I frequently tell people that pet licenses are an insurance policy. Animal Control Officers are frequently dispatched to injured animal calls. The Officer has to make a decision as to whether the injuries are within the allotted cost of their organization’s budget. If the animal is wearing a current license, that makes the officer’s decision easier.
Additionally, many animal shelters choose to increase the holding period for animals wearing licenses. Although you can’t expect a license to be a free ride home for your loose pet, it usually affords you a free call home for your pet.