Pet Licensing Requirements FAQ
The goal of licensing programs is two-fold. First, licensing helps prevent against rabies outbreaks by requiring a certificate of vaccination for all dogs over the age of 4 months. More importantly, licensing your pet increases the chance that you will be reunited in the unfortunate event he or she is lost. When you license your pet, your contact information is on file with the licensor allowing them to contact you if your pet is taken to an animal care facility.
If you're like us, your pet is part of your family. Licensing your pet acts as a form of insurance, enabling animal control officers to contact if your pet becomes lost. Additionally, by purchasing a license for your pet, you are helping to ensure that all lost pets are given the appropriate attention and medical care while waiting to be reunited with their owners.
In Los Angeles, a pet owner who chooses not to license their dog can be fined up to $500. Licensing your dog is a quick and easy way to avoid a stiff fine down the road.
More importantly, a pet without identification is less likely to be reunited with its owner and may ultimately be euthanized if a suitable home cannot be found. In many cases, pets without a license or microchip are held at the shelter for a shorter time period before being made available for adoption or being euthanized. Licensing your pet could provide you with a longer timeframe to be reunited with your pet.
Animals are resourceful! Although many people believe that their pet will never leave their property, dogs have a way of getting out from a "secure" yard by digging, jumping over a fence, or exiting through an open gate. Natural disasters, aberrant weather, and fireworks also often cause animals to become anxious and flee their property. A license identifies you as the pet's owner and provides animal control officers with the necessary information to reunite you and your pet.
And, of course, because it is required by law! Even if your dog is a total homebody, and never wanders off without you, if you're ever stopped by an Animal Control Officer you can be fined for failing to comply with the law.
Yes. In addition to the fact that licensing is often required by law, a microchip is invisible to the eye and can occasionally go undetected. A license is visible proof of ownership, which lets animal control officers and members of the public know that your pet is owned. It is highly recommended that all pets be microchipped and wear a valid license
Licensing fees and requirements vary between jurisdictions. In general, pet licenses are sold at your local animal control facility, police department, city hall, and in some cases may be available online. Please contact your local agencies to learn about the licensing process in your area.
For residents of the City of Los Angeles, please visit their licensing page for more information.
For those living within the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles or one of County's contract cities, please visit their licensing page for more information.
For those living within the area serviced by Southeast Area Animal Control Authority, please visit their licensing page for more information.
We're here to help! Please visit our Adoption Resources Page and click on the region where you reside to locate the facility that provides service to your area.
Documentation required for licensing may vary based on jurisdiction, but in most cases you will need the following:
1. A complete license application
2. A current rabies certificate
3. Proof of sterilization (to qualify for a lower-priced, altered license*)
*With few exceptions, all dogs residing within the City of Los Angeles must be spayed or neutered.
In most cases, a pet's license will expire after one year or when his or her rabies vaccination expires, whichever comes first. To simplify the process, some jurisdictions have begun selling multi-year licenses. Contact your local animal control agency, police department, or city hall to learn about the licenses sold in your jurisdiction. If multi-year licenses are available, you will need to provide proof of a valid rabies vaccination for the length of the licensing period.
Because of the complex nature of animal regulation in the Los Angeles Area, licensing fees vary between jurisdictions. In most cases, the fee for a spayed or neutered animal is less than for one that hasn't been fixed. In the Los Angeles area, licensing fees range from $10 for an altered dog to $100 for an unaltered dog. Cat licenses, where mandated, range from approximately $5 to $15. Please contact your local animal control agency for more information about license fees and regulations.
In many cases, yes. Some jurisdictions provide free/reduced cost licenses to qualified individuals, provided that you supply the agency with the appropriate paperwork. Please contact your local agency to learn about discounted license options in your area.
A majority of your licensing fee will be used to fund animal control activities, such as picking up and housing stray animals, providing impounded animals with food, water, and necessary medical attention, and making all attempts possible to reunite pets with their owners. In many cases, a portion of your license fee also helps to make low-cost spay/neuter services available to low-income families.
At this time, cat licensing is required in some jurisdictions, and not in others. Currently, the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County and some contract cities have mandatory cat licensing. The City of Los Angeles, however, currently does not require cat licensing . Even where not mandated, Found Animals® highly encourages cat owners to microchip and license their cats for the same reason we encourage you to license your dog - doing so will increase the chance of reunification should your kitty ever wander away.
In most jurisdictions, yes. Replacement tags may be offered free of charge or for a nominal replacement fee. Contact your local agency to learn more.
If you have moved to a different address within the same city, then you most likely do not need to purchase a new pet license. It is recommended though, that you contact your licensing agency to inform them of your new address in contact information. If you have moved to a different city or different county, then you most likely do need to purchase a new pet license.