Pet Ownership in Dale City and Woodbridge



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Dog Laws To Know

There's more to being a responsible pet owner in the Dale City area than regular visits to Staples Mills Animal Hospital. It's also important to understand and observe Virginia’s dog laws. Not only will you avoid possible fines and penalties, but you'll help keep your dog safe.


Prince William County Dog License Law

Prince William County Government dictates all dogs 4 months of age and older must be licensed. Pet owners need to renew dog licenses annually (which can be purchased beginning in November) at the Prince William County Animal Shelter, the Taxpayers Services Center, or by mail. All license renewals must be completed by January 31 of each year. Failure to obtain your dog a license tag by January 31 will be in violation of the Dog License Law and the pet owner will be subject to a fine.

Dog owners moving into Prince William County must comply with the license requirements and register their dogs at the time of the move.


How To Obtain A Dog License

The fee is $10 per dog license. To purchase a license, complete a Dog License Application Form and return it with a current rabies vaccination certificate. A license will only be issued with proof of a current rabies vaccination.


Dog Rabies Law

Any dog or cat not having a valid rabies vaccination will be quarantined at the Prince William County Animal Shelter at the expense of the animal owner/custodian.

It’s also illegal in Prince William County to allow your dog:

  • Prolonged or intense barking or other harsh or excessive noises to be made by animals and pets under one's ownership, at any time.
  • To trespass on someone's property after being requested by the owner of the property not to trespass.
  • To run at large unless engaged in supervised, formal or science training classes, or show, or during formally.
  • Dog to knowingly or willfully urinate or defecate on private property of other persons or on publicly owned property except parts of parks posted as dog run areas.
  • Own a dog four months or older and not obtain a required County dog license, and a collar bearing said license.
  • Have knowledge of an animal which has bitten someone and not immediately notify an Animal Control Officer at 703-792-6500.



Cat Laws To Know


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  • Cats 4 months of age and older must have a current rabies vaccination.
  • Cats are not required to be licensed.
  • Most of the above laws apply to cats in addition to dogs.
  • There is no leash law for cats, but they do fall under the same trespass laws as dogs.
  • Cats may be allowed outdoors but they must be current on their rabies vaccinations.



Dale City (Woodbridge) Stray Animals

When a stray animal is found and brought into the Shelter, it is scanned for a microchip identifier. If you have your pet micro-chipped, be sure to have your veterinarian at Staple Mills Animal Hospital periodically scan for it so you know where it is located on your pet. The implanted chip has been known to migrate to a different location under the skin due to multiple factors.


More About Pet Regulations for the Woodbridge and Dale City Area

For information, call the Animal Control Bureau 703-792-6465. After 5 p.m., call 703-792-6500.

The Animal Control Officers enforce County and state animal care and control laws, investigate complaints of animal cruelty and neglect, quarantine animals that have bitten humans, provide 24-hour service for injured animals and other animal emergencies, provide public education on animal laws and animal care in disasters and remove stray animals from streets and public areas. For Animal Control services, call the Police non-emergency number at 703-792-6500.