BARC Animal Shelter and Adoptions

Licensing Your Pet

A Pet License is a phone call home!

Licensing your pet is the law. The City of Houston Municipal Code requires that anyone who owns, keeps, possesses, or has control of a dog or cat four months of age or older must have his or her pet licensed and vaccinated against rabies every year.

Contact Pet Licensing at 713.229.7300 Ext 1 or

A pet license identifies and protects your pet in case it becomes lost. Even indoor pets can get out and become lost. You are required to renew your license yearly and to keep your license updated when you move and/or your pet is given away, lost, stolen or is deceased. A pet license is not only a requirement, but it provides the following benefits:

  • A license tells everyone that your pet is not a homeless stray.
  • When licensed, found pets can be quickly reunited with their owner
  • BARC will call you or send you a letter if your pet comes to the shelter wearing a license.
  • Your license is proof that your pet has been vaccinated against rabies.
  • A license provides emergency medical care for your pet when in the care of BARC
  • When found, your licensed pet will be cared for at BARC for a longer holding period.
  • Animal licensing is an essential part of animal care and control in our community. License fees support the return of lost dogs and cats to their homes and help adopt homeless dogs and cats to new families. Other services funded by pet licensing are the prevention of animal neglect or cruelty, spay/neuter programs, over-population programs, and community education services.

Be sure to have the license tag on your pet's collar at all times to help enable a quick return should they be found.

License your pet today! Click here to see if you live inside the City of Houston limits to purchase your city license.

Licensing Prices
Click graphic above for full-sized version

You can license your pet in 3 ways: online, via mail or in person at the BARC shelter.
 You will need the following paperwork:

  1. A rabies vaccination certificate signed by a licensed veterinarian must be submitted. An invoice or statement of services is not sufficient as proof of rabies vaccination. Check your certificate for correct owner name, address, and pet information.
  2. A spay/neuter certificate if it is not reflected on Rabies certificate.
    *To update your pet's record at any time, please email

Online License Purchase
Ready to purchase your license? Any required documents, such as your pet's current rabies certificate, may be scanned and uploaded (please use .jpg format) or submitted later by fax, mail or email. The license will be issued after all required documents are received. Begin at

By Mail
Please mail all required documentation as listed above, along with your check or money order payable to "B.A.R.C." to the address below. Please do not send cash. Please send copies of your paperwork and retain the originals for your records. Copies will not be returned with your license receipt.

City of Houston Pet Licensing
3200 Carr Street
Houston, TX 77026

In Person
You can also license and renew your pet license in person at the BARC shelter via cash or check. Click here for shelter hours and address.

Breeder Application
If you are applying for a license to be a breeder, you can download the application here(pdf).

For dogs, use a leather or nylon collar that buckles. Plastic snap collars can break away easily. Never put tags on a "choke chain" type collar. These collars should be used for training only and should never be left on a dog. They can strangle your dog.

For cats, use a "release" collar. These collars are readily available and will allow your cat to free itself should the collar become attached to something.

Remember, Collars and tags are a must, however, they can fall off or become lost. Microchipping provides another form of identification for your pet.


Pet Licensing Administrative Rules

       - Change of Address or Personal Information

       - Pet Transfer of Ownership

       - FAQ for Recent Changes 2022