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It’s important – and required – to license your dog

Did you know all La Plata County residents are required by law to license their dog(s) and keep this license current?

Dog licensing provides proof of ownership, helps ensure dog owners are vaccinating their dog for rabies and supports animal protection efforts.

In 2023, 582 dogs were found wandering without their owner and impounded at La Plata County Humane Society. Having a current license tag on your dog’s collar clearly communicates that the dog has an owner and is current on vaccines. This tag has a unique number that Animal Protection officers can look up in order to connect with the owner of the dog. Of the strays brought to LPCHS, 377 of them were successfully reunited with their owners. Having a current license increases the chances of a dog being returned to their owner, if they are found stray. When a stray dog is impounded at LPCHS, the owner is required to pay a fee upon pick up. This fee is less, if the dog is licensed. In addition, if a dog is picked up as a stray and not licensed, a citation is issued. Licensing a dog before they are impounded will save the owner money.

A dog’s license is connected to their rabies vaccine. When the rabies vaccine expires, so does the license. Rabies is a vaccine-preventable, zoonotic, viral disease affecting the central nervous system. Once clinical symptoms appear, rabies is 99% fatal. Because rabies is so deadly and transmissible to people, it is crucial that pet owners keep their pet’s rabies vaccine up to date. Without compliance, rabies becomes a serious public health issue. Pet licenses are mandated in the county to help ensure that pet owners are keeping up on their dog’s rabies vaccines and doing their part to ensure public safety. Dog owners can get their dog vaccinated for rabies at their vet’s office, or at LPCHS.

Dog licenses can be purchased at LPCHS. If you live in Bayfield city limits, you should get your dog’s license at Bayfield Town Hall. If you live in Ignacio city limits, you should get your dog’s license at the Ignacio Town Hall. At LPCHS, if your pet is fixed, a dog license is only $10 per year. If your pet is not fixed, a dog license is $25 per year. If you are 65 years or older, your dog’s license is free. One hundred percent of these fees go to supporting animal protection in La Plata County. Our Animal Protection officers provide an essential service to our community. APO responds to dogs at large, vicious dogs, reports of cruelty and bite incidents. These officers also help mediate pet-related conflicts between neighbors. It is important that those who have dogs, help support those who help keep dogs and their community safe.

Responsible dog owners make sure their dog’s rabies vaccine is up to date and renew their license as needed. Licensed dogs are more likely to be reunited with their owners if picked up as stray and the owner will pay less money if their dog is impounded.

You can learn more about licensing your dog at lpchumanesociety.org under the “Services” tab.