April 10 to 17 is National Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week.

Animal control officers are often your unsung heroes. They often work out of public view, sometimes in the dark of night, and off the beaten path. These emergency responders are available 24/7/365. They’re the best resource you never knew you needed.

The No. 1 job of animal control is to control the spread of rabies. The No. 1 job of pet owners is to keep pets current on immunizations. Important history and information on rabies can be found at cdc.gov/rabies.

ACOs often have busy schedules. To name just a few of their responsibilities: capturing injured or sick animals; investigating dog bite incidents; helping shelter animals get adopted; enforcing state and local dog and cat licensing laws; providing surrender-prevention services; trapping colony cats for trap-neuter-vaccinate-return; dealing with dog barking complaints; reuniting stray animals with their owners; conducting animal cruelty, abuse or neglect investigations; and removing deceased animals from public property. See the complete list of services that your animal control officers provide the residents of Montclair at MontclairNJUSA.org, by selecting "Residents" from the main menu, then "Animal Control."

ACOs educate residents about what are or are not valid concerns and complaints about wildlife, from skunks to groundhogs to deer to foxes and coyotes. Montclair Animal Control is proud to be a part of the Humane Society Wild Neighbors Program.

No two days are the same for an ACO. One day, there could be a few emergencies that require their immediate attention. Another, they’re in the kennels, socializing dogs and showing cats to prospective adopters. Sometimes they’re saving raccoons stuck in a sewer grating, or capturing an injured goose in the park to bring it to a wildlife rehabilitator. It’s not unheard of for them to be rescuing ducklings from storm drains or fawns from the local waterway or rattlesnakes from parking lots, either.

You’ll often see one of them at our local vet with a shelter animal or two, mostly for pre-adoption checkups and/or vaccinations. They also speak at schools and Scout events, hold off-site adoptions and host the township's free rabies clinics.

Michele Shiber
Montclair Animal Control supervisor

From left are Montclair Animal Control Officer Jarrett Kennedy, Officer Ryan Urbano, ACO Supervisor Officer Michele Shiber and Officer Shaune Jones (COURTESY MONTCLAIR ANIMAL CONTROL)
From left are Montclair Animal Control Officer Jarrett Kennedy, Officer Ryan Urbano, ACO Supervisor Michele Shiber and Officer Shaune Jones (COURTESY MONTCLAIR ANIMAL CONTROL)

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