Responsible Pet Owner Ordinance Effective January 1, 2010

The ordinance was created to reduce the number of animals in shelters and reduce the number of animals being euthanized.  Returning pets to owners in a timely manner and reducing the number of unwanted animals are key methods to reduce these numbers.

The ordinance focuses on animal licensing and the alteration of animals. 

The key concepts are:

  • All dogs over 4 months are required to be licensed
  • All unaltered cats over 6 months are required to be licensed
  • No license is required for altered cats
  • Unaltered Animal Licenses in the unincorporated County require a Veterinary Certificate
  • A license is the best way to quickly get a lost animal back home
  • The required rabies vaccination for dogs prevents the spread of a potentially fatal disease
  • Getting animals home through licensing will relieve overcrowding in our animal shelters and euthanasia of animals as pets will be returned to their homes
  • Revenue from licensing supports Animal Services in caring for stray and injured animals

The owner discusses the "objectives and purpose for owning the dog or cat, and after considering the overall circumstances, including the age and health of the animal, the veterinarian concludes that the owner and dog or cat will be best served by authorizing the owner to purchase an Unaltered Animal License."  The veterinarian then issues the Veterinary Certificate. The owner presents the certificate to purchase an Unaltered Animal License

The ordinance applies only to the unincorporated County area.  The City of Lompoc has a separate spay and neuter ordinance for dogs which has been in effect for three years.

Yes.  Owners living on land that is zoned AG (agriculture) with a minimum of 40 acres are exempt from providing the Veterinary Certificate.  Of course, all dogs are required to be licensed per State law regardless of zoning.

The ordinance only applies to unaltered cats.  Unaltered cats over six months of age are required to be licensed.  Owners wanting to keep their cat unaltered are required to obtain a Veterinary Certificate and an Unaltered Animal License.   Unaltered Animal Licenses for cats are valid for one year.  The rabies vaccination requirement does not apply to cats.

The Unaltered Animal License Fee is the current fee of $80 (one year) plus the $10 surcharge for a total of $90 for a one year license.

Senior discounts are available for dog licenses.  There is no senior discount for an Unaltered Animal License for a cat.   A Veterinary Certificate is required for a senior to purchase an Unaltered Animal License.

The current unaltered dog license is valid until the expiration date.  The pet owner should wait until the license is scheduled to renew.

This is a good opportunity to utilize a six month term license if the plan is to alter the animal in that timeframe.
Dogs and cats six months of age or older that do not meet the requirement to purchase an Unaltered Animal License shall be spayed or neutered.

An animal license is not the same thing as a rabies tag.  Some owners believe their animal is licensed because they have a rabies tag.  Proof of a current rabies vaccination is required to purchase a license.  Wearing the license tag is key to finding owners of animals

In Santa Barbara County, animals that are required to be licensed are required to wear the license tag at all times.  This shows anyone seeing the animal that it is owned and facilitates prompt return to the owner if the animal is lost.