Knowledge Base

Animals running at large

A dog running at large(RAL) is a tricky situation. Most people want to help, but sometimes they put themselves or the dog in harm's way, even though they mean well.

Usually when a dog escapes its property, it runs around excitedly to celebrate its new-found freedom. Sometimes, the pet circles back and winds up back at home on its own.

If a resident finds a loose dog, the best thing to do is take a photo of the dog and call Animal Control to provide a description of the dog (size, color, fur length) and which direction it was heading, also noting if there was a collar or leash attached to the dog.

Sharing the lost/found dog on social media can be done AFTER speaking with the Montclair Police Department or Animal Control, please do not use social media as the primary place to report Animal Control issues. 

Animal Control Officers do not recommend residents chase after loose dogs or try to catch or trap them, this is when people run the greatest risk of being bitten by the fleeing animal. It also scares the dog and might cause it to run into traffic or run farther away from its home. 

If a loose dog is acting aggressively and/or chasing people and poses a threat to the public, please call the Montclair Police Department at 973-744-1234 for immediate assistance. 

By law, all cats and dogs must be vaccinated for rabies and licensed in town annually. When a dog is on the loose, ACOs can use the location and description of the dog to try to find its owner using the master list of pets registered in the Township, which helps ACOs quickly reunite the pet with its owners. 

Animal Control Officers also recommend all pets (cats, dogs, ferrets and even reptiles) get microchipped; this is a permanent form of identification that proves the ownership of a pet. The chip itself is smaller than a grain of rice and is inserted between the pet's shoulder blades in seconds. Pet owners can microchip their pets at Montclair Township Animal Shelter for only $20 by calling 973-744-8600 to make an appointment.

Microchipped pets are often quickly returned to their owners without having to go to the Animal Shelter. Owners of microchipped pets should check to make sure their contact information with the chip entity is current – outdated, or incorrect information delays the pet being reunited with its owner.

It is the responsibility of all pet owners to make sure their dogs do not stray from their property; offenders will be issued a summons with a required court appearance. 

Contacting Animal Control

Normal business hours are from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. every day, including weekends.

Residents can call the Animal Shelter at 973-744-8600 to speak with an Animal Control Officer or call Montclair Police Department at 973-744-1234 to have information relayed to the Animal Control Officer on duty.


Updated 4/12/2021 10:42 AM
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