Covid_19 Waiver from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture
Spay/Neuter Requirement Waived at Time of Adoption
Pennsylvania’s Dog Law requires shelters and rescues to have dogs and cats spayed/neutered
prior to adoption. In consultation with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the PA
Veterinary Medical Association, effective April 2, 2020, the Department of Agriculture is
temporarily waiving this requirement due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19. This will
allow conservation of PPE and limit risk of exposure to COVID-19 for veterinarians. Shelters
must keep a running list of pets adopted out during the COVID-19 pandemic, provide a copy to
PDA, and follow up with adopted pets to ensure the procedure takes place. Adoptive pet owners
will have up to 120 days from the time of adoption – timeframe to be re-evaluated as necessary
– to have the procedure completed and come into compliance.
STERILIZATION OF DOGS AND CATS
(Art. IX-A added Dec. 11, 1996, P.L.943, No.151)
Section 901-A. Definitions.
The following words and phrases when used in this article shall have the meanings given
to them in this section unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:
“Adopt” or “adoption.” The transfer of ownership of a dog or cat from a releasing agency
to a new owner.
“Licensed doctor of veterinary medicine.” A person licensed to practice veterinary
medicine under the act of December 27, 1974 (P.L.995, No.326), known as the Veterinary
Medicine Practice Act, or licensed under similar laws and qualifications in other states.
“Neuter.” A procedure to render a male dog or cat unable to reproduce.
“New owner.” A person who enters into a binding agreement pursuant to section 902-A
and who adopts a dog or cat from a releasing agency.
“Releasing agency.” A public or private pound, animal shelter, humane society, society
for the prevention of cruelty to animals, rescue network kennel or other similar entity that
releases a dog or cat for adoption. (Def. amended Oct. 9, 2008, P.L.1450, No.119)
“Spay.” A procedure to render a female dog or cat unable to reproduce.
“Sterilize” or “sterilization.” The spaying or neutering of a dog or cat.
(901-A added Dec. 11, 1996, P.L.943, No.151)
Section 902-A. Spaying or neutering as condition for release of certain animals.
No dog or cat may be adopted by a new owner from a releasing agency unless the animal
has been sterilized by a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine or unless the new owner signs
an agreement to have the animal sterilized by or under the supervision of a licensed doctor of
veterinary medicine and deposits funds with the releasing agency to ensure that the adopted animal will be sterilized. The amount of the deposit required shall be determined by each
releasing agency. In no event shall the required deposit be less than $30 for a dog or $20 for a
(902-A added Dec. 11, 1996, P.L.943, No.151)
Section 903-A. Refund of deposit upon proof of sterilization.
The funds deposited with the releasing agency shall be refunded to the new owner upon
the presentation of a written statement signed by a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine that
the subject animal has been sterilized. However, no refunds shall be made unless the animal
was sterilized within 60 days of acquisition in the case of a mature animal or, in the case of an
immature animal, within 30 days of the date the animal attained the age of six months.
(903-A added Dec. 11, 1996, P.L.943, No.151)
Section 904-A. Rules and sterilization agreement.
Releasing agencies may establish any additional rules to implement this article, provided
that such rules are not in conflict with the provisions or purpose of this article to require the
sterilization of all dogs and cats adopted from releasing agencies. The sterilization agreement to
be used by releasing agencies shall be in substantially the following form:
This agreement is made and entered into this day of
_____________20__ , by and between:
(Releasing Agency) (New Owner)
City Telephone City Telephone
In consideration of the adoption of this animal and in further consideration of
mutual obligations herein, the releasing agency authorizes the adoption of the
following animal to the new owner:
1. The releasing agency agrees to release the above-listed animal into the
care of the new owner and refund the new owner’s sterilization deposit provided that:
(1) The animal is sterilized by a licensed doctor of veterinary
medicine by (give date).
(2) A written statement signed by the licensed doctor of veterinary
medicine performing the sterilization that the animal has been sterilized by the stated
date is given to the releasing agency.
2. The new owner accepts the above-listed animal and agrees:
(1) To have the animal sterilized by a licensed doctor of veterinary
medicine by (give date).
(2) To provide written evidence to the releasing agency from the
licensed doctor of veterinary medicine performing the sterilization that the animal has
been sterilized by the above date listed. This agreement shall be binding upon the
assigns, heirs, executors and administrators of the respective parties. The parties
hereto have hereunto set their hands the day and year first above written.
Amount of deposit
April 2, 2020
(signature of agent)
WRITTEN STATEMENT OF LICENSED DOCTOR OF VETERINARY MEDICINE
I hereby certify that the above-described animal has been sterilized on (give date).
(Signature of Licensed Doctor of Veterinary Medicine)
Address City State Zip
(904-A added Dec. 11, 1996, P.L.943, No.151)
Section 905-A. Extension of time to sterilize.
Upon presentation of a written report from a licensed doctor of veterinary medicine stating
that the life or health of an adopted animal may be jeopardized by sterilization, the releasing
agency shall grant a 30-day extension of the period within which sterilization would otherwise be
required. Further extensions shall be granted upon additional veterinary reports stating their
(905-A added Dec. 11, 1996, P.L.943, No.151)