Saturday, September 23, 2023

Do you know your city’s pet licensing laws?

Some pets can cost more than others.

In Virginia, it is illegal to have a dog without a license. But if you own a cat, it depends what city you’re in.

Here are the city ordinances about pet licensing in Hampton and Newport News. Neither locality reimburses


In Hampton, both dogs and cats 4 months and older are required to have a license and pet owners can either pay an annual pet licensing fee, $4-$10, or lifetime license, which costs $10-$20 depending on whether the animal is spayed or neutered.

Without a city-issued license, pet owners could get fined up to $250 and a Class 4 misdemeanor.

The fees are used to offset the costs of animal control, one of four options each Virginia locality can choose per state law, said Robin McCormick, the city’s spokeswoman.

Last fiscal year, the city collected $73,742 in pet licensing fees and animal control cost were $404,375.

Newport News

In Newport News, all cats and dogs 4 months old and older must all have licenses and pay an annual pet licensing fee which costs $5 for pets who are either spayed or neutered and $10 for pets who are not.

The city does not offer a lifetime pet licensing fee so owners must purchase a license tag prior to Jan. 31.

if not, just like Hampton, pet owners could get a Class 4 misdemeanor plus up to $250 fine the first time. The second offense is a Class 3 misdemeanor and a fine up to $500. Read the city’s ordinance here. 

All of the pet licensing fees go to the city’s General Fund, which helps pay for city services, Kim Lee, the city’s spokeswoman, wrote in an email.

Last fiscal year, the city collected $47,482 in pet licensing fees.

Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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