How Many Dogs/Cats Can You Own in Pennsylvania?

How many dogs or cats are considered too much in Pennsylvania? As a pet enthusiast, you might be tempted to own as many dogs or cats as possible in Pennsylvania State. In my humble opinion, there is nothing wrong with this as long as you have the space, time, and money to properly care for them. However, to reduce animal-transmitted diseases and dog behavior problems in apartments, your municipality or county may have a limit on the number of dogs or cats you can keep in your house.

How many dogs or cats are allowed per household in Pennsylvania?

Golden Retriever puppies

Pennsylvania does not have a state-level law that limits the number of dogs or cats each resident can keep in their house. However, the county or city in which you live may not allow more than a certain number of pets per household. If you live in the city of Pittsburgh, for example, you are not allowed to keep more than five pets, either cats or dogs or a combination of the two, in your house. In addition, Pennsylvania law requires that all dogs 3 months of age or older be licensed by January 1st of every year. For more info on this, read: "Licensing your dog in Pennsylvania." Owners do not have to license their cats in The Keystone State.

In Adams County, PA, the number of dogs or cats you can own depends on your property size and zone district. For instance, you can own 8 dogs and 8 cats if you live on a property of fewer than 10-35+ acres in an agricultural area in Adams County. However, you can't have more than 5 cats and 4 dogs if you live on a property of less than 5-10 acres in a residential estate. See the full chart below:

Chart about the number of dogs and cats allowed per household in Adams County, Pennsylvania

The above chart sums up the maximum number of dogs and cats allowed on a property based on a zone district and property size regulation. Furthermore, you can house more than 25 dogs in Pennsylvania with a Kennel license. However, to be sure you're in compliance, you should check with your local municipality. 

Breed Restrictions in Pennsylvania

The Pitbull is the most commonly restricted dog breed in Pennsylvania. Pitbulls are banned or deemed vicious in a few Pennsylvania cities and towns including Clairton in Allegheny County, Collingdale in Delaware County, Glenolden in Delaware County, Deerfield in Tioga County, and Marple in Delaware County.

The maximum number of dogs and cats allowed in some Pennsylvania cities and Counties

I have already mentioned Adams County earlier.

  • Pittsburgh, Allegheny County, PA: 5 dogs or 5 cats
  • Berks County, PA: 4 pets (dogs or cats)
  • Altoona, Blair County, PA: 2 dogs and 3 cats
  • Falls Township, Bucks County, PA: 4 dogs and 6 cats
  • Weatherly, Carbon County, PA: No more than 4 pets
  • Bloomsburg, Columbia County, PA: 3 cats or dogs
  • Harrisburg, Dauphin County, PA: 5 dogs or cats
  • Clarks Summit, Lackawanna County, PA: 6 pets
  • Manheim Township, Lancaster County, PA: 5 dogs or cats
  • Luzerne County, PA: 3 dogs or cats
  • Jersey Shore, Lycoming County, PA: 4 dogs or cats
  • Sharon, Mercer County, PA: 4 dogs or cats
  • Northampton, Northampton County, PA: 6 cats or dogs
  • Milford, Pike County, PA: 4 dogs or cats
  • Pottsville, Schuylkill County, PA: 4 cats or dogs
  • Wellsboro, Tioga County, PA: 4 dogs or cats

Pet Owners' Views on Ordinances Regulating the Number of Dogs and Cats

5 Golden Retriever dogs

Pets, especially dogs and cats, are like family members to virtually every pet owner. As such, you can keep as many cats or dogs as possible provided that you have the space, time, and money to take care of them. And if such is the case, why should any pet owner be restricted? Moreover, who decides when to take a pet owner's dogs away if he or she is deemed to own too many of them?

Every story has two sides. On one side of the scale, a resident may be asking what to do about the noise his or her neighbor’s ten dogs are making. Another resident may not know how to control the smell coming out of the house of the neighbor that owns twenty felines. Furthermore, a landlord may be wondering if he or she doesn't have a right to protect his or her property value.

On the other side of the scale, a municipality may come up with pet ownership regulations in an attempt to theoretically reconcile the sometimes conflicting interests of property owners and pet owners. Actually, some of the most common exercises of municipal authorities are pet restrictions. In Pennsylvania and many other states, pet-number restriction laws are being enacted in more and more municipalities. At this point, you may be asking which side of the scale weighs more.

Pet-number restrictions advocates argue that such measures result in quietude and freedom from nuisance for property owners. Indeed, pet restrictions have increased lately due to recent reports of increased dog bites and noise complaints throughout the country.

However, dog owners claim that such regulations are unnecessary, arguing that they have no impact on the control of nuisances or people's safety. According to them, one dog barking may be just as irritating as ten dogs and it only takes one dog to bite.


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