Animal Control

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ACO Meredith Petrillo
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Denville Township Animal Control operates under the supervision of the Special Services Bureau within the Support Services Division. Denville Township Animal Control Officer Meredith Petrillo provides animal control, animal cruelty, and animal rescue services to the Township. ACO Petrillo also runs the Denville Animal Shelter  and oversees the operation of the Denville Township Dog Park, known as "The Happy Hound Play Ground".

Denville Township provides shelter for misplaced domestic animals. If you have lost or found an animal, we provide a safe place for that animal until we find their owner. If no one comes forward for the animal after seven days, the Township of Denville places the animal up for adoption by appointment. We do not charge an adoption fee; however, we do ask for a donation of food and supplies back to the shelter so the animals that are there for longer periods of time can be provided for. The animal shelter is open to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Monday through Saturday.  If you have lost your pet, please contact the police desk at 973-627-4900 ext. 9, as they are aware of all of the animals that are placed in the shelter. Reclaiming your pet may be done by appointment only during the following hours:

Monday to Friday, between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, between 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Closed on Sunday

There is a $25 fee plus $12 per calendar day charge to the owner. No animal will be returned on Sundays or holidays. Denville Township provides residents and their pets resources in case of an emergency. If there is a fire, flood or other disaster that requires you to leave your home and you do not have a place to go with your pets, the animal shelter will be made available to you so that your pets can be safe until you can return home. We will also assist in the removal and housing for pets if there is a medical emergency. If you require this type of assistance, please contact the Denville Police.

Animal Cruelty - Denville Township's Animal Control Officer is also an animal cruelty investigator. If you have a concern about how an animal is being cared for or treated, please contact the Denville Police Department and provide as much information as possible. Also, please provide a call-back phone number so that we can follow up with you. You do not have to give your name.

Happy Hound Playground

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The Happy Hound Playground is located at Veterans Memorial Park on Zeek Road.

In 2014, the Happy Hound Playground was redesigned and is now larger and better. The hours of operation are from sunrise until 8:30 p.m. or 10:00 p.m., depending on the time of season. The park is well lit for your enjoyment and safety at night. There are benches and a gazebo for your comfort. Water is available for your pets and, during the warmer months, there is a pool for your dog to cool down in.

Happy Hound Playground is a great place for your dog to exercise, run around leash free in a fenced in area, and socialize with other dogs. We have three areas of the park. One area for small dogs, one area for large dogs and we also have an agility area for your animals to be challenged with. Should you find that your dog is misbehaving, we also have a timeout area in the large dog park area.

This is a restricted dog park and it is open to members only with passes, which are available to both Denville residents and non-Denville residents. There is a card entry system to prohibit non-members from entering the park.

Further information on the restrictions and etiquette are available on the Application for Membership. These applications should be submitted to the Records Bureau at Police Headquarters.

Animal Licensing

Denville Township requires all dogs and cats over the age of seven months to have rabies shots and to be licensed with the Township. Failure to do so may result in a summons. All dogs are required to be on a leash no more than six feet in length and controlled by a person capable of controlling the dog whenever the dog is on public property. Curbing your dog requires you to walk your dog along the curb, so as not to cause damage to private property, and picking up after your dog and disposing of fecal matter in a proper manner. All dogs and cats must have a Denville Township registration tag on their collar when in public. Having a dog running at large is not permitted in any part of the Township, except within the confines of the dog park located at Veteran's Memorial Park on Zeek Road.

To obtain a license for your pet, you can download an application from the menu on the left side of this page.  The completed application should then be submitted to the Township's Health Department.

Wildlife Concerns

Denville Township has a large wildlife population that includes black bears, red fox, coyotes, beaver, muskrats, raccoons, skunks, and, of course, deer. In most cases, if these animals are in your neighborhood, it is because there is a food source. Containing or removing the food source will force these animals to look for food in other areas. Some tips to follow:

  • Place your garbage at the curb on the morning of pick-up, have a secure lid on your garbage cans, and store your garbage in a secure area.
  • Do not feed the birds (except in winter - if you do enjoy feeding the birds, place bird feeders at least twelve feet in the air and away from your home).
  • If you find a wildlife baby of any species, DO NOT TOUCH! Most of the time, the mother is around.
  • Observe the animal for a period of time and contact the police if you believe the animal is injured.
  • Just because a raccoon is out during the day does not mean that it has rabies. Observe the animal and contact the police if it is making a strange noise, is unable to climb, is falling over, or walking in circles.
  • In the spring, the deer give birth in our backyards. It is normal for deer to leave their newborn fawns in our yards for up to eighteen hours. The only time intervention should take place, is if the fawn starts to cry and is walking around looking for its mother, or if there are flies around the fawn. Otherwise, it is very normal to have them in our neighborhood yards into the late evening.
  • Fox, coyote, and bears are not nocturnal animals. They may be seen anytime of day or night. If the animal appears to be sick, injured, or aggressive, then it should be reported to the Denville Police.