According to State Law and County Ordinance, dogs 4 months of age or older must be vaccinated for rabies and licensed. Annual license fees are $20 per dog, $10 if spay or neutered. A reduced fee license is available for qualifying low income owners and a fee exempt license is available for Native Americans living on the reservation and for service or seeing-eye dogs. The dog licensing renewal period in Del Norte County is December 1 through February 1 annually. Dogs must be licensed within 30 days of becoming 4 months old, within 30 days of entering the County, within 30 days of acquiring the dog, or within 30 days of expiration of a license from another California County or a 100% penalty is assessed for not licensing according to the ordinance. A current rabies vaccination certificate issued by a veterinarian is required prior to a license being issued. The license fee is reduced 50% for spay or neutered dogs with a certificate from a veterinarian stating the dog is altered. Failure to renew or obtain a license may result in a court citation and the fines are generally many times greater than if the law is obeyed. Licensing is an integral part of our rabies control program, is essential in reuniting lost dogs with their owners, and helps defray the cost of providing animal control services and the cost of maintaining the County Pound facility. Another benefit to licensing is the “free ride home” policy. If a dog has its current license attached and we can contact the owner the first day of impound to return the dog, it gets one free ride home per license year within Del Norte County.