Frequently Asked Questions

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Q. Why does my dog have to be licensed?
A. All dogs four months old or older are required to be licensed by California state law and by the La Quinta Municipal Code.  The Sate of California requires all dogs be licensed in the jurisdiction they live to show proof that the dog has its rabies vaccinations.  The City of La Quinta requires all dogs residing inside the city for thirty days or more be licensed.

Q. I received a tag from my veterinarian when the dog was vaccinated.  Is that a license?
A. No.  Most veterinarians issue a rabies tag when they vaccinate a dog, but a rabies tag is not the same as a City of La Quinta animal license. 

Q. How do I obtain a dog license?
A. Bring a copy of your dog’s current rabies vaccination paperwork to the Finance Department at the Civic Center.  If your dog is altered, that is, spayed or neutered, bring paperwork verifying this as well.  The license for an altered dog is sold at a reduced price.

Q. How long is a dog license good for?
A. Licenses are sold in conjunction with the rabies vaccinations.  A rabies vaccination can be good for up to three years so you can buy a license for up to three years.  If your dog’s rabies vaccination has expired, you will have to have your dog vaccinated prior to buying the license.

Q. I understand that it’s required, but is there any benefit to me in getting my dog licensed?
A. Yes, most definitely.  Animal control impounds dogs every day that they do not know where the dog lives.  If your dog is wearing it’s license, animal control will be able to look up the dog and determine where it lives.  They can contact you and prevent the dog from having to go to the animal shelter.  If the dog does end up having to go to the animal shelter, dogs that are wearing a license are held twice as long before being placed up for adoption.  This gives the owner a chance to come in and reclaim their dog.  In the unfortunate event that your dog gets loose and is injured or worse, a license gives animal control a way of contacting you.

Q. My dog is an inside dog.  Does it still have to be licensed?
A. Yes.  State law and the City of La Quinta make no distinction between dogs that are “inside dogs” and dogs that are “outside dogs.”  Even “inside dogs” can get out on occasion.

Q. My dog is micro chipped.  Does it still have to be licensed?
A. Yes.  Micro chipping is a wonderful source of identification for an animal, but it is not a city issued animal license.  Please remember to register your micro chip.  When an animal is micro chipped, the “owner” of the animal according to the chip, is the agency that implanted the chip.  Chips are sold in lots to the veterinarians and agencies that perform the procedure.  If an animal is found with a chip and the chip has not been registered, animal control will be informed by the manufacturer that the dog belongs to the agency that implanted the chip, that is, the veterinarian, because it has not yet been registered.  All too often, animal control finds a dog loose on the street.  When the officer contacts the manufacturer, such as “Avid” or “Home Again”, the officer is informed that the dog resides at a veterinarian’s office. 

Q. How do I register my animal’s micro chip?
A. It’s as easy as calling the manufacturer.  When the chip was implanted, you were given a form with the number of the microchip.  The manufacturer will ask you for the number of the chip and your  name, address and phone number. 

Q. I may have lost the paperwork with the microchip number, what can I do?
A. Call Animal Control.  La Quinta’s Animal Control officers carry microchip scanners, and they would be more than happy to scan your dog for you and give you that information.

Q. Are cats required to be licensed?
A. No, cats are not required to be licensed.  However, it is still a good idea to put an identification tag on your cat.  Animal Control receives calls for lost cats every week.  Cats can be difficult for someone who is not their owner to identify.  You know your cat but someone else may not know the cat’s markings.  Having a tag on your cat helps to ensure a lost cat gets home.  Please remember to use a cat collar.  Cat collars are different from dog collars.  A cat collar is made to “break away” from the cat, usually by a band, similar to a rubber band or by a quick release device.  This is because cats love to climb and go up trees.  If the collar was not made to break away and the cat falls and gets caught by its collar, the results could be disastrous for the cat.

Q. My neighbor’s dog barks constantly.  What can I do?
A. The first thing you should do is contact you neighbor.  They may not know that the dog barks.  By them not knowing there is a problem, they are unable to address the issue.

Q. I have talked to my neighbor but the dog still barks, now what?
A. If you are having a problem with a barking dog, contact animal control and request a barking dog petition.  This is the form required by the City of La Quinta to handle noise disturbances by animals.  The petition requests that you list the date you contacted the dog owner and that you have at least two other residents who live in the area, but not in your household, to sign the petition stating the dog is a disturbance.  When animal control receives a completed barking dog petition, they contact the dog owner.  The officer will discuss ways to quiet the dog.  The animal control officer will also give them a three day warning notice to quiet the dog.  If animal control still receives complaints after that three day period, a citation may be issued.

Q. My dog is the dog that is barking, what do I do?
A. There are several reasons that a dog will bark.  The first step in taking care of the situation is to determine the reason.  Many dogs bark when their owner is away because of “separation anxiety.”  This is common for a dog who feels “cut off from the pack” when we leave for work and school.  If this is the case with your dog, you may want to contact a dog trainer and ask them how to deal with this.  You can also and research solutions on the internet.  One way of dealing with this is to slowly build up the dog’s tolerance to your absence by being away for short amounts of time.  This can be done over a weekend.  Place the dog in a room and step outside of the room for a minute or two.  Then come back inside the room and reassure the dog.  This is repeated and the time slowly extended. 

Another method is “kennel training” or “crate training.”  Again, you may want to speak to a dog trainer or look this up on the internet.  There are numerous, wonderful books on dog training.  Perhaps your dog barks at night because it is afraid of the dark.  Don’t laugh, some dogs are.  Try turning on the outside light and see if the problem lessens.  Some dogs get lonely.  Some people leave a radio or television on for the dog to listen to.  The background noise helps the dog believe someone is home.  Dogs will also bark when they are bored and have a lot of pent up energy.  A great way to handle this is simply to take your dog for a walk on a leash to help it burn off all that excess energy.  Not only will it help the dog, but it’s a great way to get in shape. 

There are several devices on the market to help with barking dogs as well.  Some devices are placed on your fence and when the dog barks for a period of time, the device emits a tone, barely audible to people, that dogs don’t like.  This helps to train them to not bark for long periods.  Barking dog collars work in a similar fashion.  There are currently three types of barking dog collars on the market.  One emits a tone when the dog barks.  One sprays citronella oil, which dogs don’t like the smell of, underneath the dog.  The third model discharges a slight shock, similar to dragging your feet across the carpet and then touching a door knob.

Q. My neighbor’s yard smells like they never clean up after their dog.  What do I do?
A. You can speak with your neighbor and make them aware of the problem.  You can also call animal control.  An animal control officer will contact the dog owner and advise them of the “Unsanitary Premises” ordinance which states the owner of an animal must clean up the waste material.