Delaware Office of Animal Welfare

FAQ

Why license my dog?

  • If your dog goes missing, having him licensed drastically improves your chances of getting him back. A license tag helps animal control and shelters quickly identify your dog and get him back to you safely, many times before the dog is even taken to a shelter. Even a member of the public can find the owner by using the tag number, website and phone number included on the tag.
  • The cost of the license is far less than the penalty for being caught without one. If a state animal welfare enforcement officer finds your dog without a license, you can end up paying a fine of $50, more for repeat offenses.
  • Licensing lets people know that your dog is up to date on its rabies vaccinations. A dog cannot be licensed unless it is properly vaccinated. Animal control or a Good Samaritan will be much more likely to want to handle and care for your missing pup if they know that it is healthy.
  • License fees support the efforts of animal control. The annual fee that you pay to license your dog supports Delaware Animal Services, who works to reunite lost animals with their owner, ensure care and placement of stray animals; and enhance public safety.

Are dog licenses mandatory?
Yes! Under Delaware law it is mandatory that dog owners have their pets licensed. If you get caught without a license, you will be fined. Dogs must have a renewed license each year, unless you have a multi-year license.

I did not have my dog licensed last year. Will I face fines for prior years?
No. We will not charge dog owners for not having obtained a license in prior years. Our concern is for the current year only.

Do I need any paperwork to obtain a license?
Your dog is required to have a current rabies vaccine in order to obtain a license. Proof of vaccination is requested at time of purchase. Your veterinarian can provide you with a rabies certificate, verifying your dog’s vaccination status.

We offer discounted license fees for altered dogs (spayed/neutered). If you are applying for a discounted altered dog license, you will need to provide proof of spay/neuter at time of purchase.

Does the rabies vaccination expiration have to match the dog license expiration date?
No, as long as your dog is current on their rabies vaccination when you apply for a license, you will receive a dog license.

How much does a license cost?

Type 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year
Spayed or Neutered Dog: $10 $20 $30
Unaltered Dog: $15 $30 $45

How long is the license valid? 
Dog licenses will be valid for 1, 2 or 3 years from the date of purchase.

  • For a 1-year license, your pet’s rabies vaccination must be current at the time of purchase.
  • For a 2-year license, there must be more than 1 year remaining on the rabies vaccination as of the purchase date.
  • For a 3-year license, there must be more than 2 years remaining on the rabies vaccination as of the purchase date.

What is the due date for obtaining a dog license? Is there a late fee?
Payment for your license is due within 30 days of the license expiration date, or within 30 days of acquiring a dog over the age of 6 months in the State of Delaware. There is a $12 late fee applied after 30 days.

I have a multi-year license issued by Sussex, Kent or New Castle County or the City of Wilmington. Will you honor the expiration date?
Yes. We will honor all licenses and their expiration date that were issued by the counties or City of Wilmington.

I lost my tag. What do I do?
Contact us to request a replacement license tag. Call 877-730-6347. A service fee of $5 applies to all replacement tags.

If I rehome my dog, does my license transfer?
Licenses cannot be transferred, and a new owner would need to order a new license.

Does my cat need a license?
No. Licensing regulations apply only to dogs within the State of Delaware. Cats do not need to be licensed.