New York State law requires that all owned dogs 4 months of age or older must be licensed. Dog owners may be fined for violation of this law. Licensing is an important element in animal control and the protection of the public health. Information about licensed dogs assists in the human medical follow-up of persons potentially exposed to infected dogs. Licensing also helps to reunite lost dogs with their owners and enforces the New York State spay/neuter law. This law mandates a surcharge on the license fee for unaltered dogs.