Know License, Rabies Laws for Dogs

by Gigi McWhirter

Almost every dog’s ears perk up when they hear the words: “Let’s go!” They are hoping for either a walk or ride in the car — because anywhere with you, is where they want to be.
But there are rules for being out and about.

“All dogs, after leaving the inside of a house or building, must be contained at all times — either with a leash or a fence. Failure to do so can result in citations, which when issued require a court appearance. Failure to show up to court will result in a warrant for your arrest,” says Casa Grande Animal Control Supervisor Julie Stocke.


Violators can be cited with a felony offense.

Pet owners are responsible for their animals. If your dog attacks or is attacked by another animal while on a jaunt without a leash, your dog is considered a “dog at large” and you, as the owner, will have a difficult time recouping any losses or disputing any fees that may have occurred during the incident.

Also, just as you would never leave the house without your bling, your dog must never leave the house without a collar adorned with a current rabies tag — all dogs are required to wear a collar with a current rabies tag.

If you find a dog and remove the collar to examine the tags, make sure to put the collar back on. An owner may ID their dog by describing the collar, especially if it has a tag. If an animal is impounded without a tag or collar, it will be held for 72 hours before it is available for adoption, sent to a rescue, and sadly, sometimes euthanized. With a collar, they are held 120 hours. (Sick, injured or aggressive animals receive different consideration).

A rabies tag is issued by the city or county you live in. To get your pet’s tag, you will need to provide a current rabies certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian. The certificate will note the date the vaccine was given, when the vaccine must be boosted again to keep your pet current (in Arizona it will either be a one-year or a three-year vaccine), the vaccine manufacturer, the vaccine serial number, the product name and the date the vaccine must be used before it expires.

It will also have your pet’s name at the time of issue, the microchip number, the breed, a description of the animal, the age, and gender. If your pet is spayed or neutered, you will need to bring a copy of the document issued by the doctor/facility who performed the surgery.

All domesticated dogs after 12 weeks old, no matter where you live in the United States, must have a current rabies vaccine. Contact your local animal control office to discuss guidelines for licensing your dogs. You should also ask about their rules for cats, especially domesticated ones.

Think about this, a one-year tag in the City of Casa Grande is currently $12. Look what that dollar per month gets you: If your pet is picked up and is wearing a tag, animal control can simply look up the license number, contact you, and bam, you have your pet back or an update in the event of an injury, etc. (Impound fees may apply with tougher penalties for repeat offenders).

If your animal loses its collar and has a microchip registered with animal control, great because you are contacted about the status of your pet. Please know, the ultimate goal of any animal control officer/agency is to get you and your pets reunited. It is important that you keep your contact information updated with animal control, the microchip company and your veterinarian.

Animal control officers dream of the day when shelters are empty and all animals are living in safe and loving homes.

Here’s to making those dreams come true, and happy tails to you!