Animal Services

In addition to our clinic and programs, we offer services such as licensing and lost & found. Please note that the following services are offered to residents of Palo Alto, Los Altos, and Los Altos Hills only.

Learn about: Licensing / Animal Control / Lost & Found / Animal Surrender / Owner Requested Euthanasia



California law and city ordinances require all dogs over the age of four months to be vaccinated and licensed. The fee you pay for your pet license keeps our animal services programs going. (Cat licenses are not required in Palo Alto, Los Altos, or Los Altos Hills.)


  • Current rabies certificate

  • License fee, payable by cash, check, or debit/credit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express)

  • Proof of spay/neuter not required, but will reduce license fee

How To License

  1. Download and complete the license application/renewal form →

  2. Submit the application with your payment, rabies certificate, and spay/neuter certificate (if applicable).

    By mail or in person: Send or bring to 3281 E. Bayshore Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303. If coming in person, arrive anytime during Monday-Friday from 12:00-5:00 pm.

    By email: Scan and email to You may email your application only if you are paying by credit card.

Rabies Exemption

If your veterinarian has determined that receiving the rabies vaccine is a health hazard for your dog, you may file for an exemption from the rabies vaccine under State of California H&S Code 121690 to still obtain a dog license, which is still required by law. Download and complete the exemption form and submit as above.


Dog License Fees (UnAltered/Altered)

If you have moved outside of our jurisdiction or if your pet has passed away, please let us know by calling or emailing us.

Have a question about licensing?

Check out our FAQs to see if your question has already been answered.



City of Palo Alto Animal Control

City of Palo Alto Animal Control Officers respond to calls for services for stray, sick, injured or aggressive animals in Palo Alto, Los Altos and Los Altos Hills. The scope of services may vary depending on your jurisdiction.

To report complaints about any of the following, contact Animal Control at (650) 329-2413:
• Stray dogs
• Sick, injured, dead animals (including wildlife)
• Aggressive animals
• Animal bites
• Animal cruelty or neglect
• Animals in distress
• Livestock or Petshow permits
• Other municipal code violations (i.e. leash law complaints)


If you need to report an issue in unincorporated Santa Clara County, Stanford University, Moffett Field and San Antonio Hills, call Santa Clara County Animal Control at (408) 465-2920.

For pest control services, contact Vector Control of Santa Clara County at 1-800-675-1155.



Lost & Found

Lost Pet

  • If you’ve lost your pet, please let us know by coming to the shelter to complete a lost animal profile. We will contact you if your animal arrives at our Palo Alto shelter or is picked up by an Animal Control Officer and has identification (such as an ID tag or microchip).

We also recommend that you:

  • Check in with other area shelters regularly. Lost animal information can be found on PetHarbor.

  • Distribute lost pet flyers within a three block radius of your home and post to neighborhood social media sites such as NextDoor and Craigslist.

Found Pet

  • If you’ve found a pet and are caring for it in your home, please call us at (650) 421-2264 and make an appointment to bring the animal into our shelter. We will scan for a microchip, photograph the animal, and have you complete a Found Animal report. The owner may contact the shelter to ask if we’ve located their pet.

  • If you find a pet and you are unable to care for it, please bring the animal to our Palo Alto shelter during our business hours.



Animal Surrender

Pets In Need Palo Alto is an open intake facility. If you are a resident of Palo Alto, Los Altos, or Los Altos Hills and wish to surrender your pet or an animal that you have found and are caring for, please call (650)421-2264 or email to make an appointment.

If you are not a resident of the communities listed here, please contact your local police department and they can direct you to Animal Services for your area. We are unable to accept animals from outside our jurisdiction.



Owner Requested Euthanasia

At Pets In Need, we believe that euthanasia should be reserved for animals that are medically or behaviorally unredeemable in the judgment of our animal care and medical staff. For animals that we rescue or take into the shelter through owner surrenders, adoption returns, etc, we will devote whatever resources are necessary to ensure that they can find a loving home.

If you choose to surrender your animal to Pets In Need, your pet will go through a thorough medical and/or behavioral assessment. If our veterinarian’s diagnosis is that the animal is medically viable and is not suffering, we will treat any medical and/or behavioral condition(s) that exist and will endeavor to find a suitable home with a loving family. A surrender indicates that you understand the information that was shared with you and that you are willingly relinquishing your pet into the care of Pets In Need and forfeiting ownership of the animal.