SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Sacramento City officials estimate there are 250,000 pets in the city limits, but until recently, only 13 percent were properly licensed.

Animal owners like Angie McKay admit they haven’t always licensed their pets.

“For the first two years of Clover’s life, I didn’t know that you had to do that,” she said.

But new outreach efforts by the City of Sacramento have more pet owners obeying the law. Licenses for unaltered cats or dogs are $75 a year, while altered dogs are $20 and altered cats are $10.

The city started using local vaccination records last summer to identify pets, then mailed owners of unlicensed animals a warning to get their animals licensed.

“If you don’t do that within 30 days, you’ll get a follow-up letter that says we haven’t heard from you, you didn’t license, and in another 30 days, you’re going to get a ticket. It’s a $300 administrative citation,” said Gina Knepp with Sacramento City Animal Care Services.

She says the enforcement has been effective.

“Since June 1, we have increased licensing revenue for that same period last year by $176,000,” she said.

Licensing also makes it easier to reunite lost pets.

“I don’t want them in our shelter,” she said. “I want them home where they belong, and this is a mechanism to help us do that.”