dog sitting on couch

Vaccinate Your Pet for Rabies

This prevents them from getting rabies from a wild animal bite. If your pet bites another animal or person, it prevents them from spreading the disease.


  • All dogs must be vaccinated for rabies by the age of five months per Wisconsin state law.
  • Rabies vaccine is good for 6 months, 1 year, or 3 years, depending on type of vaccine given and age at vaccination.
  • Check with your vet to be sure your dog stays up to date on rabies vaccination.


Rabies vaccination is required to get a cat license. Check with your municipality to see if they require a license for cats.

Get a Pet License

Why license your pet?
Licensed animals can be more easily identified if lost, and license fees help us help lost, unwanted, injured, abandoned and mistreated animals. Specifically, your pet license fees support the following programs:

  • Humane investigations into animal cruelty
  • 24-hour animal rescue
  • Recovering and returning lost animals to their homes
  • Providing food, shelter, veterinary and humane care for stray or homeless animals
  • Assistance and care for sick, injured, or trapped wild animals
  • Humane education for animal owners


  • You must license your dog by the age of five months, per Wisconsin state law.
  • You must buy a new license for your dog each year.
  • A license costs about $10-20 and is cheaper if you dog is spayed or neutered.
  • City of Madison: Dog Licensing
  • Dane County: County licenses are sold by individual town, city, and village clerks. See the map below for links to information on pet licensing from your municipality.

Once you have your dog license, you can get a dog park permit:


These municipalities require you to license your cat:

City of Edgerton Village of Black Earth Village of McFarland
City of Fitchburg Village of Cambridge Village of Mt Horeb
City of Madison Village of Cross Plains Village of Oregon
City of Monona Village of Deerfield Village of Shorewood Hills
Village of Belleville Village of Maple Bluff Village of Waunakee

If you live in one of these municipalities, you must buy a new license for your cat each year. A license costs about $10-20 and is cheaper if your cat is spayed or neutered. See the map above for links to more information by municipality.

Put Identification and License Tags on Your Pet

Your pet should wear an ID tag with your name, address, and phone number at all times. Many people think that if their pet is microchipped, they don’t need a tag; however, if a neighbor or good samaritan finds your pet, they will have no way of knowing if the animal is microchipped. The fastest way to get your lost pet back is to have an ID tag with your current address and easily reachable phone number.

Your pet should also wear their license tag and rabies tag. These tags can help your pet back home if it gets lost. You can get an ID tag from your local vet, at pet stores, or the Humane Society. Municipalities issue license tags.

Be a Responsible Pet Owner

  • Leashing. Cats and dogs must be on a leash if they are not on your property.
  • Park Permits. If you take your dog to a dog park, they must have a dog park permit. Follow the dog park’s rules, which are posted at the park entrance.
  • Pets in Cars. Do not leave your pet alone in a car.
  • Clean Up.
    • Always carry equipment to clean up your dog's poop whenever you and your dog are off your property.
    • Do not allow your dog to poop on any property, public or private (except your own property), unless you immediately clean it up. Be mindful of other people’s yards and gardens and try to avoid allowing your dog to pee and poop on private property if possible.
    • Do not allow dog poop to accumulate on your property.
    • Dog poop can pose health risks to people and pets and is a source of food for wild animals and pests.
    • There are often steep fines for violating these ordinances.
  • Barking. Minimize your dog's barking as much as possible. Our Animal Services staff do not respond to barking dogs. To report a barking dog, call your local police department.
  • Safety Tips. See the ASPCA website for more pet health and safety tips.
  • Animal Adoptions and Surrenders. See the Dane County Humane Society website for more information. 

Report Bite Incidents

Even if you own the animal or know the owner, it is important to report animal bites to us. It helps reduce disease and illness.

  • If your pet bites a person or pet, treat it like a car crash: check to see if the bite broke the skin, and exchange name and phone number with the owner. Don’t wait to check the bite when you get home. It may be too late to find the owner and rabies shots may be needed.

Report the bite to us at (608) 255-2345 (ask for an Animal Services Officer). Visit our Animal Bites & Rabies page for more information.