Dog Licensing: Frequently Asked Questions How do I get a license for my dog? Dog license applications are available for download from the Jefferson County Animal Control website. Simply download and complete the form and return it to Jefferson County along with the fee and the required rabies and spay/neuter information. Application forms are also available at many local veterinarians (check with your vet first to confirm) and at Westminster City Hall and the Westminster Public Safety Center. I live in Adams County. Why do I need to get my license from Jefferson County? Westminster has residents in both counties, but has always relied on the Jefferson County animal shelter, Table Mountain Animal Center, to house lost pets and handle dangerous animals for all city residents. The city has had an agreement with TMAC since 1997 to provide these services. The city does not make use of the Adams County Animal Shelter services for its residents. Why should I license my dog? Licensing reunites lost pets with their owners. A dog license can be traced 24 hours a day, every day of the year by an on-call animal management officer in any part of the county. The license information also includes home and alternate phone numbers, a secondary person to contact in case of an emergency, as well as medical and dietary information on the dog. Prior to the dog license, dog owners were only required to have a current rabies tag on their dog. Rabies tags could only be traced through the issuing veterinary clinic and only when the clinic was open. The Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals support dog licensing. Why is there a dog licensing program in Westminster? Dog licensing has been a way of life in unincorporated Jefferson County for several years, but in 2007 the cities of Arvada, Golden, Lakewood, Wheat Ridge and Westminster adopted laws to require dog owners in their cities to license their dogs. The cities joined the licensing program for several reasons: • To bring your lost dog home to you faster. • To allow tracking of dangerous and aggressive dogs throughout the participating jurisdictions and address concerns about such dogs without adopting bans on specific breeds. • To help fund a new facility for Table Mountain Animal Center, the temporary safe haven for lost, abandoned and relinquished animals for the participating jurisdictions. • To encourage responsible dog ownership and to enhance public health and safety. In addition, licensing encourages the spaying and neutering of dogs through staggered fees. The license fee differential -- $15 for spayed and neutered dogs and $30 for unaltered dogs -- was designed to encourage people to sterilize their dogs. Animal management officers hope to reduce the number of unwanted pets through this program. Pet overpopulation is a major problem and leads to overcrowding at shelters and the euthanization of far too many pets. Licensing also encourages pet owners to vaccinate their dogs against rabies. The rabies vaccine is a prerequisite for a dog license. Countywide licensing will reduce the risk of rabid dog bites throughout the county. How will licensing help the Table Mountain Animal Center? A portion of the revenues generated by dog licensing will go to Table Mountain Animal Center's capital building fund to help construct a much-needed new facility. TMAC serves as a safe haven for lost animals impounded by animal management officers and for pets relinquished by their owners. It is also the animal adoption facility within Jefferson County for the entire Rocky Mountain Region. While TMAC receives the third largest volume of animals of all shelters in Colorado, it has one of the smallest budgets of any major animal shelter in the state. Why did the fees increase to $15 and $30? (New fees are in effect as of July 15, 2007) A market survey of dog licensing fees in the Denver area and other metropolitan areas indicated that these fees are in keeping with licensing fees elsewhere. Also, city managers and the Jefferson County administrator set fees at the aforementioned levels based on the estimated cost of funding a new facility for the Table Mountain Animal Center. A portion of the revenues generated by dog licensing will go to Table Mountain Animal Center's capital building fund to help construct a much-needed new facility. TMAC serves as a safe haven for lost animals impounded by animal management officers and for pets relinquished by their owners. It is also the animal adoption facility within Jefferson County for the entire Rocky Mountain Region. While TMAC receives the third largest volume of animals of all shelters in Colorado, it has one of the smallest budgets of any major animal shelter in the state. Why is there a staggered fee for altered vs. unaltered dogs? Unaltered dogs present a more significant strain on animal management and shelter resources than spayed and neutered pets. According to the Pet Overpopulation Fund, 43,000 pets were euthanized in 2006 due to a shortage of adopting homes in Colorado. Spaying and neutering helps prevent unwanted pets from being euthanized, and eases the burden on government and nonprofit resources and taxpayers. The staggered fees were established to encourage responsible pet ownership, including spaying and neutering. A market survey of dog licensing fees in the Denver area and other metropolitan areas indicated that these fees are in keeping with licensing fees elsewhere. Why are cats not licensed? Cats are not required to be licensed, which is common practice in most parts of the state and the country. Westminster does require cats to be vaccinated for rabies, and cats are required to be kept under the control of the owner and are not allowed to roam free in the City of Westminster. Is anyone exempt from dog licensing? Facilities such as breeders that have PACFA (Pet Animal Care Facility) licenses are exempt from the licensing fee, but not the license itself. Dog owners must obtain licenses for each dog 4 months or older. Service dogs are also exempt from licensing fees, but must obtain a license. Is there a deadline for getting a license? Licenses are mandatory for all dogs in the City of Westminster as of July 1, 2007. Dog owners are expected to comply with the law as promptly as possible. The city does recognize that there will be a period of education needed to inform dog owners of the requirements and allow them a reasonable amount of time to comply. What happens if I don't get a dog license for my dog? Licensing is the law, and all dog owners are required to follow the law or face a potential fine. The amount of the fine is set by the court. Westminster Animal Management expects to handle dog licensing similar to the way rabies vaccinations are handled. An animal management officer who contacts you and your pet (for any number of reasons) and finds that the animal is not licensed will typically issue a warning and provide an opportunity to comply before issuing a summons. Does my dog have to have a current rabies vaccination to be licensed? Yes. Each dog must have proof of a current rabies vaccination, administered by a licensed veterinarian. Titer tests will not be accepted as proof of rabies vaccination. Countywide licensing (with rabies vaccinations as a prerequisite) will reduce the risk of rabid dog bites throughout the county. Is my personal information made public after I submit my license application? Jefferson County does not distribute or sell contact information for pet owners. The contact information you provide is used to reunite you with your pet, should your dog become lost and found. Who do I call for more information? If you have questions about the dog licensing program, please contact Westminster Animal Management at 303-430-2400, ext. 4326, and leave a message. An animal management officer will return your call within 24 hours.
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