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On July 1, 2017, Sacramento’s Front Street Animal Shelter launched a new automatic license citation program to increase required animal licensing within the City of Sacramento. When pets are licensed, we can track the number of animals vaccinated against rabies, and if a domestic or wild animal tests positive in our city, we can contact pet owners in the surrounding community and adequately plan a quarantine if needed. Additionally, lost pets with a license tag help decrease shelter intake by allowing both citizens and animal control officers the opportunity to reunite pets with owners before ever coming to the shelter. This helps the Front Street Shelter continue its mission of saving as many animal lives as possible and ensuring that there is always adequate room in the shelter, minimizing euthanasia and reducing overall cost of care.

Revenue from licensing is also a critical funding source to care for both animals in the shelter as well as animals and people in our community. Licensing programs fund much needed low-cost spay and neuter services, another key component to reducing pet overpopulation, along with free monthly vaccination clinics. Currently, the City of Sacramento’s licensing compliance rate is well below the national average. The new automatic citation program is based on a model that has proven effective in other California cities, providing not just adequate funding for operations and services, but ultimately lessening the shelter’s reliance on the General Fund.

When it is time for pet owners to renew their pet’s license, they will receive several reminders from our licensing partner, DocuPet. If the license is not renewed 30 days following the license expiration date, a letter is sent to the pet owners stating that non-compliance will result in a correctable $300 citation (pursuant to SCC 9.44.490/430). The citation fee will be waived if a license is obtained within 30 days of receiving the citation. Failure to license within the stated grace period will result in a permanent citation in the full amount of $300.

The goal of the program is not to penalize City residents, but to provide a more consistent educational and explanatory process that will increase compliance. This program gives the City’s pet owners multiple opportunities to comply with City Code and offers incentives including free microchipping, rabies vaccines, and identification tags. Most importantly, this will ensure that our Animal Control unit is in compliance with the Compendium of Animal Rabies Prevention to prevent the outbreak of the rabies virus in our community.


Any City resident participating in one of the following programs listed below may receive a complimentary license for any spayed or neutered pet. A rabies vaccine and a microchip will be included with the offer. Proof of program participation is required.

  • Lifeline (AT&T)
  • PGE and SMUD Assistance Programs
  • City Utility Rate Assistance Program

Any qualifying city resident with an unaltered pet may receive a complimentary license upon spaying or neutering their pet through the City’s low-income program free of charge.

Complimentary licenses for low-income City residents will not apply for any pet owner unwilling to spay or neuter their animal. Full unaltered licensing fees will be required.