Millions Uncollected from Dog License Fees in Philadelphia

Audit Date: March 25, 2015
Audit Categories
  • Financial
Controller: Alan Butkovitz

Executive Summary

For Immediate Release
March 25, 2015

Contact: Brian Dries

Millions Uncollected from Dog License Fees in Philadelphia
City Controller’s economic report estimates at least $5 million
not being collected annually, less than five percent compliant

February 2015 Economic Report

PHILADELPHIA – City Controller Alan Butkovitz today released the latest monthly economic report that indicated more than $5 million goes uncollected annually by owners who do not license their dogs, as required by the Philadelphia Code.

Through the first eight months of FY2015, $191,756 was collected. In the prior two years, FY2014 and FY2013, yearly collections totaled $170,462 and $185,994, respectively. These figures along with the current fiscal year’s collections indicate that less than five percent, or as many as 12,000, dogs are in compliance.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Pet Ownership Calculator, it is estimated that there are almost 350,000 dogs in the City of Philadelphia. Under the license fee of $16 for altered dogs, full compliancy would generate an estimated $5.6 million annually in the City’s coffers.

In addition, the yearly revenues collected for dog licenses is significantly below what the City has budgeted. In FY2014 and FY2013, the City budgeted $1.4 million and $1.3 million, respectively.

In addition to reviewing revenues from dog license fees, the Controller’s monthly economic report indicates that tax revenues for both the City General Fund and Pennsylvania Intergovernmental Authority (PICA) for February totaled almost $468 million, which is a less than one percent decrease over last year. This included $434 million in to the General Fund and almost $34 million as the PICA portion.

Yearly Wage, Earnings and Net Profits Tax collections for both funds have totaled more than $1.1 billion, marking a 4.4 percent increase over last year.