Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


 Where is the Clifton Animal Shelter located? 

The animal shelter is in the Municipal Complex at 900 Clifton Ave. behind City Hall and the Police Dept. – follow the directional signs on the campus, it is well marked.

 How do I adopt a dog or a cat?

Go to and fill out an online application – you will be contacted within 3 days, and we will make an appointment time for you once your application is processed! 

 When are you open? 

We are open by appointment only for adoptions, but you can drop off donations between 6.30 pm-8.00 pm on weeknights or Sunday   12 pm-4 pm. 

Can I just show up to surrender a pet?

No.   Please call us at 973.470.5936 and leave a message with the specifics of your situation and we will contact you with more information. 

 Can you give vaccines or offer vet services at the shelter?

No. However, we do offer a free rabies clinic twice a year and you can check the Clifton Health Department and city website for specific dates. It is held in the Spring and the Fall

 I see a dog left in the yard all the time with no Shelter and no water- who do I call?

Contact the Clifton Police Dept – 973.470.5911 to report suspected Animal Cruelty.

 I need information on Low-Cost Spay/Neuter. 

 What towns are you responsible for?

Clifton and Little Falls. 

 What are the procedure & age requirements for volunteering?

The minimum age of 16 for cats and 18 for dogs; however, there is an application and interview process for when crew positions become available.

 I am feeding outdoor cats but I don’t want them to have kittens – how can I get them fixed?

People for Animals  -  - and if you are in Clifton, Little Falls, please call 973.470.5936 and leave us a message about your situation and your address. 

What are the items you need donated?

Clean gently used bath towels, beach towels, washcloths, and dish towels. We do not accept pillows, cushions, open or expired food. We have wish lists posted on both Amazon & Chewy. 

 Why don’t you answer the phone at the shelter? 

We have a machine because the staff is almost exclusively volunteers – we check messages daily and return calls at our first opportunity. Please leave a detailed message for us.

 If I have an animal emergency, who do I call?

Call Clifton Police at 973.470.5911 – they can reach Animal Control at all times.

 My dog/cat is old and ill. Can the shelter help me put them to sleep? 

No – for euthanasia of owned companion animals, you need to contact your veterinarian.


 I just adopted my dog from an Animal Shelter/Animal Rescue. Do I need a dog license?

Yes, you must obtain a valid dog license within the City of Clifton. According to City Ordinance, you must obtain a license within ten (10) days after acquiring the dog. Failure to obtain a license may subject you to a fine.

 I just moved to the City of Clifton and own a dog.  Do I need to obtain a dog license by a certain date?

According to city regulations, you must license your dog within ten (10) days after moving into Clifton.  If your dog is licensed in another state and will be kept in the City of Clifton for more than ninety (90) days, you must obtain a license.

 I just moved to Clifton, from another town or city within the State of New Jersey and own a dog. Do I need to obtain a license in Clifton?

Yes, unless you have a valid/current-year dog license.  All New Jersey municipalities issue dog licenses.  Only one license and registration tag shall be required in any licensing year of any dog owned in New Jersey, and such license and tag by any other municipality of this state shall be accepted by the City.

 My dog is currently a puppy.  How old does my dog have to be to get a dog license?

A dog of licensing age is any dog that has attained the age of seven months, or which possesses a set of permanent teeth.

 Do I need proof that my dog received rabies shots before getting a license?

Yes. You must provide proof that your dog has an up-to-date rabies immunization to obtain a license as per state and local guidelines.  A certificate of rabies vaccine issued by your veterinarian or from a local health department rabies clinic must be presented as proof.  

 Where do I get the rabies vaccine for my dog?

You can obtain rabies vaccine from a veterinarian. The City of Clifton Health Department also offers rabies clinics at least twice a year (three clinics in the spring and two clinics in the fall) at our Department of Public Works.  These clinics are open to New Jersey residents.   Notices of clinics are posted in the paper and on our social media sites.

 My veterinarian states that my dog cannot receive a rabies vaccine because of a medical condition or because of medical therapy.  Am I still required to obtain a dog license?

Yes.   You are still required to obtain a license.  An exemption to the rabies vaccination requirement will be granted only if you present a letter from your veterinarian that certifies the medical condition or therapy.  The letter must also detail how the receipt of a rabies vaccine is medically contraindicated.  State medical exemption forms are available through the health department.

 Where do I obtain a dog license?

Dog licenses are available through the Health Department in person at 900 Clifton Ave., Clifton, NJ Monday through Friday 8:15 am to 4:15 pm, by mail or online by visiting the city website  You may call the Clifton Health Dept for more information at 973-470-5760.

 What is needed to obtain a license?  Is there a fee for a dog license?

 You must bring a certificate of rabies vaccine for the dog or a certification of medical exemption from your veterinarian.  The fee for a license depends on whether the dog is spayed or neutered. Proof is needed for the initial license. The city offers 1-year and 3-year licenses based on rabies vaccination expiration date.  As per state guidelines 1-year license rabies expiration must be valid through at least October 31st of the current year to obtain a license; 3-year license rabies expiration must be valid through October 31st of the third year.  Fees are as follows:

  • 1year spayed/neutered dog is $17.00
  • 1 year non spayed/neutered dog is $21.00
  • 3 year spayed/neutered dog is $48.00
  • 3 year non spayed/neutered dog is $60.00

 Do licenses expire?

Yes.   All licenses regardless of date of purchase expire on January 31st and for a 3-year license January 31st of the third year.

