Your Dog » Dog Licensing Information & FAQs


Please read this page before applying for a dog license.

IMPORTANT: No Dog License Tag issued by the Franklin County Auditor shall be effective unless a current valid Rabies Tag Number is included and the dog has a current valid Rabies immunization. (Applies to all dogs four months old or older)

Knowingly providing false information to a public official is a violation of Section 2921.13A5 of the Ohio Revised Code and is a misdemeanor of the first degree.

Why should I license my dog?
First and foremost it is the law. It is also a great identification tag to get your lost dog back to you. There are many cases where a dog gets loose from its owner, and is able to be reunited because of the license. No dog shall be harbored, kept, or owned without displaying a valid registration tag. (The law applies regardless of whether the dog is kept inside or out.)

Does my dog need a license?
Yes. All dogs older than three months of age must be licensed.

Does my dog need to be vaccinated for rabies?
Yes. All dogs four months old or older must have a current rabies vaccination before a license can be issued. Dogs younger than four months old can be licensed without a rabies vaccination.

What if my veterinarian advises against issuing a rabies shot?
Have your veterinarian write a letter on his/her letterhead stating why the rabies shot is not advised and send it along with the application. Please be advised that the due date for the application remains the same.

How often does the license have to be renewed?
Dog licenses must be renewed annually between December 1 and January 31, unless you purchase a three-year or permanent dog license (this is different than a three-year rabies tag).

How much does a dog license cost?
The base fee for a dog license is $35 annually, with exceptions/discount listed below. After July 1, some fees may be prorated. Dogs that qualify for a prorated license cannot receive a three-year or permanent license until the following year.

How much does an annual, three-year or permanent license cost?
For a three-year tag, the price is three times the annual fee. A permanent license is ten times the annual fee. If you are late purchasing the license, the penalty is the annual fee only. See chart below:

Fees for a dog that is: On-time registration Late registration
1 Year 3 Year Permanent 1 Year 3 Year Permanent
Spayed or neutered or
meets exceptions
$18 $54 $180 $36 $72 $198
Not altered, and does not
meet exceptions
$35 $105 $350 $70 $140 $385

What are the exceptions to the annual fee or how can I receive a discount on my dog license?
In order to address the overpopulation of dogs in Franklin County, licenses are discounted to $18 annually for dogs that are spayed or neutered. The discount also applies in the following cases:

  • The dog is nine months old or younger;
  • The dog is advanced in years, or has a condition that makes it impossible, or inadvisable, to spay or neuter (NOTE: veterinarian's signature required);
  • The dog is being bred, or is intended to be bred, for sale or show (NOTE: breed registry number or veterinarian's signature required); or
  • The dog is intended for hunting purposes (NOTE: hunting license number or veterinarian's signature required).

How do I include a veterinarian's signature?
If you need a veterinarian's signature to confirm your dog license discount, you will be unable to process your application online. Please complete the "printable" application, print it out, sign the form, and mail it with applicable fees. Mailing address is listed below.

How can I avoid late fees?
The penalty can be avoided if you purchase the dog license immediately upon acquiring the dog. After the renewal period of December 1 through January 31, a penalty will be assessed for all dogs licensed that are older than three months of age and have been owned for more than 30 days.

When can a license deadline be extended?
When the January 31 license renewal deadline falls on a Saturday or Sunday, the deadline is extended to the next business day. Also, the county commissioners may extend the deadline by county resolution.

Where does all the money go?
The license fees collected, along with all fees collected at the Franklin County Dog Shelter and Adoption Center, go into a fund. This fund, referred to as the Dog and Kennel Fund, is specifically designed to cover the cost of operating the shelter, as well as for Animal Control to pick up stray dogs and make our streets safer. A portion of the fees also goes to Ohio State University to research animal diseases.

Why did the license fees increase?
The county commissioners raised the fees pursuant to state law Ohio Revised Code 955.14. This is the first increase since 2006.

How do I replace a lost license?
If you or your pet loses a license, you can request a duplicate tag for $5. Please send us a letter with your name, address and license number, if known, so we can send a replacement tag. Mailing address is listed below.

How do I transfer a license to a new owner?
The ownership of a current dog license can be transferred to another owner for just $5. The current owner on file, or executor of the current owner's estate, must sign the transfer form. It is also advisable for the new owner to sign the form. Mailing address is listed below. Licenses are not transferrable between dogs.

Where can I find the laws that apply to dog licensing?
The laws governing dog licensing in the State of Ohio can be found in the Ohio Revised Code (ORC), sections 955 and 956. You may also find information on the Franklin County Department of Animal Care and Control website.

How do I replace a rabies tag?
Please contact Franklin County Public Health at 614-525-3160 for information on obtaining a replacement rabies tag. It is necessary that you have a copy of the rabies vaccination certificate that was issued at the time of your pet's vaccination in order to receive a replacement rabies tag.

Is there a limit to the number of dogs I am allowed to own in Franklin County?
There is no limit to the number of dogs you can legally own within the unincorporated areas of the county. However, if you reside in the incorporated (city limits) areas of the county, you should check with your local city government.

How do I notify your office that I have moved out of the county?
You may either complete the change of address form on our website, or call our office. We will mark the record(s) accordingly. Please note that most counties in Ohio will recognize the tag until it expires. When that license expires (if it is not a permanent tag), you will need to contact the auditor of the county to which you have moved.

If I move here from another county (in Ohio), is that county's current license still valid?
Yes. We will honor the license until it is expired. You will need to provide a change of address to the auditor of the county from which you have moved. You can find their contact information from the following link: http://www.caao.org/DIRECTORY/. When that license expires, you will need to contact our office.

If I move here from another state, is that state's license valid?
No. You are required to purchase a license immediately upon arrival. If you wait more than 30 days, the county auditor is required to charge a penalty equal to the fee.

What is "Me and My Pal"?
To help promote responsible pet ownership, the Franklin County Auditor's Office created the "Me and My Pal" drawing contest for children from kindergarten to sixth grade. In 2013, we marked our 21st year of the contest.

What if I have more questions?
If you have further questions, or if you need assistance with dog licensing, please Email ClarenceMingo@FranklinCountyOhio.gov or contact our office at 614-525-3260 during regular business hours, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Please make check or money order payable to the Franklin County Auditor and mail to the address as follows:

FRANKLIN COUNTY AUDITOR
DOG LICENSE SECTION
373 S. HIGH ST., 21ST FLOOR
COLUMBUS, OHIO 43215-6317