Pet Licensing

City of Burien pet license

As required by the City of Burien, every owned dog and cat over 8 weeks of age that resides within the city limits must have a valid city pet license.  Owners of unlicensed animals or animals with expired licenses may be subject to a fine of $250 per animal. 


Why license your pet?

Besides following the law and avoiding fines, there are many tangible benefits to licensing your pet, including:

Benefits to you & your pet -- No pet owner expects that their furry friend will go stray and/or be brought to a shelter, but the sad fact is that it happens every day, even to responsible owners and the most well-behaved pets.  Many people's first reaction after their pet goes missing is, "I just don't know how he got out," or "She's never done this before..."  Further, many of the animals that shelters like C.A.R.E.S. adopt out are unclaimed strays that likely would have been reunited with their owners had they been wearing a license and/or microchipped.  Licensing your pet is the responsible thing to do, and is more than worth the small expense the first time you need it.

The fact is that unlicensed animals are far less likely to be reunited with their owners if they go stray and are brought to a shelter.  Licensing your pet proves that they belong to you, and helps Animal Control locate and contact you immediately if your pet is brought in or picked up.  By law, licensed animals are also held by shelters longer than unlicensed animals before being adopted out to new homes.  

Additionally, pet thefts are a growing concern, and having a pet license with your ownership information on record can both help prevent theft (thieves may be less likely to steal an obviously-licensed and traceable pet), and help recover your pet in the event of theft (proving that the animal in question belongs to you).

Benefits to the Burien community -- Pet licenses are an important way for the city to track pet populations in Burien, which allows the better allocation of resources and funds for animal-related services and programs.  Relatedly, licensing revenue is an important source of funding for Animal Control services for the city, which means licensing your dog or cat directly helps with the care and management of all Burien's pets, and helps provide for animal cruelty investigations, welfare checks, enforcement of Burien's laws, dead animal removal, and other important functions of Animal Control.  In fact, if every cat and dog owner in Burien responsibly licensed their pets every year, those funds would likely be enough to pay for all Animal Control services without any other revenue sources, leaving more municipal funds for human and other services.  

So even if your own pooch or kitty never goes stray, keeping their license up-to-date helps provide important services to the Burien community--licensing your dog or cat directly helps find, shelter, and care for other lost and at-risk animals, and helps reunite them with their families or find them new loving homes. 

How to License

Licenses are annual, and must be renewed every year, with the exception of Senior/Disabled Lifetime licenses.  Licenses are worn on the animal's collar, and dogs are required by law to wear their license at all times.  If your dog has his valid Burien license on him and gets picked up running loose by Animal Control, he gets one free ride home with no fines or shelter fees!

  • Licenses expire at the end of the month, one calendar year from the date of purchase (e.g., a license purchased any time in July 2018 will expire at the end of July 2019)
  • Both New and Renewal licenses are $30/year for a spayed/neutered pet ('altered'), and $60/year for unspayed/neutered pets ('unaltered'). 
  • Proof of the pet's spay/neuter is required to purchase an 'altered' license.
  • Proof that the pet is up-to-date on rabies vaccination is required to purchase or renew any license (unless .   
  • Lifetime licenses, which don't need to be renewed and are good for the life of the pet, are available for Senior (65 and older) and Disabled residents only, with proof of age/disability.  A Lifetime license is $15, and only available for altered animals.
  • Replacement for a lost tag is $5. 

New licenses must be purchased in-person during business hours at Burien City Hall (400 SW 152nd St. suite 300; M-F 8am-5pm), or at the C.A.R.E.S. animal shelter (909 SW 151st St.; M-F 9am-6pm, Sat. 9am-1pm).  Renewals may be purchased in-person at City Hall or C.A.R.E.S., or purchased online here.

If you live outside the city limits of Burien, you must license your dog with the appropriate Animal Control authority for that area.  We do not handle licensing for any area except the City of Burien.  See our 'Resources' page for Animal Control agencies in surrounding jurisdictions.

Contact C.A.R.E.S. at 206-812-2737 or Burien City Hall at 206-241-4647 with any licensing questions.