 I have a service dog. Do I need a license and is there a fee?

Yes! Dogs used as guides for blind persons and commonly known as "Seeing Eye" dogs and Dogs used as guides for deaf persons and commonly known as "hearing ear" dogs shall be licensed in the same manner as other dogs, except that the owner or keeper shall not be required to pay any fee. 

 Are there any late fees?

Yes. Beginning March 2nd a $10.00 late fee is charged per dog for late renewals.

 What do I do with the metal tag that is provided with my license?

As per city ordinance, your dog is required to wear this tag when it is always outside of its home.  It can be displayed by utilizing a dog collar.  This will serve as proof that your dog is licensed. In addition, the tag contains a license number which will help the Animal Control Officers return the dog to you in the event your dog runs away and is found.  Failure to have the metal tag on your dog could subject you to a fine.

 How can I be proactive in making sure my pet has a home if anything were to happen to me that I cannot take care of them or I am no longer around?

You may fill out and keep for your records an emergency contact paper, please visit our website for guidance:

 What is the city’s leash law?

A chain, rope, or tether that is sufficient to control a dog for its weight, is not to exceed six feet from collar to handle.

 I’d like to use an extender leash, are they legal?

No, they are not legal. If your dog is in a situation with another dog, while being held on that leash, a risk for a summons of “Dog at Large” can be issued.

Animal Control Calls

 I see a stray dog running loose who do I call?

Monday through Friday between 8:15 am to 4:15 pm call 973-470-5760.  After hours and weekends call Clifton Police Non-Emergency at 973-470-5911.

 I have an animal in my house who do I call?

Animal Control will only come out if the animal is in the living quarters of the home.  If the animal is in the attic, basement walls, or chimney, the homeowner will need to call an outside exterminator/wildlife company.

 Can I feed cats?

For a limited time during the day, you must be present during feeding. You must remove food/dishes after feeding. We strongly recommend spaying and neutering any outdoor cats. 

i.e. TNR, “Trap-Neuter-Release” to prevent overpopulation and disease 

For more information, Refer to city ordinance Chapter 203 Article XII Feeding of Free-Roaming Cats and Feral Cats.


 Does the presence of wildlife in the city present a danger for me or my family?

Most wild animals will do their best to avoid humans. Some wild animals become used to seeing and being around people and may lose their natural fear of humans. Conflicts between people and wildlife mainly arise when we fail to respect each other's boundaries. To avoid conflicts, always remember to keep your distance, keep pets on a leash in natural areas, feed pets indoors, and make sure your trash and food waste is secured in a garbage can.

 Is it ok to feed the wildlife?

No.   Never feed or provide food for a wildlife animal. Wild animals do not need supplemental food from humans. Healthy wild animals can feed themselves and their families. Wild animals that are fed by people often become dependent on handouts and lose their instincts to hunt and forage. Eating food that is not part of their natural diet may also make them sick.

 Are bird feeders allowed?

Bird feeders are allowed as long as they are elevated and maintained. We strongly recommend a plate to catch food.  Do not throw food on the ground.  Make sure all food is picked up from the ground.  Food on the ground will attract other wildlife and rats.

 How can I keep wildlife out of my yard?

Maintain your property by making sure your trash and food waste is secured in a garbage can (with a lid).  Rinse your recyclables. Keep your grills clean and empty the drip trays.

 How can I learn more about wildlife?

You may visit the City of Clifton's website: Animal Control page for more information

 I saw a fox in my neighborhood. What should I do?

Animal Control will only come out if the fox is sick or injured and it is no longer mobile (as if it was hit by a car).  

Foxes are indigenous to our area and the State of NJ does not allow Animal Control to trap and relocate Wildlife. If you have further concerns, please contact the NJ Division of Fish & Wildlife or Humane Society.   This would also go for coyotes, deer, and turkeys.  Visit our Wildlife Animal Control Web page for more information:

 I see a Bear. What do I do?

Contact Clifton Police at 973-470-5911 and they will respond accordingly.

 Dead Animals

I saw a dead raccoon in the street when I was driving to work, who can I contact?

Any dead wildlife such as raccoons, skunks, etc. found in the street should call the Dept of Public Works (DPW) at 973-470-2237 to report the location of the animal.

 I found a dead animal on my property, what do I do?

If the animal is on your property, you must dispose of it yourself - put gloves on, double bag the deceased animal, and put it in your garbage for the next pick-up or place it at the curb and call Dept of Public Works (DPW) at 973-470-2237 to report the location of the animal.

 Domestic Dead Animals and Opossums

All dead domestic animals, such as dogs or cats, and opossums should be reported to Clifton Animal Control. Animal Control will take the animal and check for any microchips or clues of identification to try and locate an owner. For opossums, Animal Control must determine if live babies are in their pouch, as they are marsupials.

 My dog killed a wild animal such as a raccoon, skunk etc…

If your dog killed a wild animal, contact us as soon as possible so that we can have the wild animal sent to Trenton for rabies testing. Wear gloves before examining your dog so that you are not exposed to possible rabies through contact with the wildlife’s saliva on your dog.  Reach out and inform your veterinarian.  Your dog may need to obtain a booster for the rabies vaccine. 

Animal Cruelty

I want to report animal cruelty. Who should I call?

As of Feb 1, 2019, per NJ State Law - Animal Control Officers cannot investigate Animal Cruelty. Please contact the Clifton Police Department at 973-470-5911, or 973-470-5900, to leave the information with them.