Debunking Animal Control Myths

August 28, 2013

Animal control officer is a title that may conjure up images of an ‘evil’ dog catcher that is out to swoop up and euthanize poor little Fido. Some might feel that this job is for the uneducated or otherwise unskilled. Many people assume that catching dogs is the only role that they have. These are a few of many misconceptions about what it means to be an animal control officer today.

Animals can mistakenly wander from their homes and into the streets. To ensure their safety, an officer will typically take them to the pound in hopes that the owner can be found. By picking these stray animals up, they are protecting them from the dangers of society and protecting society from the dangers of a stray animal. They cannot always catch the animals that they’re pursuing, however; they are only human and some animals can be extremely elusive.

An American colloquialism for an unfavorable politician that he or she “couldn’t be elected dogcatcher.” The term ‘dogcatcher’ is sometimes used as shorthand for low-level political office. In actuality, dogcatchers are typically appointed by an executive authority. Officers undergo a lot of training in order to qualify for dealing with all sorts of different animals and to properly identify as well as treat animal injuries and diseases.

In cases of animal cruelty, an animal control officer becomes an advocate for the abused animal and will often place charges upon the abuser. Animal control officers are usually law enforcement when on duty, which means they have power similar to the local police. Some animal cruelty investigators are specially trained police officers. They are trained in law as well as in courtroom presentations and testimony. Ethics, professionalism, crisis response, and officer safety round off the extensive list of needed training for these important roles in society.

The animal control officer will often work closely with police departments, parks and recreation departments, and health departments by confining animals, investigating animal abuse cases, and looking into reports of animal attacks on humans. They also work to spread awareness about proper pet care, promoting vaccinations, identification tags, and neutering/spaying one’s pets.

Needless to say, animal control officers are far from monstrous dognappers. Officers often say that it was the love and concern for animals that got them interested in the career. They have a deep appreciation for animals and a wish to protect them as well as society.

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