Edited in January 2017 to reflect changes to license fees.
As you might expect, we hear this question. A lot. We understand — although $24-35 to purchase a license for a spayed or neutered cat or dog won’t break most bank accounts, it is still an investment of your hard-earned dollars. It’s also an investment in the Seattle Animal Shelter, its services and its commitment to helping you and your pet in your time of need. Luckily, our Seattle Animal Shelter is totally worth it.
First, let’s face it together: Pets get lost.
None of us wants to imagine losing our best pal, but we receive reports of lost pets every day. Additionally, there are steady streams of lost and found pets posted daily on websites such as the Lost and Found Dogs of King County Facebook Group, Lost and Found Pets WA State and Craigslist. Many lost animals are well-loved, cared for and were never lost before. It just takes one accident, and it’s worth it to be prepared just in case…
- A pet sitter, friend or child leaves a door ajar.
- A hole rips in the window screen.
- Your pet gets scared by fireworks, a car misfiring or even an earthquake.
- You get into an auto accident and your pet bolts when the door opens.
- There’s a hole in the fence you didn’t know about.
- The new kitten’s favorite game turns out to be running for the door.
The list is endless. Accidents happen. A pet license is one important, easy way to prepare!
But isn’t a microchip the same thing?
Microchips are amazing. A microchip is tiny – about the size of a grain of rice – and it is implanted under the skin, usually between the shoulders. Each chip contains a unique identification number, which can be read painlessly with a microchip scanner. Most veterinarians and animal rescues have scanners. If the microchip has been properly registered, you can contact the registration company and they will try to contact the owners. Microchips provide permanent identification and are highly recommended. However, they work best in partnership with visible identification. Plus, you can easily add your pet’s microchip number to your Seattle license record for added protection.
Visible identification is essential for getting lost pets home. Tags are deceivingly simple, yet so important. A tag tells your pet’s finder that he’s owned and lost, and not a stray that can be kept or ignored. By providing the Seattle Animal Shelter’s phone number, it makes it easy for the finder to help. And while Seattle is an extremely cat- and dog-friendly city, your pet’s finder may not be savvy about microchips and how to help a lost animal. The phone number on a license tag provides a simple call to action that doesn’t require additional knowledge or a quest to find a microchip scanner. We also recommend your pet wear a tag with your phone number, but a pet license is still vital in providing someone your pet’s finder can call when you can’t get to the phone. Perhaps someday our pets will all be GPS-equipped, but in the meantime a license tag can help be your pet’s voice if he becomes lost.
Anatomy of a Seattle License Tag
- Seattle Pet License – signals that this pet is legally owned and registered with the City of Seattle.
- Unique Identification Number – can be used to find the pet’s record and contact information.
- Seattle Animal Shelter’s Pet Licensing Phone Number – lets the finder know who to call for help with returning the lost pet to its family.
To keep things simple and maximize the funds that can be applied to animal services, we provide a permanent tag with your initial license purchase. When it’s time to renew the license, you’ll receive a postcard reminder notice, and you can easily renew online, in person, by phone or by mail, and your pet keeps its original tag. It’s as simple as that! If your pet loses its tag, you can order a replacement for just $5.
I’m sure my pet is already licensed!
It’s easy to assume that your pet is licensed, but that may not be the case. We partner with local businesses such as veterinarians and pet supply stores to help get the word out about pet licensing, but not all animal organizations offer licensing information. It’s wise to check your records and tags to be sure you have a current Seattle pet license. If in doubt, you can check by contacting the Seattle Pet Licensing Office at email@example.com or 206-386-4262.
In Seattle, dogs need to wear their license tag at all times. For cats, if you’ve added your cat’s microchip number to its current license record, your cat can go tagless. We recommend your cat wear visible identification but understand that some cats don’t tolerate collars. For pets with multiple tags, you can purchase tag silencers or pouches at most pet supply stores. While tags may be annoying at times, trust us – the peace of mind knowing that your pet has identification in case it gets lost is well worth it.
Licensed pets get home faster.
In many cases they can avoid coming to the shelter altogether! Need a lift? When our humane law enforcement officers encounter your lost pet, they can use pet license information to contact you immediately. Whenever possible, they offer the pet a ride straight home. If your animal is in need of veterinary care, license information can help us contact you quickly to ensure you can make medical decisions for your pet.
