Thank You – National Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week April 10-16

What better way to start off our first official post than giving appreciation for our Animal Control Officers and shading light on what these individuals do for us and animals each day! The name ‘animal control officer’ sounds kind of frigid, right? Like controlling animals and only showing up for bad situations, right? Wrong! These people put their lives on the line. Their job description involves entering situations where an animal is in need, whether from neglect or abuse. An animal who may be homeless on the streets, been reported by the community of an animal tied outside in the blazing heat with no protection, an animal with mange and/or other health aliments, and the list goes on.

Animal Control Officers are essentially the “heroes” who oversee local, state and/or national government guidelines, go around to provide information regarding the rights of animals and caring for them, promoting services for improving the care of an animal (such as spaying/neutering, flea/tick, etc), and of course, going out onto the streets to deal with the issues head on.

Here is also a great list of what Animal Control Officers deal with. I didn’t even think #6 was something they handled- so it’s amazing to see the diverse responsibilities they have! 6 Things Animal Control Officers Do

It must be so difficult work in those conditions daily. Entering a negative situation and putting the pieces back together again, but at the end of it, rewarding to see the animal they have rescued, have their health turnaround, find a better home, and live even when the signs pointed to a poor outcome. These people do what most of us hope for and/or talk about doing, but the difference is, they are doing it! But so can you! You can join them in the fight against animal neglect, abuse, homeless, and so forth by volunteering at your local shelter, donating supplies or funds, signing up to become a foster parent, coordinate functions to educate people on these issues and the list goes on!

I would like to highlight some stories, across the nation, both good and bad, regarding animal control officers and how they’ve made a difference. Get your boxes of tissues, you’re going to need them!

First, let’s start with a sad situation. Just like most of us, we punch in and out of our jobs and that leaves our customers left to wait, not knowing what will happen outside of “business hours”. This story sheds some light on how this industry does not have enough awareness, coverage, and people interested in doing this work, meaning the coverage is limited! I take you to Tennessee, where in March 2017, reports were sent into an Animal Control sector after hours. Meaning, no one was around and/or able to respond to these calls and check into the situations reported. Thankfully, the people who reported, called the local police department and that team responded. By the time the police officers had arrived, they had found the dog beaten to death with a golf club and domestic abuse occurring between the family members. The person responsible was brought in and booked, and charges were processed. The person remains in city jail without bail. So, what’s the point in sharing this story?

Well, sometimes the bad comes with the good and change occurs! This situation caused this County to re-evaluate how they handle Animal Cruelty calls, level of training, and processes for handling. Like this particular case, local police departments do not have extensive experience when it comes to Animal Cruelty reports and cases, not as rigorous as Animal Control Officers do. So what to do? Push for change, speak up, and volunteer! Our County, State, and National governments are becoming more and more aware of Animal Cruelty and are pushing for change, but it’s slowly happening. The more the public pushes for these additional resources, more education surrounding cases like these, and legislation being in place to prosecute, the more likely and quicker it will happen.

To read more about this particular story and follow updates on how this local county is handling Animal Cruelty moving forward: Police re-examine how they handle cruelty calls

Now! Onto a success story with our Animal Control Officers. Did you know that Animal Control Officers work with local and national animal organizations to aid in caring for them, giving them life back, the in-between victim to new home, and getting these animals new homes? Well, now you do! This next story is one we’ve heard more and more about, especially after the Vick story: dog fighting. It hasn’t been until a few years back, that more awareness and outcry is occurring regarding animal cruelty and how it’s handled. Most people either weren’t ever aware of dogs being set up to fight or turned a blind eye. Now situations like this are gaining more traction, unfortunately and fortunately in bad and good ways. As we learn more about things like this occurring, the more we notice people gaining “interests” in joining along, rather than stopping, but there has been a large outcry growing to put an end to it.

This next story, although sad, it’s a success story in my eyes! In North Carolina, 23 Pit Bulls were saved from a reported Dog fighting operation. This particular operation not only had adult dogs with clear signs of neglect and abuse (bites, scratches, and so forth), but this location was breeding and raising puppies to grow their operation. Sick, right? The bright side? They were SAVED! It’s never too late to make a difference and the local government, animal control organizations and animal cruelty organizations are fighting this case and others like it. The teams are going to trial and believe it could be a clean-cut case. The dogs are being cared for for their injuries, while also are going through behavioral training and therapy in hopes of giving them new homes. The Animal Control Officers and other teams made this happen. The operation was reported, they got in there, stopped in and are continuing to see it through.

To read more about this story visit: Rescue of 23 Dogs from Dog Fighting Operation

I hope this post has not only been insightful, but also an eye opener to what Animal Control Officers do on a daily basis not only for our communities, but for neglected animals, wildlife, and stopping animal cruelty. They go through vigorous training and deal with cases like the above, on a daily basis, but do it because they believe they can make a difference and want to.

The fact that these officer outlets partner with organizations to oversee the care, potential adoption, and opportunity for these animals to enter a new, safe, and loving home even after the horror they have experienced, is truly amazing. Most organizations work independently, but this goes to show that team work, communication, passion, and community outreach can really make a difference.

Want to learn more about how to get involved with organizations? Check out the below links to start your research! Connect with your local shelters, humane societies, and veterinarians to locate opportunities for you to make a difference.

Considering becoming an Animal Control Officer?

National Organization Against Animal Cruelty

National Organization For Animal Rights

 

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