 of the PA Dog Law since she ‘kept or harbored’ the dogs on the premises she occupied.  Commonwealth v. Lopez, 908 A.2d 901 (Pa. Cmwlth. 2006)