Helpful links and info for DC dog & cat owners.
DOES MY PET NEED TO BE LICENSED IN DC?
Dogs must be licensed in DC, cats do not require a license. Dog licenses are issued by the DC Department of Health's Animal Services Program. To obtain a dog license, an owner must show proof of a valid rabies and distemper vaccination. To apply click here and follow the instructions. For more information visit DC Health.
DOES DC HAVE A LEASH LAW?
YES. Dogs must be leashed at all times and be current on all required vaccinations. DC's laws regulating the care and handling of dogs are outlined in the DC Department of Health's Municipal Regulations for Animal Control. Sections 900 & 901 are specific to dogs and include the following sections:
900.1 No person shall own or keep a dog that, by barking or in any other manner, disturbs the quiet of any neighborhood or any person.
900.2 No dog shall be allowed to go at large without a collar or tag, as prescribed by law.
900.3 No person owning, keeping, or having custody of a dog in the District shall permit the dog to be on any public space in the District (other than established city dog parks) unless the dog is firmly secured by a substantial leash. The leash shall be held by a person capable of managing the dog.
900.4 The length of the leash required under § 900.3 shall not exceed four feet (4 ft.).
WHAT ARE DC'S VACCINATION RULES FOR DOGS & CATS?
Dogs over the age of four (4) months must be vaccinated against rabies and distemper.
Cats over the age of four (4) months must vaccinated against rabies.
DOES THE DC LEASH LAW APPLY TO FEDERAL SPACES LIKE LINCOLN PARK, THE CAPITOL GROUNDS, OR NATIONAL MALL?
YES. All dogs are required to be on a leash in DC whether on city public space (sidewalks, city parks, etc.) or federal space like Lincoln Park, the U.S. Capitol grounds, the National Mall, the U.S. National Arboretum. U.S. Park Police and other federal law enforcement enforce leash laws on federal land and can issue federal citations for violations.