Dog Laws & Licensing
Dog laws may differ based on where you live in Dane County. Check with the municipality in which you live to see if there are pet laws not covered by county ordinance.
Dog Laws in Madison & Dane County
Dog laws may differ slightly from each other in Dane County, the City of Madison, and other Dane County municipalities. The following laws apply to all:
Wisconsin State Law requires that all dogs be vaccinated for rabies by the age of 5 months. Rabies Vaccinations are good for 6 months, 1 year or 3 years depending on the type of vaccine used and the age of the animal when the vaccination was given. Owners should check with their vet and make sure their pets are up-to-date on rabies vaccinations at all times.
All dogs kept in Madison and Dane County are required to be licensed by the age of 5 months. Licenses are sold on an annual basis.
You must purchase a new license for your dog at the beginning of each calendar year. You will need to provide proof of current rabies vaccination and proof of spaying or neutering if applicable.
- City of Madison: Dog & Cat Licensing
- Dane County: County Licenses are sold by individual town, city and village clerks. To obtain a county dog license contact your municipal clerk.
An ID tag with owner name, address and phone number is also required by both the City of Madison and Dane County and can help get your pet back home if it gets lost. You can get an ID tag from your local vet or the Humane Society and should keep it on your dog at all times.
Running at Large
Both the City of Madison and Dane County have running at large laws for dogs. Dogs are not to run at large off the owners property unless they are in an off leash dog park or have permission to be loose from the owner of the property they are on.
Cleaning Up After Your Dog
For City of Madison dog owners, the following Madison Refuse Collection Guidelines tell you what you need to do to clean up after your dog. Failure to follow these laws may result in a ticket and a fine.
- ALWAYS carry equipment sufficient to clean up your dog's feces whenever you and your dog are off your property.
- Do not allow your dog to defecate on any property, public or private (except your own property), unless you immediately remove, and properly dispose of the waste.
- Do not allow dog feces to accumulate on your property.
- Dog feces can pose health risks to people and pets. The fine for violating any of these ordinances is $100.00.
Licensed and permitted dogs are welcome in posted City of Madison, Sun Prairie, Middleton and all Dane County dog exercise areas.
Permits are needed and can be purchased online through the Dane County Parks Department or the Madison Parks Division. They are also sold at several locations around the County.