Dog Licensing - It's the Law
 

License: New York State Law (NYC Administrative Code / Dog Licensing Laws) requires all dogs to be licensed and to have their license renewed each year. New York City Health Code 161.04 requires every dog owner to have a NYC Dog License tag attached to the dog's collar when in public.

Rabies Vaccination: New York City Health Code 11.29 requires all dogs and cats 4 months of age and older to receive a primary vaccination against rabies, and to receive re-vaccinations or booster vaccinations for the life of the dog or cat.

Leash: New York City Health Code 161.05 requires dogs in public to be restrained by a leash not more than 6 feet long.

Don't Litter: New York State Public Health Law 1310 requires owners to clean up after their dogs in public places.

Dog owners may be fined for violation of these laws.
 

Benefits of Licensing
Licensing contributes to animal control and the protection of the public health:

  • Information about licensed dogs assists in the medical follow-up of individuals potentially exposed to infected dogs, especially important during rabies outbreaks.
  • Licensing helps reunite lost dogs with their owners. Licensing is key to family emergency preparedness planning to ensure dogs and owners are reunited in case of separation during a citywide emergency.
  • Licensing helps enforce the New York State Spay/Neuter Law, which mandates a surcharge on the license fee for unaltered dogs. Spaying or neutering a pet reduces the over population of unwanted dogs or cats entering the city's shelters. Health benefits of spaying and neutering your pet include a reduced risk of mammary, uterine, prostate and testicular cancers. Spaying and neutering also help prevent unwanted behavior such as territorial aggression, leg lifting, spraying (in cats) and roaming. Besides being in the best interest of the animals, altering also reduces the chance that people may become bitten from contact with a dog or cat. Studies show that unaltered animals are more likely to bite than altered ones.
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    How to Obtain an Application
    If you do not wish to register online you may print an application from the DOH web site at NYC.gov/health or you may call 311 to have an application mailed to you. You may also obtain one from any veterinarian, animal shelter or pet shop.
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    Time to Receive License & Status
    The license certificate and tag should be mailed approximately 2 to 4 weeks after the owner's credit card is debited or their check is cashed. Status of pending applications will only be available 4 weeks after owner's credit card is debited or their check is cashed by calling the Dog Licensing Unit at 311.

    Please note that a Service Dog Tag may take longer than 4 weeks depending on when the trainer's statement is received and verified by the Licensing Unit.

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    Fees & Application Process
    The fee to license your dog, including a service dog in New York City is $8.50 if your dog is altered (spayed or neutered) and you provide proof. The fee to license an unaltered (unspayed/unneutered) dog is $34.00.

    On line fees: Payments through credit card (M/C, Visa, Discover, and American Express) only are accepted for online registration and a nominal service fee will apply to all transactions.

    If you are a first time applicant (no history of a license) you will be charged the unaltered rate of $34.00 even though your dog might be altered at the time of online license purchase. If you would like to be eligible for the discounted altered rate when you renew your license you will be required to submit a certificate from your veterinarian to prove your dog is altered.

    In order to prove that your dog is spayed/neutered, you must submit by mail a copy of the spay/neuter certificate from your veterinarian or an affidavit to the address below. If you have registered online you must record the owner's name, address dog's name or license number on your certificate or affidavit prior to submitting it so it can be properly registered. Failure to record owner and dog information or license number on the spay/neuter certificate or affidavit will void the document as it will not be possible to correctly register it. Once approved, properly registered spay/neuter certificates and affidavits will be recorded and kept on file for life of the dog.

    Veterinary Public Health Services, Dog Licensing Unit
    125 Worth Street, CN-61
    New York, NY 10013

    If you are applying for your dog's license by mail then only check or money order are accepted. If you are registering your dog for the discounted altered fee then you must submit a copy of the spay/neuter certificate from your veterinarian along with your completed application or complete and notarize the affidavit on the application. Send check or money order made payable to, NYC DOHMH along with the completed application and mail to the address indicated below.

    Veterinary Public Health Services
    P.O. Box 4768
    Church Street Station
    New York, NY 10261-4768

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    Renewal Fees & Process
    The fee to renew a dog license is $8.50 for an altered, spayed or neutered dog and $34.00 for a dog that is unaltered, i.e. not spayed or neutered.

    Online fees: Payments through credit card (M/C, Visa, Discover, and American Express) only are accepted for online renewals and a nominal service fee will apply to all transactions.

    You only need to submit an application once either by web or via regular mail. After your dog is licensed a renewal notice will be sent to you annually through email notification if you applied/supplied a valid email address or through the mail. If a renewal form was not received, it can be requested by calling 311.

