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Health Department



Pet Licensing and Ownership


There are many benefits to owning pets. It's important to be a responsible pet owner.



Vaccinate your pet for rabies

This prevents your pet from getting rabies from a wild animal bite.  If your pet bites another animal or person, it helps to stop them from spreading the disease.  Wisconsin law says all dogs must be vaccinated for rabies by the age of 5 months.  Rabies vaccines are good for 1 year or 3 years, depending on age at vaccination and vaccination history.  Check with your vet to be sure your dog stays up to date on rabies vaccination.  Click for more information on Animal Regulations.


Get a pet license

A pet wearing a license tag is easier to identify if they get lost.  Your license fee goes toward helping lost, unwanted, injured, abandoned, and mistreated animals.  You must license your dog by the age of 5 months per Wisconsin Law. You must buy a new license for your dog each year.


Put identification, license, and rabies tags on your pet

Your pet should wear an ID tag with your name, address, and phone number at all times.  Do not rely on microchips.  If someone finds your pet, they won’t know if it has a microchip.  The fastest way to get your lost pet back is to have an ID tag with your current address and phone number.  You can get an ID tag from your local vet or at pet stores.  Your pet should also wear their license tag and rabies tag.


Be a responsible pet owner

Dogs must be on a leash if not on your property.  Do not leave your pet alone in a car.  Always carry equipment to clean up your dog's poop whenever you and your dog are off your property.  Do not let your dog poop on any property, public or private, unless you immediately clean it up.  Do not let your dog pee or poop in people's gardens.  Try to avoid your dog peeing and pooping on private property if possible.  Keep your dog from barking as much as possible.


Report bite incidents

Even if you own the animal or know the owner, it is important to report animal bites to us.  We’ll help you figure out the risk for rabies or other illnesses from the bite.  For more information on Rabies, click here:  Rabies Algorithm | Wisconsin Department of Health Services








Health Department Office Location
2nd Floor, 300 4th St. N.
La Crosse, WI 54601

Main Business Phone: 608-785-9872
Main Fax: 608-785-9846
[email protected]
In a public health emergency call 911
WI Relay Service and Interpretation Services Available

Office Hours: 8:00am to 4:30pm Monday-Friday; some service hours may vary

Collaboratively promoting a healthful community for all people.