Skip to Primary Content

Bismarck Animal Clinic and Hospital

Pet Licensing in Bismarck

dog and cat sleeping in a grassy field

Importance of Pet License

According to Bismarck’s Code of Ordinances, the city requires any cat or dog over six months of age that lives within city limits to be licensed and up-to-date on their rabies vaccination. Each pet that is licensed will receive a license tag and a license certificate. The licensed pet is required to wear the tag on their collar; it has a unique number and the year the license expires. The tag will correspond to the certificate in the police department’s records to help identify your pet if they were to end up at the city pound.

If a pet is impounded, animal control will attempt to contact the owner of the pet within 48 hours of impoundment which helps if the pet is properly licensed. Before a pet is picked up, all impoundment fees must be paid. Impoundment fees are decreased if your pet is wearing a license tag. There is a $35.00 impound fee for a pet not wearing a pet license tag or a $15.00 impound fee for a pet wearing a city license tag. The quicker animal control can contact the owner, the less fees are charged. There is also a $20.00 boarding fee per day that the pet is housed at the pound.

Obtaining a Pet License

Pet licenses can be obtained from Bismarck Police Department or some veterinary clinics in Bismarck, like Bismarck Animal Clinic and Hospital, that were deputized to issues licenses. To purchase a license, you need to bring along a current rabies certificate to prove that your pet is up to date on their rabies vaccine. License fees are discounted if your pet is spayed or neutered. In order to receive the cheaper price, documentation of your pet’s spay or neutered is also required. If you are purchasing a license at the vet clinic where your pet received their rabies vaccination and were spayed/neutered, they will already have the information required so no additional documentation needs to be brought with. You are still able to purchase a license at a vet clinic even if you didn’t vaccinate or spay/neuter your pet there; you would just need to bring along the required documents for proof.

A pet must be up to date on a rabies vaccine prior to being issued a license. In the city of Bismarck the license is valid for the duration of the vaccine; when the rabies vaccine expires, so does the license. When the rabies vaccine is updated, it is the owner’s responsibility to purchase another license that reflects the new rabies vaccine due date; licenses are not automatically reissued. Licenses are to be renewed for so long as the animal is kept within city limits. They can be purchased at any time as they are charged by the month versus the year.

Because licensing is priced out per month, you will only be charged for the number of months your pet’s rabies vaccine is valid. For example, if you decide to license your pet today and the rabies vaccine is only good for two more months, you’ll only be charged for those two months. Also, if your pet’s rabies vaccine is valid for three years (36 months), the license is valid for that long as well; you would be charged at the time of issuance to cover all three years. Pet licenses are inexpensive and are even cheaper if your pet is altered, or spayed/neutered. If your pet is spayed/neutered, the price of a license is $0.50 per month or $6.00 per year. If your pet is not spayed/neutered, the price of a license is $1.50 per month or $18.00 per year.

Special Pet License

The city of Bismarck allows no more than three dogs or cats, 4 months of age or older, in one residential household. If you want more than three, you will need to apply for a special pet license. There is a non-refundable fee for each application. Even with the special license, no resident may keep more than three unaltered dogs or cats at any one residential location. There are several conditions the Environmental Health Division of the Public Health Department takes into consideration prior to granting a special license like the type of dog, size of residence, and health and safety of the citizens of Bismarck. The special license can also be revoked if the rules aren’t followed like pets being found at large, unlicensed pets, or unhealthy/unsanitary conditions. More information on special licensing can be found in Section 03-03-02 of Bismarck’s Code of Ordinances and the Environmental Health Division section of the Public Health Department on Bismarck’s city website.

-Miranda, CSR


Bismarck’s Code of Ordinances: Animal Control and Protection—Animal-Control-and-Protection?bidId=

Police Services: Licenses, Permits, Impounds, and Reports

Environmental Health Division: Special Licensing and Special Pet License Application