ACTION ALERT: New Cumberland, PA

UPDATE 11/7/19: Thanks to overwhelming opposition from those appeared to speak, the ordinance was tabled at the November 7 meeting, meaning there was no vote. This is very good but a lot of still needs to be done. Only very minor edits have been done so far, such as allowing one pot-bellied pig. The Council claims this ordinance will stop animal hoarding but this is absolutely absurd. This proposal only punishes good citizens and responsible animal owners while those with the capacity to hoard animals will certainly not abide by any law. Current animal welfare and cruelty laws need to be enforced when hoarding issues arise. The Council's actions are unjust and irrational.

Read a recent article at

The borough of New Cumberland, Pennsylvania has proposed a new animal ordinance (Ordinance #704) covering both domesticated and exotic animals. The ordinance is poorly worded and full of overreaching measures.

This ordinance covers all animals so all current or planned owners should review.

What the proposal does:

  1. Bans ALL “exotic animals” which are defined as: any animals not normally domesticated, not normally raised in the area for livestock, work, or breeding purposes, or not capable of being a household pet;
  2. Regulates “household pets” which are defined as: any dog, cat, or other domestic animal normally and ordinarily kept in or permitted to be at large in the dwelling of its owner;
  3. Regulates “domestic animals” which reads to include most common livestock species but there is a clearly stated ban on pigs;
  4. Outright ban on poisonous and venomous species;
  5. Non-venomous exotics might be acceptable only after showing to the Borough officials that the animal does not “pose a danger to the health, safety, and welfare of the residents…”;
  6. Even if approved, the Borough “may impose special restrictions” when issuing permits or “anytime thereafter.” This means they could state you are fine to keep a ball python but then come back and say it must be kept in a 10’x10’ concrete-walled enclosure with locks, alarms, and video surveillance;
  7. Any special permits for exotics must be acquired prior to possession and there is no grandfather clause (meaning ability to keep current animals) in the proposal;
  8. Places limits on the number of dogs and cats which can be kept.

While this may be well-intended, these overtly burdensome and overbearing proposals cause more problems than those they claim to be resolving.

Local residents need to attend the upcoming hearing and educate officials. Especially when it comes to reptiles and amphibians, lawmakers are simply uneducated on these animals and how popular they are as pets.

Read the full proposal at

Hearing details:

TBA in December
Borough Building
1120 Market Street
New Cumberland, PA 17070

Borough Council members:

  • John (Jack) Murray, President
  • Robert Kline, Vice President
  • Kevin Hall
  • Donald Kibler
  • Mary Landis
  • Timothy Schaeffer
  • Matthew Stoner

Sample Messaging

Remember to be civil and professional when contacting officials.

Email address:

Website comment portal:

Subject line:

Ordinance #704 Proposal Needs work!

Sample Letter

New Cumberland Council Members,

As a responsible animal owner, I implore you to reconsider your proposal. As written, this ordinance is nothing more than severe nanny-statism. It is rife with unintended consequences. While I understand you feel the need to protect everyone, this goes far beyond and allows government overstepping control into our living rooms.

I would hope the Council would supply a workshop and open forum to discuss this ordinance with stakeholders. Many people will be impacted. Reptiles alone are found in one of every twenty homes in the United States. That means 5% of New Cumberland residents will be affected just by the exotic reptile portion of this proposition.

That could be nearly 400 local reptile pet owners affected. Now consider how many more hundred citizens will be affected by everything else detailed in this plan.

One of the many problems with this scheme is the lack of a grandfather clause. Are current exotic animals supposed to euthanize their animals? Are they to move away? Such new laws without consideration for current stakeholders are simply unconstitutional.

Please table this proposal and advertise a workshop where animal owners can collaborate with city officials to create a common-sense law. Do what is right by the people and animals of New Cumberland. Thank you for time and consideration on this matter. Have a good day.


Article written by USARK