Q&A

Why do my animals have to be licensed?
The goal of the WestPet animal licensing program is two-fold. First, licensing helps prevent against rabies outbreaks by requiring a certificate of vaccination for all animals over the age of 6 months. More importantly, licensing your pet acts as a form of insurance and increases the chance that you will be reunited in the unfortunate event he/she is lost. When you license your pet, your contact information is on file with our Animal Control Officers and also with the WestCom Dispatch Center, allowing officers to contact you if your pet ends up in our hands.

What does WestPet do with animal license fee revenue?
Animal licensing revenues are allocated directly to the Animal Control Program - supplies, cleaning, shelter, and food. So by purchasing a license you are helping to ensure that all lost pets are given appropriate attention and medical care while waiting to be reunited with their owners.

What are the consequences of not licensing my animal?
A pet without identification is less likely to be reunited with its owner and may ultimately be put up for adoption or euthanized. In many cases, pets without license or microchip are delivered to an animal shelter where they are held until the owner comes to retrieve the animal after paying a fee, whereas with a license, animal control officers routinely return an animal directly to its owner's known address, often within the hour.

My dog/cat never leaves my property, why should I buy a license?
Animals are resourceful! Although many people believe that their pet will never leave their property, dogs have a way of getting out from a "secure" yard by digging, jumping over a fence, or exiting through an open gate. Natural disasters, aberrant weather, and fireworks also often cause animals to become anxious and flee their property. A license identifies you as the pet's owner and provides animal control officers with the necessary information to reunite you with your pet.

My pet has a microchip. Do I need to buy a license too?
Yes. In addition to the fact that licensing is often required by law, a microchip is invisible to the eye and can occasionally go undetected. A license is visible proof of ownership, which lets animal control officers and members of the public know that your pet is owned. It is highly recommended that all pets be microchipped AND wear a valid license.

WestPet
PO Box 65320, West Des Moines, IA 50265
Licensing Phone: 515-273-0651
Animal Control Phone: 515-222-3364
FAX: 515-222-3640
Email: westpet@wdm.iowa.gov
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