Office of Animal Welfare

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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked QuestionsFrequently Asked QuestionsFrequently Asked Questions

  1. What is the Department of Health’ (DOH) role in the inspection of pet shops, kennels, shelters and pounds?

  2. Does the Department of Health (DOH) license pet shops, kennels, shelters and pounds?

  3. Who can revoke the license of a pet shop, kennel, shelter or pound?

  4. Whom do I contact if I have concerns regarding the sanitary conditions at my local pet shop, kennel, shelter or pound?

  5. How do we find people to volunteer at our shelter or pound?

  6. How can I become a volunteer at an animal shelter?

  7. What is Trap, Neuter and Return?

1. What is the Department of Health' (DOH) role in the inspection of pet shops, kennels, shelters and pounds?

State law specifically gives DOH the authority to inspect these facilities under N.J.S.A. 4:19-15.14.

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2. Does the Department of Health (DOH) license pet shops, kennels, shelters and pounds?

No. The municipality in which the facility is located is responsible for issuing the license. All licenses must be renewed each year. The licensing year is from July 1st to June 30th.

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3. Who can revoke the license of a pet shop, kennel, shelter or pound?

Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 4:19-15.8b, the municipality on recommendation of the State Department of Health or the local board of health for failure to comply with the rules and regulations of the State department or local board governing the same, after the owner has been afforded a hearing by either the State department or local board.

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4. Whom do I contact if I have concerns regarding the sanitary conditions at my local pet shop, kennel, shelter or pound?

Call your local health agency or the State Department of Health. A searchable directory of local health agencies is posted at: http://www.state.nj.us/health/lh/directory/lhdselectcounty.htm

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5. How do we find people to volunteer at our shelter or pound?

Visit www.petfinder.com and register your facility. Volunteers are matched with their local shelters. Another resource to try is www.volunteermatch.org.

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6. How can I become a volunteer at an animal shelter?

Visit www.petfinder.org and register with them for local volunteer opportunities. Most shelters require you to attend some form of volunteer training, so don’t worry if you’re a beginner. Another resource to try is www.volunteermatch.org.

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7. What is Trap, Neuter and Return?

Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) is the non-lethal population control technique utilized in managed cat colonies to humanely capture, vaccinate, identify, and spay or neuter (sterilize) cats. Kittens and cats that are tame enough to be adopted should be sterilized and placed into homes. Adult cats are returned to the colony where they live out their lives under the supervision of the colony caretakers and other community volunteers. Cats will need to be re-trapped periodically to update their vaccinations and receive medical care.

Managed cat colonies require a designated caretaker and a group of dependable volunteers to care for the animals on a regular basis. Spaying and neutering the cats will stabilize the population of the colony, and the colony size will eventually be reduced through attrition. Any cats which may be newly abandoned or dropped off should be transported to the nearest animal shelter for holding and potential adoption or claiming by owners. Cats that appear ill or injured should be captured and given medical treatment. Colonies must be established in cooperation with the local animal control and health agencies, wildlife organizations, humane groups and veterinarians. They should not be established in areas where at-risk wildlife populations could be threatened or where they may pose a nuisance or zoonotic disease risk to the public. The operation of the colony must comply with all local ordinances and receive landowner permission.

The New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) defers to local officials to determine the appropriateness of allowing a managed cat colony at a site within a municipality. Some municipalities have developed ordinances to set standards for managed cat colonies within their jurisdiction. For a list of references on managed colonies and TNR, see the “Useful Links” section of this site: http://www.state.nj.us/health/animalwelfare/links.shtml

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