You take care of your pet. You give it food, water and vet care. But if you haven't licensed your pet with the county, you're not giving your pet all the care it deserves and you're in violation of the law.

Licensing your pet is the law. County law states that animal owners must register their cats, dogs and ferrets that are four months of age or older with a county license (Marion County Code, chapter 4, section 8 - 9). If you don't have a license for your pet, you could receive a citation and fine beginning at $100.

Licensing your pet helps it find its way home. The county license acts as a secondary form of identification in case your pet becomes lost or injured. If your cat gets lost, would you rather tell shelter staff that you're missing a brown tabby cat or that you're missing a brown tabby cat with a license number of L10-1223? Many, many brown tabby cats reside in Marion County. Only one has a license number of L10-1223.

Licensing your pet helps keep it safe from disease. The county license is proof that your pet has been vaccinated against rabies, keeping your pets and others safe from disease. Even if you have an "inside pet," remember that it only takes a one-time escape from the house and a one-time scuffle with a stray animal or wildlife for your pet to contract the disease.

Microchips

Bring your pet to the Animal Center during business hours and tell staff at the front desk that you would like your pet microchipped. Microchipping costs $15 and takes only a few minutes, but provides a lifelong means of identification for your pet. This service is only available to Marion County residents and to those who have a current license (unless they are too young for a rabies vaccine.)