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Animal Control Officer


In 1983, pursuant to section 4 of P.L. 1983, c. 525, and in accordance with the “Administrative Procedure Act” 1968, the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services was required to adopt rules and regulations concerning the training and educational qualifications of Animal Control Officers.

Two of the most important aspects of this statute were that Animal Control Officers were required to be State certified, and that all New Jersey municipalities were now required to appoint an Animal Control Officer. There are over 1500 Animal Control Officers who have been State certified.

Duties for an Animal Control Officer (ACO) may include:

  • Answer inquiries from the public concerning animal control operations.
  • Capture and remove stray, uncontrolled, or abused animals from undesirable conditions, using nets, nooses, or tranquilizer darts as necessary.
  • Clean facilities and equipment such as dog pens and animal control trucks.
  • Contact animal owners to inform them that their pets are at animal holding facilities.
  • Educate the public about animal welfare, and animal control laws and regulations.
  • Euthanize rabid, unclaimed, or severely injured animals.
  • Examine animal licenses, and inspect establishments housing animals for compliance with laws.
  • Examine animals for injuries or malnutrition, and arrange for any necessary medical treatment.
  • Investigate reports of animal attacks or animal cruelty, interviewing witnesses, collecting evidence, and writing reports.
  • Issue warnings or citations in connection with animal-related offenses, or contact police to report violations and request arrests.
  • Organize the adoption of unclaimed animals.
  • Prepare for prosecutions related to animal treatment, and give evidence in court.
  • Remove captured animals from animal-control service vehicles and place animals in shelter cages or other enclosures.
  • Supply animals with food, water, and personal care.
  • Train police officers in dog handling and training techniques for tracking, crowd control, and narcotics and bomb detection.
  • Write reports of activities, and maintain files of impoundments and dispositions of animals.

More information on this interesting occupation can be found by clicking on the following links:

There are currently four colleges and one private institution in New Jersey that offer training for certification as an Animal Control Officer.

Click Here for information on schools for Animal Control Officer Certification Training.

Click Here for information on Animal Control Officer Authority and NJ Statute.

Click Here for information on current training courses.






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