    If you have previously licensed your dog, submitted proof that your dog was altered, and it was approved, your history will be retained and you will be eligible to renew online at the discounted altered rate.

    Applicants who initially registered an unaltered dog but have since altered their dog at the time of renewal must submit by mail a copy of the spay/neuter certificate from your veterinarian to be eligible for future discounted altered fees. In order to prove that your dog is spayed/neutered, you must submit by mail a copy of the spay/neuter certificate from your veterinarian to the address below. If you have registered online you must record the owner's name, address, and dog's name or license number on your certificate prior to submitting it so it can be properly registered to your dog. Failure to record the owner and dog's information or license number on the spay/neuter certificate or affidavit will void the document as it will not be possible to correctly register it. Once approved, properly registered spay neuter certificates and affidavits will be recorded and kept on file for the life of the dog.

    Late Fee: If the license expiration date has passed, and the applicant has failed to renew within 10 days of expiration, online applicants will automatically be assessed an additional $2 late fee to the cost of the license.

    If you are renewing by mail please return your renewal form and check or money order payable to the NYC DOHMH along with any changes to the address below. The envelope should be postmarked no later than the license's expiration date so that the renewal is received within 10 days of license expiration date. If the license expiration date has passed, including the 10 day grace period, you should add an additional $2 late fee to the cost of the license. An owner is liable for each year a license is not renewed and will be assessed late fees per year as well.

    Veterinary Public Health Services
    P.O. Box 4768
    Church Street Station
    New York, NY 10261-4768

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    Change of Address In-between Renewals
    Change of address information must be provided in-between renewals.

    Online: Once an applicant has registered online they may update their information any time by accessing the Dog License Registration System and selecting "Edit Profile".

    By Mail: Owners should send a letter with their name, dog license number, and current address to:

    Veterinary Public Health Services, Dog Licensing Unit
    125 Worth Street, CN-61
    New York, NY 10013

     
    Service Dogs
    Owners of service dogs are required to register and purchase a regular NYC Dog License Tag and renew annually. However, owners who have licensed their service dog may request an additional Service Dog Tag free of charge from the Department. An application for a Service Dog Tag shall be accompanied by a written statement from a trainer whose education, experience, and training are acceptable to the Department, stating that such dog has been specifically trained to perform a task or tasks for the person applying for the tag. The Americans with Disabilities Act defines service animals as such; "Service animals are animals that are individually trained to perform tasks for people with disabilities; such as guiding people who are blind, alerting people who are deaf, pulling wheelchairs, alerting and protecting a person who is having a seizure, or performing other special tasks. Service animals are working animals, not pets."
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    Guard Dogs
    Pursuant to Health Code 161.09, all trained guard dogs must be licensed and registered with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and wear at all times, the Guard Dog Tag issued by the Department. In addition, owners are required to have their trained guard dog implanted with a microchip as a permanent form of identification and must supply the identification number to the Department. The fee to register a trained guard dog is $10.00. Please call 311 for instructions and a special application.

    Owners and or other persons in control of the premises where a trained guard dog is kept are required to post clear, legible, and durable signs warning the public of the presence of such trained guard dog. Such sign must include the name and other contact information for the owner of the trained guard dog. Additionally, all persons who train, sell or rent guard dogs shall post a durable sign or notice, clearly and legibly printed, warning all users that they must comply with the licensing, tagging, micro-chipping, and signage requirements of the Health Code.

    Owners of guard dogs are required to have a regular NYC dog license and renew annually for the life of the dog and may do so online.

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    How to Replace a Lost License Tag
    If you are registered on the website a dog license tag may be replaced online for $1.00 plus a transaction fee. Please allow 2 to 4 weeks from the time your card is debited or check cashed to receive your replacement tag.

    You may replace your tag via mail by sending a copy of the license certificate with a check or money order for $1.00 payable to NYC DOHMH at the following address:

    NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
    P.O. Box 4768, Church Street Station
    New York, NY 10261-4768

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    Replace a Certificate
    Dog license certificates will be replaced at no charge. Replacement certificates take up to 2 weeks to process.

    These requests must be made by contacting the Dog License Unit through 311 or in writing. Written requests must include owner's name, address and dog name or license number. The mailing address is:

    Veterinary Public Health Services
    NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
    125 Worth Street, CN 61
    New York, NY 10013

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    Benefits of Licensing
    Obtain an Application
    License & Status
    Fees & Application Process
    Renewal Fees & Process
    Change of Address
    Service Dogs
    Guard Dogs
    Replace a Lost License Tag
    Replace a Certificate
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