FAQs ABOUT ANIMAL LICENSES 

  1. What is included in Berkeley's Animal Licensing Ordinance?

  2. Do I have to license my cat? 

  3. What if my dog or cat is unaltered? 

  4. What if my pet cannot reproduce? 

  5. Where can I purchase an animal license? 

  6. Is a rabies certificate necessary for a dog license? 

  7. Do I qualify for a fee waiver for a dog license? 

  8. What qualifies as a Service Dog? 

  9. What is microchip identification?

 

In addition, see Berkeley Municipal Code (BMC) Chapter 10.04 Dog and Cat Licenses and Regulations.
Note: For access to the Berkeley Municipal Code (BMC), go to the City’s BMC site where you can browse the BMC in .pdf format, or search the BMC using Records Online. Search tips, including printable search procedures, are available from the BMC site.

What is included in Berkeley's Animal Licensing Ordinance?

Since August 2000, the BMC Chapter 10.04, regulating animal licensing, has encouraged spaying and neutering of dogs and cats to reduce animals from going unclaimed and being euthanized at the Animal Shelter. The BMC includes other specific licensing requirements, including:

Most animals must be spayed or neutered before being transferred to a new owner from the Animal Shelter. (BMC 10.04.080)

Unaltered dogs and cats impounded by the Animal Shelter will be required to be spayed or neutered prior to their release, unless the owner requests a hearing and establishes a good cause not to alter the animal. (BMC 10.04.206)

Unlicensed, impounded pets will be required to obtain a license prior to their release from the Animal Shelter. (BMC 10.04.210)

Fee waivers for seniors, low-Income residents, and service dogs, for licensing spayed or neutered animals. (BMC 10.04.032)

For more information about the ordinance, visit or contact the Finance Customer Service at (510) 981-7200.

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Do I have to license my cat? 

Owners of unaltered cats are required to obtain a license certificate for their pets.  Cats that are spayed or neutered do not have to obtain a license certificate.

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What if my dog or cat is unaltered?

You will only be able to purchase a 1- year license at a higher cost than a spayed or neutered pet. Owners of unaltered cats are now required to obtain a license certificate, and can only purchase a 1-year certificate.

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What if my pet cannot reproduce?

You may purchase licenses at the reduced rate for animals unable to reproduce because of age or permanent health conditions with verification from a veterinarian.

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Where can I purchase an animal license?

Animal licenses are available at Berkeley Animal Care Services and the Finance Customer Service.

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Is a rabies certificate necessary for a dog license? 

Yes, a valid rabies certificate is required at the time you purchase or renew a dog license. There are no exceptions to this State-mandated requirement.

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Do I qualify for a fee waiver for a dog license?

BMC 10.04.032 covers fee waivers for licenses issued to eligible individuals:

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What qualifies as a Service Dog?

A service dog is any guide dog, signal dog or other dog that is individually trained to do, and is doing, the work of performing tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability. Service dog work may include: guiding individuals with impaired vision, alerting individuals with impaired hearing, or pulling a wheelchair. 

Proof of service dog status shall be provided by documentation from a licensed dog trainer or veterinarian. Alternatively, any person, including the owner/guardian, may certify that the dog has been individually trained to perform identified tasks to assist the owner/guardian with the impairment.

A service dog license fee waiver applies to all service dogs, regardless of reproductive status.

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What is microchip identification?

A microchip is a small device, small enough to fit inside a hypodermic needle, and can be simply injected under the skin of animal where it will stay for the life of the animal.  This provides a permanent and positive way to identify your pet that cannot be lost, altered or intentionally removed.  It's a safe, simple, inexpensive way to protect your animal against loss of theft.

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