COOP (Chicken Owners Outside Philadelphia)
COOP (Chicken Owners Outside Philadelphia)


Whitemarsh Code; Chapter 39: ANIMALS

ARTICLE I Animals; General Regulations [Adopted 2-15-1979 by Ord. No. 362]

§ 39-1. Definitions.

As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:

  • ANIMAL — Any and all types of animals, both domesticated and wild, male and female, singular and plural, provided that nothing herein shall apply to dogs, cats, fish or other animals commonly considered domestic pets if they are principally sheltered and kept inside a human dwelling unit.
  • AT LARGE — Any place which is off the premises owned or occupied by the owner or custodian of the animal or fowl and which is not under the immediate control of the owner or custodian.
  • FOWL — Any and all fowl, domesticated and wild, male and female, singular and plural, provided that nothing herein shall apply to birds kept principally as pets and principally fed and sheltered inside a human dwelling unit.
  • HEALTH OFFICER — The person so designated by the Township Board of Supervisors, or its authorized agents.
  • KEEPER — Any person, firm or corporation owning, having in his custody, using or maintaining any animal or fowl.
  • PERSON — Any individual, firm or corporation.
  • RATPROOF — A state of being constructed so as to effectively prevent entry of rats.
  • SANITARY — Any condition of good order and cleanliness which precludes the probability of disease transmission.

§ 39-2. Unnecessary odor and noise. [Amended 7-29-1982 by Ord. No. 436]

No keeper shall maintain said animals or fowl in such a manner as to create any obnoxious or foul odor therefrom, except to the minimum practical extent inherent in the nature of said animal or fowl, or permit or continue to keep said animals or fowl that make unreasonable noise by barking, crowing or otherwise.

§ 39-3. Shelter standards.

  1. Any keeper having animals or fowl on a tract of less than 10 acres shall meet the following standards:
    1. Animals and fowl shall be provided with a shelter having a roof and at least three enclosed sides and shall be contained within a fenced area with a minimum area of:
      1. Seventy-five square feet of shelter area for each horse, pony, mule, donkey, cow or other animal of similar size.
      2. Twelve square feet of shelter area for each dog, cat or other animal of similar size.
      3. Three square feet of shelter area for each fowl.
    2. The minimum fenced area outside the shelter for each animal shall be:
      1. Three thousand square feet for each horse, pony, mule, donkey, cow or other animal of similar size.
      2. Three hundred square feet for each dog, cat or other animal or similar size.
      3. Ten square feet for each fowl.
    3. Maximum ratios of fence and shelter area to total lot areas shall be:
      1. The total fenced and shelter area shall not cover more than 10% of the total lot area for the keeping of horses, ponies, mules, donkeys, cows or any animals other than those specified in Subsection A(3)(b) and (c) below.
      2. The total fenced and shelter area shall not cover more than 3% of the total lot area for dogs, cats or other animals of similar size.
      3. The total fenced area and shelter area shall not cover more than 0.5% of the total lot area for fowl.
      4. In any event, regardless of the number or type of animals being kept, the maximum fenced and shelter area shall be 10% of the total lot area.
    4. The boundaries of the fenced and shelter area shall be at least 15 feet from any property line and 50 feet from any Township ultimate right-of-way line.
  2. Every keeper shall provide a shelter and area of a size sufficient for good sanitation practices and shall provide adequate and sanitary drainage therefor.
  3. Every keeper shall cause the litter and excrement to be collected daily in a container or receptacle of such a type that when closed it is ratproof and flytight and, after each such collection, shall cause such container or receptacle to be kept closed. At least twice a week, each keeper shall cause all litter and excrement so collected to be disposed of in such way as not to permit the presence of fly larvae.
  4. Every keeper shall cause all feed provided for the animals or fowl to be stored and kept in a ratproof and flytight building, box, container or receptacle.
  5. The premises shall be subject to inspection by the Health Officer or any of his representatives at any reasonable hour of the day.

§ 39-4. Animals and fowl at large; seizure and detention of dogs.

  1. No keeper shall permit the animals or fowl to be at large upon the streets, other public lands or lands of other persons in the Township. Such action is declared to be a nuisance and dangerous to the public health and safety.
  2. It shall be the duty of the Township police or other authorized persons to seize and detain any dog or dogs, whether they are licensed or unlicensed, which are found running at large. The police or such authorized persons are hereby authorized and empowered to go upon any premises and enter any building to seize and detain any dog or dogs which have been found running at large when such police or authorized persons are in the immediate pursuit of any such dog or dogs.

§ 39-5. Unlicensed dogs.

It shall be the duty of every police officer or any other authorized person to seize and impound any dog which does not bear a proper license tag and which is found running at large. If the owner of a dog so seized cannot be located, the dog may be given to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals or any similar agency for disposition as such agency shall determine.

§ 39-6. Removal and return of stray animals and fowl.

Any person finding any animal or fowl upon his property to his injury or annoyance may take up same and remove it to any private or other animal shelter that will take possession of it. If no such shelter is available, he may hold the animal or fowl in his own possession, and as soon as possible notify a Township police officer of his custody, giving a description of the animal or fowl and the name of the owner, if known.

  1. Except as to unlicensed dogs, if an officer has, or with reasonable dispatch can obtain, the name of the owner or custodian of the animal, he will return it to the residence address. He may then secure or cause to be secured and serve or cause to be served a complaint on the owner or custodian for violation of this article.
  2. Any officer or designated person picking up an animal or fowl who, after reasonable diligence, is unable to find who its keeper is may take it to the nearest animal hospital or shelter and leave it; neither the Township nor any of the Township's agents or employees shall have any further responsibility to the keeper of such animal or fowl regarding such animal or fowl.
  3. Any police officer or other person designated by the Township for such purposes is authorized to capture and impound any animal or fowl found at large, impounding to be in accordance with the procedure authorized by this article. In the event that capture cannot be effected promptly, such officer or person is authorized to destroy the animal or fowl.

§ 39-7. Disposition of unredeemed animals.

  1. Any animal or fowl not redeemed within 24 hours will be disposed of in such manner as previously agreed upon between the Township and the owner of the animal shelter or hospital. The owner of the hospital or shelter is made an agent of the Township for this purpose, and his actions in this regard are declared to be for a governmental purpose.
  2. Should any officer or designated person, upon call or upon his own initiative, pick up a large animal such as a horse, cow or mule, or any other animal not acceptable by any animal hospital or shelter, he is authorized to convey the animal to a farm having a working agreement with the Township to handle such cases. The disposition of the animal in this case shall be handled in the same manner as though it were in an animal hospital or shelter.

§ 39-8. Vaccination of dogs.

The keeper of any dog six months old or over in the Township shall cause such dog to be treated for preventive vaccination against rabies by a person qualified to practice veterinary medicine in Pennsylvania.

§ 39-9. Administrative duties of Township Secretary.

The Township Secretary is empowered to enter into the necessary arrangements with animal hospitals, shelters and farms to carry out the terms of this article.

§ 39-10. Violations and penalties. [Amended 3-18-1982 by Ord. No. 425; 12-8-1988 by Ord. No. 565]

Any person or persons, corporation, partnership or other entity whatsoever violating any of the provisions of this article shall, upon conviction, be sentenced to pay a fine not to exceed the maximum fine of $1,000, plus costs of prosecution, and, in default of payment of such costs and prosecution, imprisonment for a term not exceeding 30 days; provided, however, that if the District Justice determines that the defendant is without the financial means to pay the fines and costs immediately or in a single remittance, such defendant shall be permitted to pay the fines or costs in installments and over such periods of time as the District Justice deems to be just.