New Jersey dog bite lawyers find it essential that dog owners keep their dogs licensed each year. Not only is it helpful to municipalities to have an accurate record of dog population in their town but also knowing that dog bite victims do not need to fear exposure to rabies can save major hassles and trauma for both the victim and the dog owner. Though not all that common, exposure to rabies as the result of a dog bite can be fatal to the victim if not treated.
In New Jersey, dogs and cats that are 7 months or older must be licensed with the owner’s municipality in January of each year. Licensing is required for both indoor and outdoor pets, especially for dogs. Renewable dates and fees depend on each municipality, but NJ law forbids municipalities from charging a license fee that exceeds $21.00 per year. Fees are higher for pets that are not neutered or spayed. Most municipalities also charge higher fees to license dogs, since the risk of rabies transmission through bites is higher among dogs than cats.
How Do I Register My Dog in My Town?
Documentation and Fees
New Jersey pet registration laws mandate owners to show proof that their pet’s rabies vaccination is current for 10 months out of the 12-month licensing period. Owners can also present a written statement from a licensed veterinarian as proof that their pet cannot receive the rabies vaccination due to a medical condition. If your pet is spayed or neutered, you’ll need to include proof of that as well in order to qualify for the lower rate.
In addition to the license fee, additional registration fees are collected by the municipality for the state’s animal control services. One dollar of each dog’s fee is applied to the DHSS (Department of Health and Senior Services) Rabies Trust Fund. The DHSS also receives $3.00 of each licensing fee to fund New Jersey’s Animal Population Control Program, which provides low cost neuter and spay services. Finally, $0.20 of each dog’s fee goes toward low cost spay and neuter services provided by The People for Animals, Inc. clinic in Hillside, NJ. Municipalities may charge a late fee for applications that are submitted past the renewal date, or for renewals due to a notice or summons for non-license.
Where to License Your Dog in NJ
Owners can license their dogs in person at the appropriate municipal clerk’s office, or through the mail. Applications, fees and instructions can be found on each municipality’s official website, typically under “Health and Human Services”. For links to some of the local Ocean County and Monmouth County municipal website where dog registration information can be found, see below. Owners applying by mail should send out their applications at least a week ahead of the renewal date to ensure that it is processed in time.
Upon submitting the application, proof of rabies vaccination and fee to the appropriate licensing clerk, owners will receive a tag as proof of their dog’s registration. The tag must be securely fastened onto the dog’s collar or harness so that it is easily accessible at all times. This is extremely important if a dog ever gets loose and is captured by the police or animal control office. Not only does it assure the officer that the dog is not a rabies risk, but the registration number on the tag can also help track down its proper owner.
Any unregistered animal that is off its owner’s property is at risk of being impounded by an animal control officer, per New Jersey Statute 4:19-15.16. This statute also allows for such dogs to be euthanized or placed for adoption by animal control, since unregistered and unclaimed dogs are legally considered strays. New Jersey animal shelters are generally overcrowded and underfunded, so owners are normally given only 7 days in which to claim their pet. Licensing your dog is not only a duty to your community; it can also prevent the devastation of losing your pet on a permanent basis.
Below are links to information on licensing your dog in select Ocean County and Monmouth County towns.