Animal Control

To file a complaint, visit Access Princeton. For emergencies, alleged animal cruelty and neglect violations call the 24 hour Police dispatch center at 609-921-2100, ext. 0.

Princeton Animal Control Scope of Services

The following may be considered an after-hours emergency if the police Eagleare not able to resolve the matter without the assistance of an Animal Control Officer (ACO):

  • Cases, where rabies vector species such as bats, raccoons, skunks, and groundhogs have come into direct contact with human or domestic animals and the animal, has not been secured.
  • Cases where rabies vector species such as bats, raccoons, skunks, and groundhogs are in immediate living quarters of a home making it unsafe to occupy and the animal has not been confined.
  • Cases where stray domestic animals are determined by police to be in immediate distress or danger and where the police cannot resolve the matter.
  • Animal cruelty cases where the animal is in severe distress or danger.
  • Animals that the police cannot safely transport to an approved facility due to aggression or other factors.
  • ‍Any other case to which police have responded and determined that they are unable to resolve a public safety threat without the assistance of the ACO.

ACO Services

Services provided by the Animal Control Officer during normal business hours:

  • Animal apprehension, impoundment, and enforcement
    • Appear in court and provide testimony when necessary or requested
    • Enforce animal control laws of the state and of the municipality at the discretion of the issuing officer
    • Investigate complaints of animal bites to humans or other animals to determine if there has been a violation of law or possible exposure to rabies
    • Investigate complaints of dogfighting
    • Investigate complaints of domestic animals causing a nuisance to determine if there has been a violation of law
    • Investigate complaints of loose or stray dogs
    • Investigate complaints of sick, injured, or orphaned animals
    • Investigate complaints of stray cats or sick/injured cats found by someone other than the owner
    • Investigate complaints of vicious, potentially dangerous, and menacing dogs to determine whether the criteria set forth in law has been met to allow the seizure of the dog or issuance of a summons
  • Animal cruelty, neglect, abuse, hoarding
    • Appear at court and provide testimony when necessary or requested
    • Enforce the animal welfare laws of the State and of the Municipality at the discretion of the issuing officer
    • Investigate complaints of abandoned animals or animals left behind in cases where the owner has been evicted or has passed away
    • Investigate complaints of animal cruelty and neglect
    • Investigate complaints of animal hoarding
  • Rabies related cases
    • Investigate complaints of animals that are displaying signs of rabies.
    • Investigate complaints of mammal bites to humans or other animals to determine if there has been a violation of law or possible exposure to rabies.
    • Investigate complaints of rabies vector species in the living quarters of the house.
    • Transport rabies specimens for testing.
  • Education and community outreach
    • The ACO will work in cooperation with the Health Officer and other departments to develop public education materials.
    • The ACO will attend the council, committee, and department meetings as needed.
    • The ACO will on a case-by-case basis offer brief talks and questions and answers with other departments, schools, camps, animal shelters, or other community organizations.
    • During normal business hours, the ACO may respond on a case by case basis to assist residents with other animal complaints not included in the standard duties.
  • Deceased animals and other animal-related complaints
    • Remove large and medium-sized animal carcasses from roadways, or other areas where public health or safety may be substantially impacted. Wildlife will not be removed from the woods or fields or ponds where the animal is not easily or safely accessible and where it is reasonable to allow nature to take its course. Excluded are easily disposable carcasses like:
      • Amphibians
      • Birds
      • Fish
      • Reptiles
      • Rodents
      • Squirrels
    • Remove other deceased wildlife at the direction of the Health Officer when there is believed to be a public health risk
    • During normal business hours, the ACO may respond on a case by case basis to assist residents with other animal complaints not included in the standard duties.

‍Services Not Provided

The following services are not provided by the Animal Control Officer:

  • Personal pet surrenders are not typically handled by the animal control officer. These cases should be referred to local shelters or rescues. The ACO may assist or facilitate the transfer but is not responsible for taking unwanted pets.
  • Deceased personal pets are the responsibility of the owner.
  • Nuisance wildlife complaints such as raccoons or squirrels in the attic or groundhogs under the porch or shed are not immediate safety issues and should not require a response from the ACO. The ACO may speak with or meet with the resident and will educate residents on removing attractants and food sources or may refer them to private pest control agencies or to the Mercer County Wildlife Center or New Jersey Fish and Wildlife for further assistance. The ACO should NOT trap, remove, or kill wildlife that is healthy or behaving normally and not representing an immediate safety risk.
  • Deceased small wildlife such as squirrels, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and rodents can be easily disposed of by residents with other normal waste or will take its natural course in the environment. Dead wildlife will not be removed from the woods or fields or ponds where the animal is not easily or safely accessible and where it is reasonable to allow nature to take its course. The ACO may respond to these cases only when assigned to by the Health Officer if there is believed to be a public health issue involved.