Licensing Your Pet

State and local law requires that all dogs be licensed annually by January 30.  All cats that reside in the cities of La Crosse and Onalaska, the towns of Campbell and Shelby, and the village of Rockland require licensing by January 30, as well.  

A grace period in which no late fee is enforced from January 31 through April 1 is allowed; however, a citation for failure to license can be issued during this time period. 

After April 1, the late fee per pet is $25.  A citation, per unlicensed pet, is $250.

Although it is the law to license resident pets, there are many other important reasons to register your animals. 

  • A licensed pet ensures that the pet is vaccinated for rabies. Rabies, in almost all cases, is deadly. If a pet is vaccinated and bites a human, being vaccinated vastly improves the odds of the pet not having and/or passing rabies on to a human.
  • If a pet is licensed and it is wearing its license tag,  the owner of the pet is better able to be determined and find its way back home. 
  • License fees help to ensure animal control services remain in place for our community. From responding to stray pets running at large to investigating with law enforcement to prosecute animal cruelty and neglect, license fees directly support these services. 
Portraits by Hilary Running.

Pet Licensing FAQ's

Which pets need to be licensed?

The State of Wisconsin requires every dog over 5 months of age to be licensed.  As for cats, licensing requirements vary by municipality.  Cats older than 5 months of age who reside in the following municipalities are required to be licensed in La Crosse County: 

  • Village of Bangor
  • Town of Campbell
  • City of La Crosse
  • City of Onalaska 
  • City of Rockland
  • Town of Shelby

What do I need to license my dog or cat?

In order to obtain your pet’s annual license, you need to demonstrate that your dog or cat has a current rabies vaccination by providing a copy of his/her rabies vaccination certificate when applying. You will also need to have a driver's license or current state ID. 



Where can I license my dog or cat?

You can apply for a dog or cat license through your local Treasurer or Clerk.  You may also apply for a license at our facility during our business hours, from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, and 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.  Saturday and Sunday