Animal Control

The Animal Control Division of the Joplin Health Department is 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

Spay and Neuter 

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

The Joplin Health Department does provide a financial assistance program to help supplement the cost of spay and neuter services with a voucher. This voucher will cover up to $50 or the actual cost of the procedure, whichever is less, at a participating veterinarian. This voucher must be applied for in advance of the procedure. Applications may be obtained from the Joplin Health Department. Applicants need to live in Joplin city limits and meet certain income qualifications with supporting documentation provided. The animal must reside at the applicant's address and be up to date on rabies vaccinations or able to receive a rabies vaccination at the time of the procedure. If all qualifications for participation in the program are met, and funds are currently available, the resident will be notified of voucher availability.

Brent n pup 8-5-22 3

Lost Animals

Animals that are picked up in the city limits of Joplin 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 E Emperor Lane opens at noon and can be contacted at (417) 623-3642.

Maranda w cat

Animal Trapping

The Health Department operates a trap loan program that allows citizens to request a live animal trap be set at their own residence, when traps are available. To request a trap, call the Joplin Health Department on Monday morning at 417-623-6122 during normal business hours. There are a limited number of live traps available. These are provided to citizens on a first come, first serve basis each week, weather permitting. 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 are allowed to set their own private live animal traps, but only on their own property. If an animal is trapped, contact the Joplin Health Department to dispatch an ACO to remove the trapped animal. Only live wild animal traps are allowed to be used in the City of Joplin.

ACO Martin setting a live animal trap

Pet License

Dogs or cats over the age of 4 months are required by the Joplin animal control code 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 has been spayed or neutered, the license is free. For animals that have not been spayed or neutered, there is a $20 license fee. 


Small Animal Permit

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

Brent typing 8-5-22 1

Adopting an Animal

The Joplin Health Department does not handle animal adoptions. This process is handled by the Joplin Humane Society. Please contact them for more information.

Martin with large doggo

Animal Care

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, please review the City of Joplin's Animal Control Code.

 ACO Maranda with puppy - Winter 2021

Animals Running At-Large

To report an animal running at-large, 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 Joplin Police Department's non-emergency line at 417-623-3131.
Owners are required to keep their pets under proper restraint. Restraint may include a secure building, a fenced area, on a chain or cable for 30 minutes at a time, or on a leash at heel of a competent person. Chain or cable tethers are not approved for long periods of time as a restraint method.
Animals found to be at-large will be impounded by a Joplin ACO to the Joplin Humane Society. In this case, municipal citations may be issued to the owner. If convicted of a code violation, the owner may be fined up to $500 or a year in jail. If an owner receives multiple convictions, they may be ordered to forfeit all animals for up to two years. If an owner's animal is impounded, the owner will be required to pay the impoundment fees at the Joplin Humane Society. 

If you suspect that your pet has been impounded, contact the Joplin Humane Society at (417) 623-3642. They are located at 140 E Emperor Lane in Joplin, MO. Impoundment fees can include the following:

  • 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

Dangerous/Potentially Dangerous Animals

The Joplin 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 a person or another animal. Owners of potentially dangerous or dangerous animals may be issued a municipal citation. If an owner is found guilty, sanctions may be imposed upon them and/or their animal. More information on this can be found in the Dangerous Animal Code.

Brent n doggie July 2022

Animal Bite Information

If a person is bit by an animal, domestic or wild, a Joplin ACO will investigate the circumstances of the bite once they are notified. According to City ordinance, the Joplin Health Department is required to ensure that a proper quarantine of the animal 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 animal's owner.
If a person's pet bites another person, the Joplin Health Department must be notified. A Joplin ACO will contact those involved to investigate. Victims of animal bites should consult a physician.

Tumble the dog and Maranda after rescue at Wildcat  Summer 2022

Filing a Complaint

To make a complaint about an animal in the city limits of Joplin, 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 Joplin Police Department's non-emergency line at 417-623-3131. When calling in a complaint, provide a brief explanation of the situation, a description of the animal and the address or 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 ACO 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.