Frequently Asked Licensing Questions

  • Licensed dogs have a higher chance of being reunited with their owners if they get lost. Field Services will try to return the dogs directly to their home if the dog is wearing an up-to-date tag.
  • Important health information about your dog can be placed in our licensing records so that if they get lost and end up in our care, we have a medical history for them.Buying your dog a license helps save the lives of animals by providing funding for pets in need that come to San Diego Humane Society.
  • It is the law. San Diego County (62.610) and the cities of Oceanside (4.17) and Vista (6.07.010) require all dogs to be vaccinated against rabies and to obtain a license within thirty (30) days (a) of all dogs reaching 4 months of age, (b) of acquiring a dog, or (c) after moving to Escondido, San Marcos, Poway, Oceanside or Vista. Failure to do so within this time will result in a late fee and/or a citation.If your dog ends up at our campus, your fees will be less. If an unlicensed and unaltered dog (running at large) is brought to the North Campus, the fines to retrieve the dog start at $150 per day. The fines are set by California Food & Agriculture Code (30804.7) and local ordinances.
  • You can enjoy our dog park. All dogs need to be licensed and altered for entry to the San Diego Humane Society Dog Park.
  • A license tells others that your dog is vaccinated against rabies.
We only send license tags when it is a new license. When you renew your license, you keep the same license tag number; we renew the license tag number in our computer system and mail you the receipt.

Health and Safety code 121690g states that a license cannot exceed the rabies vaccination due date. It also serves as a reminder to update the rabies vaccination.

  • As an incentive to have your dog spayed or neutered.
  • California Food & Agriculture Code (30804.5) states that license fees are to be one-half or less than the regular fee if they are altered.
If your check was returned, there should have been a small form explaining why it was returned (i.e. incorrect payment, need rabies shot, etc.). Please make the needed changes and return by the appointed date to avoid any late fees. If you have any questions, please call 760.730.8850 (Oceanside or Vista residents) or 760.888.2275 (Escondido, San Marcos, or Poway residents).

San Diego Humane Society hosts vaccination clinics at all of our Campuses. Click here for schedule information.

There are also monthly Mobile Vaccine Clinics at various locations throughout the cities of Oceanside and Vista. These clinics will be held on the fourth Saturday of each month from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

 After the dog receives his/her rabies vaccine, Escondido, Oceanside, Poway, San Marcos and Vista residents can print a dog license application and mail it to our San Diego Campus (5500 Gaines St, San Diego, CA 92110) or come in person to our Escondido Campus (3450 E Valley Parkway, 92027) or Oceanside Campus (2905 San Luis Rey Rd, 92058) during normal business hours.

The following veterinarians sell licenses as part of San Diego Humane Society’s off-site licensing program. If your veterinarian is not listed and is interested in selling licenses, ask them to contact us for more details:

• Rancho Del Oro Veterinary Hospital
• Surfside Animal Hospital
• Tri-City Veterinary Clinic

All the money goes towards funding San Diego Humane Society in our mission to promote the humane treatment of animals, to prevent cruelty to animals, and provide education to enhance the human-animal bond.

Mail in the renewal form with the correct information and make sure to include the dog’s license tag number.

No, however Food and Agriculture code (30951) states that the dog needs to have a) a metal tag with name and address of owner; OR b) metal license tag issued by licensing authority.

A license is not required for cats in Escondido, San Marcos, Poway, Oceanside, or Vista. However, we recommend microchip identification and keeping cats indoors, in addition to a collar and name tag.

California Code of Regulations (2606.4c) states all dogs are required to have a current rabies vaccination in order to obtain a dog license.

We would need a signed letter from your veterinarian explaining why your dog can not receive a rabies vaccination and for how long.

Yes, a dog can still get out of the yard and a license will make it easier to return your dog.

It is the law; both the County of San Diego (62.620) and the cities of Oceanside (4.17) and Vista (6.07.010) require all dogs over 4 months of age be licensed.

Yes, your city ordinance states that “it shall be unlawful to own or harbor any dog within the city, except as herein provided, without first having obtained a license…” A rabies tag only provides proof of rabies vaccine and does not qualify as a dog license; a microchip only provides proof of ownership.

Replacement tags are $5 and will expire at the same time as the previous tag. They are available at the Oceanside and Escondido Campuses.

Yes, there is a $20 late fee per Oceanside (4.18) and Vista (6.07.020). There is a $10 late fee for Escondido, San Marcos and Poway.

  • San Diego Humane Society cannot waive the Administrative Citation. Please follow the directions on the form.
  • The dog owner must purchase a dog license at the San Diego Humane Society Escondido or Oceanside Campus. You cannot mail this in. Proof of current rabies vaccine is required and can be obtained from any state-licensed veterinarian.
  • Late fees need to be paid when purchasing a license.
  • If you no longer own the dog, no longer live in the jurisdiction, etc. please contact the San Diego Humane Society Escondido or Oceanside Campus immediately so we can make the proper changes.
  • Follow the directions on the back of the Administrative Citation to ensure compliance and avoid any additional penalties.
  • It is your responsibility to pay the Administrative Citation within thirty (30) days of issuance, including weekends and holidays.
  • Appeal forms are available at your local code enforcement agency or San Diego Humane Society Oceanside Campus.