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. What are the requirements to import a dog or cat into New Jersey?

  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?

Local health Departments inspect and approve these animal facilities for annual licensure by the municipality. State law also grants the DOH authority to inspect these facilities.

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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?

The municipality can revoke the license to operate on recommendation from the State Department of Health or the local health department for failure to comply with the State laws and regulations, after the facility owner has been afforded a hearing by either the State or local health department.

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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 department to discuss your concerns. 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. What are the requirements to import a dog or cat into New Jersey?

Dogs imported into New Jersey are required to be accompanied by a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI or health certificate) issued by a licensed veterinarian in the country or state of origin within 30 days of travel, pursuant to New Jersey Administrative Code (N.J.A.C.) 8:23-1.1 (full text below). Dogs with signs of communicable diseases should not be imported into New Jersey until treated, fully recovered, and certified by a licensed veterinarian to be free of such disease.

Although rabies vaccination is not required for importation into the State, New Jersey law requires all dogs 7 months of age or older to be licensed by the municipality where they are housed within 10 days of arrival. Current rabies vaccination is a prerequisite for licensure.

Dogs imported from countries or regions where screw worm is known to exist (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/importexport/animals/animal_import/equine/ equine_import7day_sworm.shtml#ctbl) have additional requirements. The dog must be accompanied by a certificate signed by a full-time salaried veterinary official of the region of origin stating that the dog has been inspected for screwworm within 5 days prior to shipment to the United States. The certificate must state that the dog is either free from screwworm or was found to be infested with screwworm and was held in quarantine and treated until free from screwworm prior to leaving the region.

There are no specific requirements for importing cats into the State, but many New Jersey municipalities have ordinances requiring cat licensure and rabies vaccination. Since cats are the domestic animal most frequently infected with rabies in the State, rabies vaccination is strongly recommended for all cats, including cats kept exclusively indoors. An indoor cat may be exposed to rabies if a bat enters the home or if the cat escapes the house and is bitten.

Most airlines will require a CVI to accompany a dog or cat on a flight.

Proof of current rabies vaccination administered more than 30 days before travel is required for entry of dogs into the United States (U.S.) from other countries, unless the country is considered free of rabies by the World Health Organization. Dogs that are too young for vaccination (those less than 3 months of age) may be allowed entry if owners agree to vaccinate the dog at 3 months of age and then confine it for 30 days from the date of vaccination.

There are no specific requirements for importation of cats into the U.S.

Dogs and cats that appear to be ill upon arrival at the port of entry will be referred to a veterinarian and treated at the owner's expense.

N.J.A.C. 8:23-1.1
Importation of dogs; certification requirements
Dogs shall not be brought into this state excepting when in transit or for breeding, laboratory, or exhibition purposes unless accompanied by a health certificate issued by a licensed veterinarian of the state or nation of the dog's origin indicating that the dog is free from rabies and other communicable disease and has not recently been exposed to any such disease. This certificate shall also state the breed, sex, age, point of origin, point of destination, the name and post office address of the consignee or owner and the consignor or seller and if the dog has been vaccinated, type and date of vaccination.

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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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