Meet Millburn's Animal Control Officer
Joe Bielski has grown into job and truly cares for township's pets.
Patch recently sat down with Joe Bielski, who took over in Millburn this year as an animal control officer after taking a course at Kean University.
Why did you want to work in Millburn?
"I originally started dispatching in Roselle Park and I found an opening here," Bielski explained. "My father used to live here and he told me about how great the area was and how nice the people were, so I saw the opening and applied for the job."
Why animal control?
"I used to be — and still loosely am — involved with animal rescue with loose dogs and dogs that need to be homed. He volunteered to raise money for small mom and pop shelters who can't afford transportation or to care for the number of dogs they take in. "So when I found out the town was taking on five more towns to cover, I knew they would need help, so I put myself through the course. Now we also cover Madison, Chatham, Florham Park, Springfield and Berkley Heights. We work hand-in-hand with Livingston, so if I need his help or he needs my help, we can go back and forth."
What is normal day for you?
"There is no normal day. My hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. On Monday, I usually come in and check my voicemails or emails to see what needs to be done. Then I head out on the road. If I have traps set for those pesky raccoons or groundhogs, I'll check those once a day. I'll also help out with the local animal shelters. Valley Vet will hold on to some dogs, like the pitbull scrappy, so I'll go down there and take him out for a walk because I actually put that dog there."
What was your most interesting call?
“I was called to Madison on a found dog. We identified the owner from the chip information in the dog and found out the owner was in Summit. When we contacted the owner, he said 'No, my dog is sitting on my lap right now.' I ended up asking the Summit resident if I can scan his dog for information. So, I go to his house, scan the dog, get the information and find out the owner is from Madison, who lost their dog four to five hours ago. I confirmed that the chip number was different than the one that they were issued. The owners didn't even think of calling police and that's where my love for animals came in. I didn't want that dog to sit in a shelter because you never know how long it's going to be before the animal gets adopted out. So going that little extra step made both families happy."
What do you do on your free time?
"Definitely the [Honda VT1300 Cruiser] motorcycle. If not the motorcycle, it's going home to take care of my [6-year-old] black French bulldog. Her name is Xena. I lucked out with her because she is actually a rescue. The owner passed away and the kids didn't want her, so one of the organizations I was involved in asked me if I wanted her."