Senate Committee Advances Phillips-Hill’s Bill to Expand Service Dog Fee Exemptions

Measure Also Addresses Challenges with Out-of-State Dogs Using PA-Based Kennels

HARRISBURG – The Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee approved legislation sponsored by Sen. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) aimed at extending license fee exemptions to service dogs integral to fire departments, sheriff’s offices, and rescue services.

Currently, these exemptions apply solely to municipal and state police departments. Phillip-Hill’s bill seeks to recognize the invaluable contributions of service dogs in various public safety roles, highlighting their role in enhancing sensory capabilities and supporting the mission success of our emergency response teams.

“Service dogs are not just animals; they are essential partners to our public safety and rescue teams. They work tirelessly alongside their handlers, often in perilous situations, to protect and serve our communities,” Phillips-Hill said. “This bill acknowledges their dedication and ensures they receive the recognition they deserve.”

Service dogs play a crucial role in detecting threats, aiding in search and rescue missions, and providing critical support during medical emergencies. The exemption from licensing fees, as proposed in Senate Bill 82, aims to minimize financial barriers for agencies relying on these highly trained animals. The measure was amended in committee to address challenges created by a revision to the state’s dog law that prohibited out-of-state residents from boarding their dogs in Pennsylvania-based kennels.

The bill heads to the full Senate for consideration.

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