Lifetime pet licenses proposed

Greg Ettleman escorts Stanley to the 2014 Golden Paw Gala, sponsored by the Animal Welfare League of Arlington. (File photo by Deb Kolt)

A proposal awaiting the governor’s signature would allow Virginia localities to permit lifetime dog licenses. But the measure has raised some concerns at the local level.

Legislation patroned by Del. Robert Orrock Sr. (R-Thornburg) would permit – but not require – local governments to establish lifetime pet licenses. Currently, dog licenses in Arlington are for between one and three years, running concurrently with rabies-inoculation certificates.

The measure passed both houses of the legislature unanimously after a conference committee hammered out some wordsmithing issues. It sets the maximum charge for a lifetime license at $50; the licenses would not be transferable among Virginia jurisdictions if a resident moves, and requires that rabies vaccinations are kept up to date.

It is the issue of vaccinations that worries Neil Trent, executive director of the Animal Welfare League of Arlington.

“It does not say how that would be verified – that seems like a big loophole,” Trent said of the legislation.

“With a lifetime license, what is the owner’s incentive – or even a reminder – to keep the rabies current?” Trent asked. “It seems like it may be a convenience for owners, but not necessarily a good initiative for public health.”

Those concerns have resonated with Arlington County Board Chairman Jay Fisette.

“As the rabies vaccination and county license often expire at the same time, the treasurer’s renewal notice helps to keep rabies vaccinations up to date,” Fisette said.

Virginia law also allows, but does not require, localities to license cats, which is not done in Arlington (although there are requirements for rabies inoculations).

Both Trent and Fisette said they had no desire to open up what could be a can of worms by suggesting cats be licensed.

“The logistics would be very challenging, and I think there would be a great deal of pushback from the community,” Trent said.


(3) comments


Its ridiculous you need a license in the first place. Just another government tax scam.


Maybe Arlington and other localities should get educated on how long the rabies vaccination actually lasts instead of forcing people to poison their animals by over vaccinating them. Yes, you can titer test your pet, but it costs more than the vaccination and pet owners who don't know better and are short on funds will likely go with the vaccination not realizing it's hurting their pet, especially small pets. There has been studies conducted showing when properly vaccinated it lasts for the lifetime of the animal. We don't vaccinate our children every 1-3 years for mumps, tentanus, chicken pox. You do the initial vaccination and a follow up a few years later, which lasts longer than the 10-20 years of our pets live. Our pets are ending up with cancers, skin issues, behavior issues and other health problems from being over vaccinated. We wouldn't tolerate this for our children, why are we forced to tolerate it for our pets?


I wonder if Greg Ettleman knows how completely ridiculous he looks with his dog dressed to match his attire? I might be able to take some of these animal charities seriously if they didn't look so stupid. Anyone who does that to a dog is loon.

To the previous poster linking vaccines to behavioral problems - 95% of canine behavior problems can be lain at the feet of their owners, with the exception of pitt bulls - they are just bred to eat children and old people.

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