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Municipal Animal Inspector Qualifications and Duties

Who can be a Municipal Animal Inspector? What do they do?

Municipal Animal Inspector Qualifications and Duties

I. Qualifications

A municipal animal inspector should be reasonably experienced in the care and handling of domestic livestock animals, be generally experienced in their husbandry and be knowledgeable in the handling and care of other domestic animals such as dogs and cats. Knowledge and experience with common “urban wildlife” such as raccoons, skunks and bats that expose domestic animals and come under the jurisdiction of the MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife will prove beneficial in the collection of specimens for submission to the State Rabies Laboratory.

Municipal Animal Inspectors should familiarize themselves with domestic animal import requirements. They should also understand local ordinances (sanitary codes, zoning laws, etc.) which may form part of their duties to their primary nominating body at the municipal level.

There are no scholastic, professional (ie: Veterinarians) or farm experience requirements for the position of Animal Inspector. A generalized knowledge of domestic animals will prove very useful.

II. Duties

A. The primary duty of the Animal Inspector has recently become rabies control in the domestic animal population. There are several angles which must be covered to accomplish this. 

  1. Domestic mammals which come in contact with, or are otherwise exposed to the rabies virus must first be assessed to determine severity of risk. Depending on the vaccination status of the domestic mammal involved, it will be either quarantined or destroyed. Be sure to send in the Notice of Exposure forms that are used for this type of quarantine at least once a month.
  2. The Animal Inspector will be contacted by local veterinarians when a client presents an animal which may have had an encounter with a potentially rabid animal. Again, the severity of the situation must be assessed before determining the proper course of action.
  3. Any domestic mammal which bites a human or another domestic mammal must be quarantined for a period of ten days to determine the risk of rabies transmission. Be sure to send in the duplicate copies of the Order of Quarantine form at least once a month. If you do not have any animal bites in a six-month period, please send in a letter to that effect.
  4. The Animal Inspector must ensure that all animals (wild or domestic) which must be tested for rabies are captured and euthanized. The head must be removed, packaged properly and submitted to the State Rabies Lab for testing. (Any questions, call the Rabies Lab at (617) 983-6385 for copy of protocol.)This is not to say that the Animal Inspector must perform these tasks personally, but he/she must ensure that they are completed.

B. Municipal Animal Inspectors are also responsible for barn inspections. Depending on the city/town, this may be a light task or a lengthy one. Barn inspections are designed to:

  1. get a good census of the domestic animal population of the town
  2. be sure that all of the animals appear to be in good health and free from disease, and
  3. observe animal housing and ensure ample food and water are supplied.

Permission to inspect any premise upon which animals are kept is assured to Municipal Animal Inspectors under Section 7 of Chapter 129 of the MGL. Visits should be scheduled for normal business hours. If a conflict between the animal owner and the Inspector occurs, the Inspector may have a local police officer accompany him or her. If the problem persists, please call the Division of Animal Health:

(617) 626-1810 or (617) 626-1795.

C. The third duty of the Animal Inspector is to check ear tag numbers and date of arrival of cattle from out of state and to report this information on the Animal Inspector’s copy of the Cattle and Llama Permit which is furnished to the Animal Inspector by the Department of Agricultural Resources.

D. Municipal Animal Inspectors may also be called to assist with other domestic animal disease quarantines in the event of an outbreak.

Regulations and Statutes

The Department of Animal Resources, Division of Animal Health enforces regulations regarding the prevention of the spread of rabies found in 330 CMR 10.00

Authority for these actions is found in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 129: Livestock Disease Control.


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