Simply put, it’s the law. Many people living in countries without rabies control die each year from contracting this disease. Rabies is almost always fatal. Every State in the Union requires their counties and cities to protect their citizens from contracting rabies by mandating that every owned dogs (and sometimes cats) be given a rabies vaccination. The only way for cities to avoid being in violation of this State mandate is to require their citizens to vaccinate their pets. Cities have no way of obtaining proof that their residents have complied with the law unless they have a record. In order to obtain a record, cities must require residents to license their pets with the caveat being they cannot license their pet without first supplying proof of rabies. The City of Palo Alto can then ensure that all dogs licensed in their jurisdiction have proof of rabies and are in compliance with the State Rabies Mandate. (See State of California H&S Code 121690, CCR Title 17 Section 2606.4, Palo Alto Muni Code 6.16.010, Los Altos Muni Code 5.12.010, and Los Altos Hills Muni Code 6-1.511)
California law and city ordinances require all dogs over the age of four months to be vaccinated and licensed. If you are cited for owning an unlicensed dog, you could face fines of $50 or more. If your pet is lost, a license tag on your pet's collar is the fastest way to reunite you and your pet. Even if a pet has a microchip, a license tag is immediately visible and doesn't require a scanner.
Licensing lets people know that your pet has received the required vaccinations that protect your animal and the public from rabies. A rabies tag is separate from a license tag. The issuer of the rabies tag CANNOT and will not license your pet. It is the pet owner's responsibility to license their pet with Palo Alto Animal Services.
The fee you pay for your pet license keeps your City's animal services programs going. It is a significant source of revenue for Animal Control and allows us to provide animal related services to the residents of Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills. Licensing your pet helps us to find new homes for unclaimed or surrendered pets, keep neighborhoods safe from aggressive animals and provides low cost spay and neuter.
Licensing is Easy!
As a responsible, caring pet owner, you understand how vaccinating and licensing helps keep your pet safe and healthy. We want to help. Our license application is short and easy to complete. Please, license your pet today. Do it for your pet and for your peace of mind.
Download a Dog License Application Form
Dog License Fees
Duration of License Unaltered - Altered
12 months: $40.00 - $20.00
24 months: $60.00 - $30.00
36 months: $80.00 - $40.00
Late Penalty: $30.00
Replacement Tag: $5.00
Cat I.D. Tag: $5.00 - $10.00
(Prices effective 8/01/2012)
*If your Veterinarian has deemed receiving the rabies vaccine a health hazard for your dog, you may file for an exception from the rabies vaccine under State of California H&S Code 121690 to still obtain a dog license, which is still required. Download the Rabies Vaccination Exemption Form
Cat Registration It is important to understand that the rabies tag you get from your vet is not a license. When you license your dog, you receive a separate license tag. An additional tag bearing a contact number for you is also a good idea. You should have both tags on your dog's collar, everyday.
Cat licenses are not required in Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills. Cats are adaptable and can be quite happy--and safe--living indoors. If you choose to allow your cat outdoor privileges, we recommend our five-year identification tag program. For only $10.00 ($5.00 if your cat is spayed or neutered), you can increase the odds of your lost or injured cat being returned to you. Rabies vaccinations are not required for cat registration, but are recommended for the health and protection of all pets.
A lost animal that bears some form of identification is far more likely to be returned to its owner. There are a couple ways to mark your pet so that someone who finds it can reach you or an agency that can contact you.
*See Microchipping your cat or dog.
It is important to understand that the rabies tag you get from your vet is not a license. When you license your dog, you receive a separate license tag. An additional tag bearing a contact number for you is also a good idea. You should have both tags on your dog's collar, everyday.
Traveling out of town? Email us at email@example.com and let us know! Give us the name of your pet sitter or an alternate way to get in touch with you incase your pet gets loose while you're away!