Animal Control

The Joplin Animal Control Program has three Animal Control Officers (ACO) who are experienced professionals. ACO's are committed to maintaining the safety of residents and a quality standard of care for the pets of our city. The Animal Control Division is responsible for enforcing the animal control ordinances of the city and providing education to the public regarding animal control and protection issues.

ACO Brent, Maranda and Martin plus a lucky dog - Fall 2021

Adopting an Animal

Joplin City Health Department does not handle animal adoptions. This process is handled by the Joplin Humane Society.

Animal Abuse

Pet owners are required to provide care for their dogs and cats. Here are some of the minimum care requirements for pet dogs and cats:

  • Suitable shelter should be provided for animals kept outside. An example would be a dog house for a dog being kept outdoors. Shelter should be in a shaded area during the heat of summer.
  • Food suitable for the animal and access to fresh, clean, unfrozen water is also required.
  • Normal and prudent care of pets, including exercise and veterinary care is needed.
  • Maintain rabies vaccination, administered by a licensed veterinarian, for dogs and cats.
  • For a complete listing of animal control code requirements view the Animal Control Code.


Animal Bite Information

If a person is bit by an animal, domestic and wild, a Joplin Animal Control Officer will investigate the circumstances of the bite once they are notified. According to City ordinance, the health department is required to ensure that a proper quarantine of an animal that bites someone is conducted. This is to ensure that rabies is not present in the animal. The quarantine period is for 10 days from the date of the bite and, depending on the circumstances of the bite, may generally occur at the Joplin Humane Society, a veterinarian’s office, or at the home of the animal owner. The cost of the impoundment will be paid by the owner of the animal.
If a person's pet bites another person, the Joplin Health Department must be notified. A Joplin Animal Control Officer will contact you to investigate the situation. Victims of animal bites should consult a physician.


Animals Running At-Large

To report a loose animal, contact the Joplin Health Department at 417-623-6122 option 3, during business hours of 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. After normal business hours, on holidays and on the weekends, call the non-emergency police line at 417-623-3131.
Owners are required to keep their pets under proper restraint. Restraint may include a secure building, fenced area, secured by a chain or cable for 30 minutes at a time, or on a leash at heel of a competent person. A dog may also be considered under restraint if on the owner’s property with the presence of the owner and is responsive to the owner's commands.
Animals found to be at large may be impounded by a Joplin Animal Control Officer and municipal citations may be issued to the owner. If convicted of this code violation, the owner can be fined up to $500 or a year in jail. If you receive multiple convictions, you may be ordered to forfeit all animals for up to two years. If your animal is impounded, you will have to pay the impoundment fees at the Joplin Humane Society.
Allowing a pet to roam free is not good for the animals or the community. While at large, they face many dangers such as traffic, disease, and attacks from other animals. Problems associated with at-large animals include property destruction, bites and attacks, as well as uncontrolled breeding which results in unwanted animal populations.

ACO Martin setting a live animal trap

Animal Trap

The Health Department operates a trap loan program that allows citizens to request a live animal trap be set at their own residence. Call the Joplin Health Department at 417-623-6122 during normal business hours on a Monday. Owners must be home at the time of the trap setting and have appropriate bait available. Traps will be set for up to five days at any residence for any single trap request. Traps will not be set during inclement weather or when the ACO will not be available to regularly monitor the traps, such as weekends and holidays. When an animal is captured, notify the Joplin Health Department to dispatch an ACO for removal. Citizens who set a live animal trap on their own property may request an ACO remove the trapped animal. Only live wild animal traps are allowed to be used in the City of Joplin. 

Dangerous/Potentially Dangerous Animals

The city animal control ordinance includes sections dealing with potentially dangerous or dangerous animals. In most cases these situations involve dogs that have aggressively attacked and/or bitten someone or something. Owners of potentially dangerous or dangerous dogs may be issued a municipal citation and if found guilty, may have sanctions imposed upon them and/or their dog. This can be found in the Dangerous Animal Code.

Filing a Complaint
To make an animal complaint, call the Joplin Health Department at 417-623-6122 option 3, during business hours of 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, Monday through Friday. After hours, on holidays or on weekends, call the non-emergency police line at 417-623-3131. When calling in a complaint, you will be asked to provide the nature of the complaint, the address where the animal lives, a description of the animal, and the precise location of the animal. In some situations, a citizen may need to consider signing a municipal citation in order to address an animal control problem in their neighborhood. This could include situations when the animal control officer does not witness the event being complained about. If this occurs, the citizen would be required to attend municipal court to testify on behalf of their complaint.

Lost Animals
Loose animals picked up in the city are taken to the Joplin Humane Society for sheltering services. If your animal is missing, it is a good idea to visit the shelter to look for your pet. The Joplin Humane Society is located at 140 Emperor Lane and can be contacted by calling (417) 623-3642. They are open 7 days a week:

  • Monday through Thursday, 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm
  • Friday, 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm
  • Saturday, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
  • Sunday, 1:00 to 4:00 pm

ACO Maranda with puppy - Winter 2021

Spay and Neuter Services

Joplin City Health Department does perform spay or neuter services. This process is handled by the Joplin Humane Society.

License & Rabies Vaccination Records

Upon retrieving or otherwise obtaining the release of their animal, the owner shall provide proof of current license and required rabies vaccination. If proof is not provided at the time, owner will be required to sign a statement, provided by the Joplin Health Department, indicating that they will obtain proper pet license and rabies vaccination and will provide such proof to the department within 30 days of obtaining their animal's release. If such proof is not provided to the department, a municipal citation will be initiated to the animal owner for violation of this section.

Pet License

Dogs or cats over the age of 4 months are required to have a City license. This license can be obtained at Joplin City Hall, 602 S. Main, on the 3rd floor at the Finance Department. If the animal is sterilized, the license is free. For animals that have not been surgically sterilized, there is a $20 license fee. 

Impoundment Fees

  • Animal intake and tracking fee - $8.95 per animal
  • Animal sheltering fee - $8.40 per day
  • Quarantine fee - $16.14 per day
  • First redemption of animal from Joplin Humane Society within 12 months - $15.00
  • Subsequent redemption of same animal within the preceding 12 months - Additional $15.00 each time

ACO Martin helping a dog

Small Animal Permit

Joplin citizens may keep small animals (e.g. rabbits, hares, chickens, etc) at their residence, but local code does require a permit for such animals. Contact the Joplin Health Department at 417-623-6122 to have an animal control officer inspect your property to make sure proper requirements are met. Roosters are prohibited.