In Wisconsin, dog owners are required by state law to license their dogs every year. When the dog or cat receives a rabies vaccination from their veterinarian, the owner is sent home with a Certificate of Rabies and a Rabies tag. Some owners mistakenly believe the tag from the veterinarian is their dog license.
The State of Wisconsin requires all dog owners to present the Certificate of Rabies to their local municipal government and apply for a dog license. Some local municipalities require the same for cats. It should be noted that even if a dog or cat received a 3-year rabies vaccine, the municipal clerk will need to see the Certificate of Rabies every year to license your pet. Some communities will license dogs and cats through the mail. The fees and application form vary by community, but the law requiring this to be done annually is the same countywide.
All dog licenses expire on December 31st of each year. The licensing law requires the tag to be displayed on the dog, with few exceptions noted.
For questions regarding dog or cat licensing in a specific community, give your local municipal clerks’ office a call or look at our Local Animal Laws & Limits Page. Remember, with a license, your pet is wearing the best protection from permanent loss that money can buy! Be sure to have your pet license tag on your pet's collar at all times to ensure quick return should he or she be found. It also helps veterinarians contact pet owners should your pet become injured and be in need of life saving medical treatment.
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