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Dog Laws in Los Angeles – Easy 2023 Guide

Los Angeles dog laws
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Welcome to dog laws in Los Angeles!

What are the dog rules in LA County?

Dogs four months and older must be licensed and vaccinated against rabies. All dogs must be on a leash with a length of six feet or shorter when in public areas. Dogs must not be transported in the open bed of trucks. Defecation on public property is prohibited. Any barking that disturbs the peace is prohibited.

dog laws in Los Angeles
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Service Dog “Eri” @eri_servicedog

Dog Laws in Los Angeles – Do dogs need a license in Los Angeles?

Yes, dog owners who live in LA must obtain an individual license for each dog (and cat) older than four months within 30 days of acquiring the animal or within 30 days of bringing the dog or cat into the jurisdiction.

The owner or custodian is responsible for paying the fees for the licenses, including any delinquency charges and enforcement fees.

  • Dogs four months of age and older must be currently licensed
  • Licenses are available through the LA County Department of Animal Care & Control
  • Licenses are valid for a one-year period from July 1 to June 30
  • If you fail to renew your license by June 30 of each year there will be a $20 penalty
  • Dogs are required to be vaccinated against rabies for the entire licensing period
  • Vaccinations are provided at low-cost rabies clinics held locally every year in July or by a veterinarian
  • Reduced license fees are offered when the dog has been spayed or neutered
  • A Certificate of Sterility and rabies vaccination certificate must be presented when purchasing a license
  • For information on low-cost spaying and neutering, contact your private veterinarian

Senior citizens or disabled veterans will be charged a reduced license fee if written proof is provided that the dog or cat has been sterilized.

Do dogs need a license in Los Angeles
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Service Dog @cricket_n_saraphena

Dog license tags must be worn in LA

A license tag for each individual animal must be securely attached to a collar, harness, or other device. This must be worn at all times by the dog except while the animal is indoors or in an enclosed yard or pen. The license tag attached to an animal must be the tag issued by the Department for that specific animal. 

Dog laws in Los Angeles – Microchips are required

All dogs (and cats) four months or older must be implanted with an identifying microchip. The owner is required to provide the microchip number to the Department and to notify the Department (and the applicable national microchip registry) of a change of:

  • Ownership of the dog (or cat)
  • The owner’s change of address or phone number

Rabies vaccinations are required

A person keeping or harboring a dog or cat over four months of age in LA’s jurisdiction must have the dog or cat vaccinated against rabies.

This must be done by a licensed veterinarian on or before 15 days after first acquiring the dog or cat or 15 days after bringing the dog or cat into LA’s jurisdiction.

A person keeping a dog or cat in LA that has been vaccinated against rabies is required to have the dog or cat revaccinated within:

  • 12 months after the dog’s (or cat’s) initial vaccination if the dog or cat was between three months and one year of age at the time of vaccination
  • 36 months after each subsequent vaccination

Restrictions on the amount of dogs

It is not legal to keep more than four dogs at any residence without an animal facility license. Each and every dog must be licensed.

Service dogs licensed under Section 10.20.090 and serving a disabled person (within the meaning of Government Code section 12926 subsection (i) or (j)) are not counted toward the number of dogs kept or maintained.

Finding a stray dog in Los Angeles

If someone finds a stray domestic animal or livestock, they may take up the animal. Within four hours the person must make reasonable efforts to:

  • Locate the owner
  • Call an animal care center to report finding the animal
  • Or take the animal to an animal care center
  • The animal must be surrendered to the Director upon demand

Dog Laws in Los Angeles – LA Dog Leash Law

Los Angeles leash laws prohibit dogs from running freely on any public streets, parks, and other public areas, including private property (other than that of the dog owner.)

Dogs must be restrained by a leash no longer than six feet and must be in the control of a capable person at all times.

Dogs in Open Vehicles

It is illegal to transport any dog in or on the back or bed of any open truck or other open vehicle while traveling on any county road, street, highway, land, or alley.

Exception: Dogs may be transported if each animal is cross-tethered securely or the side of the open vehicle is built up to a height of 46 inches.


Animal defecation is not allowed on public property or upon private property (other than the owner’s property.)


Animal noises that disturb the peace, quiet, and comfort of any residential neighborhood are prohibited. Complaints may be registered with animal control.

Dog Laws in Los Angeles – Frequently Asked Questions…

What should I do if I see an injured animal?

Call your local animal control agency immediately or the Police, who will call the animal control agency. For safety reasons and to prevent further injury to the animal, do not attempt to move it.

What should I do if someone is bitten by a dog?

Immediately after caring for the wound, contact the County Health Department Rabies Control Section (323-730-3723). If the biting dog is a stray and the owner is not known, your local animal control agency should also be called.

What should do if I see a wild animal on my property?

If a wild animal comes onto your property or if you see one that is injured, contact your local animal control agency immediately. Do not approach the animal for safety reasons.

What should I do If I find a lost pet?

If the dog or cat has a license or an ID tag, you can call the phone number listed on the tag to make contact with the owner.

If you cannot contact the owner or if the animal is not wearing a tag, the law requires that you turn in the animal to the animal control agency that serves the area where you found the animal, so that the owner will have a better chance of finding his or her lost pet.

Many well-meaning people keep lost pets at their homes, not realizing the animal’s owner is looking for a stray pet at the animal shelter.

When and how should I look for my lost pet?

If your pet is wearing a current license of ID tag, animal control will make every effort to notify you and reunite you with your pet. Be sure to visit your local animal shelter to look for your lost pet.

Be sure to check all areas of the shelter and ask about any injured animals that may have been taken to a veterinarian or that were picked up dead off the street. Be sure to leave information about your lost pet on the shelter’s lost/found bulletin board…bring a current photo, if you have

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