Pennsylvania Overreach: Bill Creates Building Code for Dog Houses

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Pennsylvania dog owners will no longer be able to keep their dog outside for more than 30 minutes unless a shelter is provided that is built to the specifics laid out in Senate Bill 551, sponsored by Sen. Kim L. Ward (R-Greensburg). SB 551 has been assigned to the Senate Judiciary Committee where it awaits a hearing.


Take Action Today! Pennsylvania sportsmen should call their state senator and ask them to vote NO on SB 551. Members can find their state senator by using the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Action Directory.


Under the recently introduced bill, people would not be allowed to keep their dogs outside even during perfect weather unless the dog has access to shelter that meets a strict building code. That code stipulates that the shelter be waterproof and windproof, built three inches off the ground, out of material that does not conduct heat or cold and with a 6-inch awning covering the entrance.

The outdoor dog ban would apply to fenced-in backyards, even if they have big shade trees. It would apply to fenced-in runs at dog kennels. It would apply to a partly cloudy day with a 70-degree temperature. Senate Bill 551 would also ban hay, blankets, or other materials that can retain moisture, no matter how frequently the bedding is changed.   

“While sportsmen support laws that prevent cruelty and neglect of all animals, it’s a major overreach to ban people from allowing their dogs to stay outside in this manner,” said Bruce Tague, vice president of government affairs for Sportsmen’s Alliance. “Dogs are well suited to spend a lot of time outdoors, and the last thing Pennsylvania needs is to enact an onerous building code for dog houses.”

Senate Bill 551 also reduces the time a dog may be tethered outside during severe weather or during times when it is above 90 degrees or below 32 degrees from 30 minutes to just 15. The bill provides an exemption to this provision for hunting dogs. 

About the Sportsmen’s Alliance: The Sportsmen’s Alliance protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research.  Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. Stay connected to Sportsmen’s Alliance: OnlineFacebookTwitter and Instagram.