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The Office of Animal Welfare was created in 2004 to better address the issues raised in the New Jersey State Commission of Investigation (SCI) investigation into statewide animal welfare issues. Among many recommendations, the SCI called for vigorous enforcement of the rules and regulations governing the operation of pet shops, kennels, pounds and shelters. The SCI also called on the Department of Health to increase its staff of trained inspectors, to conduct regular inspections, and to offer advice and assistance to local health officers.
One of the Office’s primary responsibilities is conducting regular inspections of pet shops, kennels, pounds and shelters in collaboration with local health agencies. The Office also educates the public about animal health, safety and welfare issues, and plays an active role in collaborative efforts to protect companion animals.