Animal Control & Licensing
Snapping Turtles Prevalent During Summer Months:
What You Should Know
During the summer months, especially in June and July, female snapping turtles will leave their “resident” body of fresh or brackish water (ponds, lakes, and even creeks) and look for soft soil to make a nest for their eggs, such as in a field or in your yard. Middletown Animal Control has even seen them make nests in the small patch of grass in between the curb and the sidewalk.
Natural Nesting Process
The female turtle will dig a hole about 4-7 inches deep, drop anywhere from 25 to 80 eggs in the hole, and cover it back up with dirt. She may need to rest for some time, as laying eggs is an exhausting act. Once she feels up to it she will go back to her body of water. The entire process will generally take 1-3 hours. She may walk 10 yards and need to rest again, depending on how exhausted she is from laying eggs, but she will clear the area when she is ready.
This is a natural process and it should not be disrupted. Animal Control will not interrupt this process, nor disrupt the nest in any way.
When the Eggs Hatch
The eggs hatch in 9-18 weeks, depending on a number of environmental conditions. The surviving babies crawl out of the dirt, usually at night, and instinctively head toward a water source. Hundreds of nests are made each year and thousands of baby turtles are born in our area. It is fairly rare to actually see the babies climbing out of the nest. Turtle hatchlings are vulnerable to predation at this size and not all hatchlings survive to adulthood. This is how it has been for hundreds of thousands of years.
When Intervention May Be Necessary
There are situations when intervention may be necessary, such as a turtle crossing a main road, falling into a tree well, etc. There is a common misconception that you can pick up a snapping turtle by its tail, however, this can cause spinal damage to the turtle and it is not the way to handle them. Also, a turtle crossing a road must be helped along in the same direction that it was going or it will turn around and keep trying to go in that new direction.
Do Not Approach, Handle, or Improperly Relocate Snapping Turtles
Snapping turtles can be a potentially dangerous animal when encountering them. They should not be approached or handled. They can stretch their neck as far as ¾ the length of their body with lightning quickness and can cause significant damage to whatever they grab on to. These animals should only be handled by the proper authorities who have experience.
It is illegal to improperly relocate any wildlife and it is a felony to purposely injure any wildlife. Snapping turtles are an ecologically important species. If you witness a snapping turtle in your yard it is best to leave it alone until it moves on. If a turtle is in the road, seems to be struggling, or is sick or injured in any way, you should contact the Animal Control Department at 732-615-2097 Monday through Friday between 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM or the Police Desk at 732-615-2100 after hours and on weekends.
Please Do Not Disturb or Feed Fawns
Middletown Township has an extremely large population of deer. As spring has approached, so has the season when deer give birth. It is becoming increasingly common for our residents to find a fawn laying in their yard. This is perfectly normal. The mother deer has “placed” that baby there because she feels that it is safe.
In most cases, the fawn is placed there in the morning and the mother will return in the evening, but remains relatively nearby. Just because the mother cannot be seen, does not mean that the baby is abandoned. There is no need for the fawn to be removed. In fact, the fawn should not be handled for any reason or even approached. It is possible for a fawn to go into cardiac arrest by being frightened at being approached by humans. Do not try to feed the fawn or give it water. Up until about 4 weeks of age, the fawn gets everything it needs from its mother. Trying to get it to drink can cause water to get into its lungs and it essentially drowns.
Needing to mow your lawn or let your dog out is not a reason for Animal Control to remove a fawn from your property. The fawn should only be there for a majority of the day. Avoid the area where the fawn is and walk your pet on a leash during the time that the fawn is on the property. If the fawn is in the same spot for longer than 24 hours, there is a possibility that there may be an issue. However, that would need to be assessed by an Animal Control Officer.
Being that Middletown Township has many areas where homes are either in, or are in close proximity to wooded areas, we need understand that wildlife is a part of our beautiful town and co-existence to a point is necessary.
Please contact the Middletown Health Department and Animal Control with any questions at 732-615-2097 Monday through Friday 8:00 AM- 4:00 PM.
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Strays are picked up by the Animal Control Officer and taken to shelters, a veterinarian (if injured), or disposed of if they have died. Rabies testing is available due to exposure to suspect rabid wildlife.
Pets Without Tags
Middletown Township Animal Control is committed to returning dogs and cats to their owners. Animals picked up that do not have license tags identifying them, or those with missing collars, are taken to the Monmouth County SPCA shelter, located in Eatontown.
Injured animals are taken to local vets for basic treatment. Any dog or cat found should be reported to animal control so we can attempt to return the animal to its owner. Any animal not claimed or returned by 2 p.m. daily will be taken to the shelter.
Cat & Dog Licenses
Middletown Township's Animal Control Clerk issues cat and dog licenses. Municipal Ordinance 68-2 requires that all cats & dogs must be licensed in the Middletown Township. Failure to comply with this ordinance will result in a summons being issued.
The owner of any newly acquired cat or dog of licensing age (6 months) must apply for and procure a license within 10 days after acquisition or age attainment.
- For Cats: All cat licenses expire on August 31st of each year and are renewable by September 30th of each year.
- For Dogs: All dog licenses expire on December 31st of each year and are renewable by January 31st of each year.
Spayed or Neutered
The fee for spayed or neutered cats/dogs is $20. Unaltered pets are $25. Must provide proof for neutered animals.
A late fee will be charged for each cat or dog license that is not renewed by the corresponding renewal date of the licensing year. Late fees will be progressive with a specific fine for 1st month late; thereafter an additional charge will be assessed per month for dog/cat licenses.
Rules & Tips
Leaving food and water out for animals can attract unwanted wildlife and insects. If a cat or dog is being fed, it's considered owned by whoever is feeding it. Dogs are not allowed to run at large.
Report Cruelty to Animals
If you would like to report suspected cruelty to animals, please call the Monmouth County SPCA at 732-542-0040. Abuse may include a dog left outside on a very short chain or exposed to bad weather or animals that look sickly or injured. If you suspect abuse, please call the SPCA.