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Why license your dog?

Person with dog

All dogs four months of age or older are required to have a dog license according to NYS Agriculture and Markets Laws Article 7. 

The Animal Services Center licenses only those dogs reclaimed or adopted from that facility. The City Clerk's Office licenses all other dogs belonging to residents of the city of Rochester. Applications can be made at the City Clerk's Office at City Hall, 30 Church Street, Rochester, NY 14614, or by mail. 

New York State requires proof of current rabies vaccination to obtain a dog license. If the dog is spayed or neutered, documentation must be presented for the reduced license fee. To contact the City Clerk's Office call 428-7421. For residents of surrounding municipalities, contact your local town clerk for dog licensing guidelines.

Reasons to license your dog: 

  • Dog licenses are required by state and local laws
  • It helps reunite lost dogs with their owners
  • It lets people know that your dog is not a homeless stray
  • Animal Services will visit you or send a letter if your dog comes to the shelter wearing a license tag
  • A license is proof that your pet has been vaccinated against rabies
  • It is legal proof of ownership
  • When found wearing its license tag, your dog will be cared for at the Animal Services Center for a longer holding period
  • If your dog is found and in need of medical attention, the license may enable contact with you to approve emergency care
  • License fees support Animal Services programs and operations, including the return of lost pets to their homes, animal care at the shelter, pet adoption, spay and neuter, and community outreach
  • Licenses are required for dog park registrations

Identification for your dog 

dog tag

Animal Services recommends the use of the following items to ensure that your dog is reunited with you should it go missing:

  • Flat collar with metal buckle
  • Dog license tag
  • ID tag with dog's name and your phone number
  • Microchip (implantable identification with registry)
  • 6-ft leash