Township of Bethlehem, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Bethlehem as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 6-12-1989 by Ord. No. 11-89 (Ch. 10, Part 5, of the 1988 Code)]

§ 85-1 License, collar and tags required.

No person shall own, keep or harbor within the Township any dog six months or older unless such animal is licensed by the Treasurer of Northampton County, Pennsylvania, and unless such dog wears a collar and license tag. This provision is not intended to apply to dogs whose owners are nonresidents and temporarily in the Township nor to any seeing-eye dog or hearing dog properly trained to assist blind persons or hearing impaired persons when such dog is actually used by a blind person or hearing impaired person for the purpose of going from place to place.

§ 85-2 Vaccination of dogs against rabies required.

It shall be unlawful for the owner or custodian of a dog to keep, harbor or have in his custody or control a dog six months or older for longer than 14 days, unless such dog has been vaccinated with a modified live virus (Flury strain) or an acceptable inactivated rabies vaccine approved by the State Department of Health within a period of 36 months or vaccinated within a period of 12 months with a standard rabies vaccine approved by the State Department of Health.

§ 85-3 Trespass provisions and cleanup of fecal matter.

Permitting dogs to trespass. The owner, possessor or manager of any dog shall not permit the same to trespass upon the premises of another property owner without prior permission or he shall be in violation of this article and shall have the burden of proving permission to trespass was granted.
At-large dog prohibited.
No dog shall run at large in the Township. Any person who is the owner or custodian of a dog found at large in the Township shall be in violation of this article. It shall be unlawful for any owner of a dog to place such dog or allow it to be placed in the custody of any other person not physically capable of maintaining effective control of such dog.
No dogs shall be allowed in Township parks.
It shall be the duty of the police officer to seize and detain any dog, licensed or unlicensed, found running at large, either upon the public streets or highways of the Township, or on the property of another person and unaccompanied by its owner or keeper. The police are hereby authorized and empowered to go on any public premises and to enter any public building to seize and detain any dog which has been running at large unaccompanied by an owner or keeper when such police officer is in immediate pursuit of such dog.
Cleanup of dog fecal matter. No owner of any dog or any person having the care, custody and control of any dog shall permit the same to discharge or deposit any fecal matter upon the property of another without immediately removing such matter and disposing of it in a sanitary manner.

§ 85-4 Impoundment of unrestricted dogs and unvaccinated dogs, vicious dogs and at large dogs.

It shall be the duty of a police officer charged with the enforcement of this article to impound any dog found at large and not confined to the dog owner's premises. If the owner or custodian of the dog can be ascertained and located, a summons may be issued and the dog may, in lieu of impoundment, be released to its owner or custodian.

§ 85-5 Dog bites and rabid dogs.

It shall be the duty of any person who has knowledge that a dog has bitten or injured any person to immediately report the facts of the incident and the whereabouts of such dog to the police:
The owner of every such dog shall immediately place said dog in confinement in such a manner as to prevent it from escaping, running at large or having physical contact with other dogs or humans other than the dog owner, and maintain such confinement for a ten-day period of observation.
At the end of said ten-day observation period, the dog shall be examined by a veterinarian by the owner, and a written report of the results of such examination shall be submitted by the owner or veterinarian within 24 hours to the police department. If the report reveals no symptoms of rabies, the dog may then be released.
If at any time during the said ten-day period of observation the dog develops symptoms indicative of rabies, such fact shall be communicated at once to the police and the dog shall immediately be removed to a veterinary hospital.
If the dog is diagnosed as rabid it shall be humanely euthanized. Confirmatory tests for the presence of rabies shall be conducted on the dog's remains as necessary. After such testing, the remains of the dog shall be disposed of in such manner as the State Dog Warden directs.
If the dog is a stray that cannot be identified, it shall be the duty of the police to impound such dog and place it in confinement for observation, examination or other necessary action normally required of a private dog owner.
It shall be the duty of the police to notify the victim of a dog bite of the results of the ten-day observation period and veterinary examination of the biting dog in writing following the receipt of reports of those results.

§ 85-6 Reclaiming seized dogs; fees; disposition of unclaimed dogs.

Notification. The police officer who has seized a dog under the provisions of this article shall see that the same is properly kept and fed and if ownership of such dog can be ascertained, the police shall immediately give notice of such seizure to the owner to claim such dog.
Reclaiming. The owner of the dog seized and detained may reclaim the same by:
Paying all expenses incurred in feeding and boarding the animal at a prevailing rate established.
Paying an impoundment fee as set from time to time by resolution of the Board of Commissioners.[1],[2]
Editor's Note: Current Fee Schedule is on file in the Township offices.
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
Disposition. Any dog seized and detained by the police which has not been claimed by its owner can be given to the Humane Society or Northampton County SPCA.

§ 85-7 Summary destruction of animals for humane reasons.

When in the judgment of the police it is determined at the scene of an accident that a dog is injured beyond any medical help, such dog may be humanely destroyed.

§ 85-8 Animal housing; minimum standards.

Feeding. All dogs shall be supplied with sufficient, wholesome food and water, free from contamination, and which food and water shall be of sufficient quality and nutritive value to meet the normal daily requirements for the condition and size of each dog and to assure the proper health of each dog.
Health of dogs. Proper shelter and protection from the weather shall be provided at all times to assure that no dog is exposed to excessive heat or cold. No condition shall be maintained or permitted to exist that is knowingly injurious to the health of any dog.

§ 85-9 Nuisance barking.

[Added 5-17-1993 by Ord. No. 5-93]
It shall be unlawful for any dog owner, or other person in possession or control of a dog, to suffer or permit said dog, by its frequent, continual or habitual barking, howling, screeching, yelping or baying, to disturb the peace, tranquility, comfort or repose of any person or the community.
A warning shall be delivered to the said owner or other person by the Bethlehem Township Police Department upon the first violation of this section. Second and subsequent violations shall subject the said owner or other person to the penalties of § 85-10.

§ 85-10 Violations and penalties.

[Amended 5-17-1993 by Ord. No. 5-93]
Any person, firm or corporation shall fail, neglect or refuse to comply with any of the terms or provisions of this article or of any regulation or requirement pursuant hereto and authorized hereby, shall upon conviction thereof be ordered to pay a fine of not less than $25 nor more than $300 and, in default of payment of payment of said fine and costs, imprisoned not more than 90 days. Each day's violation shall constitute a separate offense.