Owners of dogs 7 months of age or older are required by State statute to license their dogs in the municipality where the dogs are housed. Licenses shall expire no later in the year than June 30th. Many municipalities also require rabies vaccination and licensure of cats through municipal ordinances.

Benefits of Dog Licensure

Licensing dogs and placing the registration tag on the dog’s collar has many benefits for the dog owner, as well as for the citizens, including the following:

 •Licensed dogs are vaccinated against rabies (with some exceptions explained below) and those with current license tags on their collars are considered generally protected from the disease

•A licensed dog that wanders off the owner’s property or gets lost can be traced and quickly returned to its owner by animal control officers

•When persons are bitten by a licensed dog, the owner is usually found, and the dog is placed under a 10-day confinement and observation that will prevent the bite victim from needing to begin rabies post-exposure prophylaxis

•Dog licensing is mandatory in all New Jersey municipalities and the licensing fee is much less than the fines and penalties for having unlicensed dogs

•License fees support animal control, animal sheltering and rabies control activities within the municipality

•Dog licensing fees help fund testing of suspect rabid wildlife, the free State-sponsored municipal rabies vaccination clinics and the State operated low cost spay and neuter program

Exemption of Vaccination by Veterinarians

Municipal dog licensing officials shall grant an exemption to the rabies inoculation requirement for any dog that a licensed veterinarian certifies in writing to be incapable of being inoculated because of an infirmity, other physical condition, or regimen of therapy (N.J.A.C.8:23A-4.3).The NJDOH recommends revaccination of dogs and cats prior to expiration of the previous vaccination to ensure an overlap of immunity. Revaccinating animals prior to the expiration of the duration of immunity has not been associated with an increased occurrence of adverse reactions and is not a valid reason to exempt a dog from vaccination.