When a community member finds a lost pet, they call the Seattle Animal Shelter. We can quickly pull up contact information based on the license tag number. Up-to-date license information enables us to simply put the finder on hold while we call the pet’s owner. We are often able to connect the finder and owner to return the pet home directly. It’s quick, easy and a great feeling of community coming together to help one another.
The Seattle Animal Shelter aims to get lost pets back to their loving homes as quickly and easily as possible. Not only do these efforts result in less stress on the pet, finder and owner, but they also free up resources that can be used to help other animals in need. Win-win!
Did you know? Your license fee helped an animal today.
Pet license payments are deposited in the Seattle Animal Shelter’s operating budget, which means that your pet license helps fund lifesaving programs including animal rescue, rehabilitation and adoption, humane law enforcement and low-cost spay and neuter. Our open admission shelter boasts a more than 90 percent save rate, and there are no time or space limits for animals our care. In fact, we utilize assistance from hundreds of in-shelter and foster care volunteers to expand our capacity to help more animals, and our policy is to focus on the deed, not the breed with regard to traditionally stereotyped animals such as pit bulls. We also regularly save the lives of injured wildlife and partner with PAWS Wildlife Center to ensure wildlife is properly rehabilitated and released.
Whether it’s preventing unwanted pet pregnancies, finding loving homes for animals in need or rescuing abused and neglected pets, the Seattle Animal Shelter uses pet license revenue to help more community members and save more lives. It’s a little tag with a big impact.
Who needs a Seattle pet license?
If you live in the Seattle city limits, your cat, dog, potbellied pig or pygmy goat should be licensed within 30 days of residence. That way your pet is protected in case they become lost, your license fees are supporting animal services provided by the Seattle Animal Shelter and you don’t have to worry about getting a ticket for being unlicensed. Pets who live outside of Seattle can use this handy list offered by Regional Animal Services of King County to determine where they should license: http://kingcounty.gov/depts/regional-animal-services/license-your-pet/licensing-locations.aspx.
What does it cost?
Seattle currently offers the following options for cats and dogs:
|$75||Unaltered One-Year License||$24||Altered One-Year License|
|$150||Unaltered Two-Year License||$48||Altered Two-Year License|
|$100||Unaltered One-Year License||$35||Altered One-Year License|
|$200||Unaltered Two-Year License||$70||Altered Two-Year License|
Goat and pig licenses run $20-120. Please see seattleanimalshelter.org for more details.
Pets qualify for the altered rates if they have been spayed or neutered. For information about affordable spay and neuter, visit seattleanimalshelter.org or call 206-386-4260 to learn about Seattle’s Spay and Neuter Clinic.
Seattle offers a discount of 50 percent off altered license fees for pet owners 60 years of age and older with a Gold Card for Healthy Aging, and for persons with disabilities with a FLASH card. Learn more or apply for a card by visiting the Mayor’s Office for Senior Citizens or calling 206-684-0500.
On the fourth Friday of each month, from 3-6 p.m., we host a “Protect Your Pet” license, rabies and microchip clinic in partnership with Good Neighbor Vet. Purchase or renew your pet’s license at the Seattle Animal Shelter during this clinic and receive a free rabies vaccine and free exam for the licensed pet. You can also purchase a microchip during the clinic for just $15, and other vaccinations are available for an additional fee.
Licensing is easy!
Purchase or renew your cat or dog license online at seattleanimalshelter.org, in person at the Seattle Animal Shelter or any of our more than 40 local business partners, over the phone at 206-386-4262 or by mailing an application to Seattle Pet Licensing at 2061 15th Ave. W., Seattle, WA 98119. It takes just a few minutes and requires only basic contact and pet information with payment. Easy stuff! You can also add, edit and update details later – as often as needed – by contacting the Seattle Pet Licensing Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-386-4262. We urge pet owners to add their microchip number to their record, if possible, and encourage owners to add vacation alerts to their pet records so that we have local pet-sitter contact information when you are away from home.
Ready to license? Visit seattleanimalshelter.org to sign up now!