2023 Dog License Deadline Approaches


Is your dog license up to date? The City of Clifton requires that all dogs over 6 months of age be licensed and the Health Department issues dog licenses for either a one or a three year term. All license terms will end on January 31st of the relevant year and dog owners are expected to file their renewals by February. Any renewals for dog licenses that are issued after March 1, 2023 will be subject to a $10 surcharge. New licenses can be issued at any time without penalty. Every license is accompanied by an official metal registration tag for each dog that must be attached to either a collar or harness.

License Application and Fees: License applications can be filled out online or residents may obtain their dog license by applying in person at the Clifton Health Department, 900 Clifton Ave., 2nd floor, or by mailing in this completed application, along with the necessary fees. The City of Clifton accepts payment in the form of money order, checks, cash or debit/credit cards. Fees differ based on whether the pet is spayed/neutered or not. A one year license is $16 for a spayed/neutered pet and $20 for an unaltered one. The three year license is $45 for a spayed/neutered pet and $57 for an unaltered one. The extra $3 fee is forwarded to the NJDOH, Animal Population Control Program (APC) to fund the New Jersey low cost spay and neuter program. More on low cost spay/neuter programs can be found here. $1 of each license fee goes to the Rabies Trust Fund to support State rabies and animal control programs. Owners of Seeing Eye dogs do not need to pay the license fee.

Rabies Vaccination Requirements: Under New Jersey law (N.J.S.A. 4:19-15) dogs must be vaccinated against rabies unless the owner presents a written certification from a licensed veterinarian that the dog cannot be vaccinated due to a medical condition or course of therapy. The license is issued for the length of the immunity provided by the vaccination. If your dog has a rabies vaccine that is only good for a year, the City will only issue a license for a year. Young puppies generally have a first rabies vaccine that will only last a year. Their next vaccination can provide three years of immunity, and they will then be eligible for the three year license. The City of Clifton holds two annual rabies clinics (Spring and Fall), where residents can get their dogs vaccinated for free (cats cost $5). The Clifton Times will report once the 2023 dates for these clinics are set. Your vet can vaccinate your dog at any time, and VetCo has lower cost options for both vaccination and microchipping.

Unlicensed Dogs: Licensing your dog is required by law, and a person with an unlicensed dog is subject to warnings or fines by the Health Department. If your dog is not registered, Animal Control may impound the dog if he or she is not on your property, and if no license is produced within seven days, the dog may be euthanized. Owners of dogs licensed in other municipalities have 90 days to license their dogs in Clifton, and unlicensed dogs must be licensed within 10 days of being brought to Clifton. The Clifton Code creates an obligation for the Clifton Police to do an annual canvass of the dogs in Clifton.

Benefits of Dog Licensing: Dog licensing is done in part to manage rabies. The portion of the license fees that goes to the City of Clifton is set aside for managing dogs that may be subject to seizure and also to provide for local prevention and control of rabies, along with a few other purposes. Licensed dogs are vaccinated against rabies (with some exceptions) and those with current license tags on their collars are considered generally protected from the disease, so if a licensed dog bites another person or animal, the dog is placed under a ten day confinement and observation that will prevent the bite victim from needing to begin rabies post-exposure prophylaxis.

Having a dog license tag on the dog’s collar also means that your dog can more easily be tracked down and returned to you if they get lost. Vets also recommend that people have their pets microchipped, in case the dog’s collar comes off or is lost.

Licensing your dog also helps fund programs to spay and neuter dogs in New Jersey through programs like People For Animals in Hillside.

Please make sure your dogs are fully vaccinated and licensed. It is an important part of keeping both your pet and others in Clifton safe, and the license fees help fund important rabies and spay/neuter projects for our City.

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