Pet owners in Richland County are expected to provide their dogs or cats over the age of 4 months with a current rabies vaccination from a licensed veterinarian and a current pet tag issued by Richland County Animal Care.
In Richland County, the penalty for an unlicensed pet is $500.00.
Some of the benefits of licensing your pet include:
- A pet license identifies and protects your dog or cat in case they get lost.
- A pet wearing a County tag lets the Animal Care officer know the dog or cat belongs to someone.
- A pet license ensures animals are vaccinated against rabies.
- The County staff will notify you immediately to redeem your pet.
- Your pet will get a longer care period.
- A found pet can be reunited quickly with its owner.
To report a found pet with a County tag or other identification tag, please call (803) 576-2461. The information will be forwarded to Animal Care. If you would like the animal picked up, please inform the Customer Service Representative.
You may apply for a pet license by mail, in person or online.
- By mail. You can download and print out a copy the pet license application form or call the Ombudsman's Office at (803) 929-6000 and request an application. Just mail your completed application with a copy of your pet’s current vaccination record and proof of spay or neuter, if applicable.
- In person. You can purchase your pet license in person at 400 Powell Road, Columbia. Just bring a copy of your pet’s current vaccination record and proof of spay or neuter, if applicable. Please bring a check or money order. Pet licensing hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For questions related to pet licensing, please contact our Pet License Specialist at (803) 576-2473.
- Online. You can apply for your pet license online: https://etrakit.rcgov.us/etrakit/.
- You will need to select "Public" from the dropdown menu at the top of the screen.
- For those applying for a pet license for the first time, set up an account and choose "apply" under the "permits" section. If you already have an account, simply log in.
- Agree to the terms and then choose the appropriate license type (dog or cat).
- Fill in the remaining form fields.
- You will need to upload the rabies vaccination certificate for the licensed pet.
- Credit/debit card payment will be taken at the end of the process.
The pet owner is required to show proof of rabies vaccination from a licensed veterinarian and proof of spay/neuter if applicable. Pet owners are also required to renew their license every year. Your pet license is good for one year. You will be notified by mail one month before your renewal date.
- The cost to license a spayed or neutered pet is $4.21
- The cost to register a fertile pet is $21.07
The fee of $4.21 may apply to fertile pets if you can provide one of the following:
- A statement from a licensed veterinarian that the animal, because of health reasons, could not withstand spay/neuter surgery.
- Proof of participation in a nationally recognized conformation or performance event within the past 12 months.
- Any owner of a dog that is currently being used for hunting purposes and has properly been registered with a nationally recognized organization that sanctions hunting tests and/or field trials. Such registration must be accompanied by proper documentation that will be required to receive this exemption.
Any owner of a dog that is trained to be an assistance dog for its owner shall be required to obtain an annual license but shall not be required to pay any license fee. However, the owner still must provide proof of current rabies vaccination.
Commercial Pet Breeder License Requirements
Individuals engaged or intending to engage in breeding as a business, occupation or profession must obtain a commercial pet breeder license. Animal Care shall conduct an annual inspection of the property to ensure it is suitable for the applied license.
During an inspection, the officer will look for the following:
- Construction of a pet enclosure to permit comfort throughout seasonal changes.
- Location of pet enclosures that promote easy sanitation.
- Area free of accumulated feces and debris.
- Easy access to a fresh water supply and adequate amount of food to maintain normal health conditions for pets.
- Premises must be set up to not allow confined pets to escape or stray animals and the public to obtain entrance.
- The cost of the commercial pet breeder license is currently $105.31 Additionally, the pet breeder must comply with the pet licensing requirements for each pet that has reached 4 months of age.
Commercial Pet Breeder License Application
The penalty in Richland County for an unlicensed pet or operating a commercial pet breeding kennel without the commercial pet breeder license is $500.00.