Animal control service

An animal control service or animal control agency is an entity charged with responding to requests for help with animals, including wild animals, dangerous animals, and animals in distress. An individual who works for such an entity was once known as a dog catcher, but is generally now called an animal control officer, and may be an employee or a contractor – commonly employed by a municipality, county, shire,[1] or other subnational government area.

Black and white photo of an animal control officer (then known as a dog-catcher) restraining a stray cat in 1924.
An animal control officer (then known as a dog-catcher) restraining a stray cat in a net.

Duties and function edit

Typically animals that are found will be checked for owner identification, including checking any ID tags, scanning for microchips, and checking for tattoos.[2] Animals may be returned to their owners, or transported to a veterinary clinic or animal shelter. Animals held in the shelter can be returned to their owners, adopted, released to the wild, held as evidence in a criminal investigation or euthanized.[3]

Animal control services may be provided by the government or through a contract with a humane society or society for the prevention of cruelty to animals. Officers may work for, or with, police or sheriff departments, parks and recreation departments, and health departments by confining animals or investigating animal bites to humans.

Active cruelty to animals may be an indicator of serious psychological or violence problems.[4][5][6][7] Because of these links, in some places animal control officers have begun to look for and report on other issues.[8]

Legal details in the United States of America edit

The most common requirements for this job is some prior experience handling animals on a farm, as a veterinary assistant or animal trainer.[9] Training is primarily on the job but some jurisdictions (like Virginia, North Carolina and Texas) require formal and continuing education[10] available from community colleges and trade associations.

Some animal cruelty investigators are specially trained police officers.[11] The New York American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) employs several Humane Law Enforcement Officers with some police powers (including the power of arrest) and the Oregon Humane Society employs Humane Special Agents in partnership with the Oregon State Police who are fully-sworn law enforcement officers.[12] Throughout the United States this arrangement is becoming more common.[13]

Politics edit

An American colloquialism labels an unpopular politician by saying that they "couldn't be elected dogcatcher", with "dogcatcher" referring to a very low-level elected office.

In practice, animal control officers are generally appointed by an executive authority and not elected.[14] However, historic equivalents such as poundmaster, which was tasked with the control of stray livestock, and hog reeve, whose mandate extended exclusively to stray swine, were elective offices in Colonial and early American New England. The town of Duxbury, Vermont was said to be the only place in the contemporary United States that actually elects a dog catcher,[15] but electing of dogcatchers was found to be illegal in Vermont in 2018. The job was then designated as appointment-only, with Zeb Towne, the last elected dogcatcher in Duxbury, being unanimously appointed to the position.[16][17]

References edit

  1. ^ "RANGER SERVICES / POUND / LOST YOUR CAT OR DOG?" Archived January 2, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "NACA Guidelines" (PDF). National Animal Care & Control Association (PDF). 2017.
  3. ^ Notaro, Stephen J. "Disposition Of Shelter Companion Animals From Nonhuman Animal Control Officers, Citizen Finders, And Relinquished By Caregivers." Journal of Applied Animal Welfare Science 7.3 (2004): 181-188. Academic Search Premier. Web. March 13, 2013.
  4. ^ Facts About Animal Abuse & Domestic Violence Archived November 20, 2012, at the Wayback Machine American Humane Association Accessed November 12, 2006
  5. ^ "Domestic Violence & the Animal Abuse Link". Archived from the original on December 29, 2008. Retrieved November 6, 2008.
  6. ^ Felthous, A. R. (October 12, 1980). "Aggression against cats, dogs and people". Child Psychiatry and Human Development. 10 (3): 169–177. doi:10.1007/BF01433629. PMID 7357998. S2CID 24502567 – via PubMed.
  7. ^ Goleman, Daniel (August 7, 1991). "Clues to a Dark Nurturing Ground for One Serial Killer". New York Times. Archived from the original on August 23, 2020. Retrieved April 30, 2010.
  8. ^ May Eriksen, Alanah (September 16, 2008). "SPCA, CYF police each other's patches". New Zealand Herald. Archived from the original on May 22, 2011. Retrieved September 29, 2008.
  9. ^ "Entry Requirements" Archived January 23, 2016, at the Wayback Machine,
  10. ^ VA Requirements, Code of Virginia
  11. ^ "Requirements for Becoming an Animal Cruelty Investigator" Archived December 10, 2015, at the Wayback Machine,
  12. ^ Goodwick, Kelsey O'Lea (April 13, 2022). "Q&A: All About Humane Law Enforcement". Oregon Humane Society. Retrieved October 16, 2023.
  13. ^ "History of American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) – FundingUniverse". Retrieved May 23, 2021.
  14. ^ Beam, Christopher (November 5, 2010). "Dog Race: Is dogcatcher actually an elective office?". Slate Magazine. Archived from the original on November 8, 2010. Retrieved November 6, 2010.
  15. ^ Kolb Noyes, Eileen (March 24, 2018). "Can't Get Elected Dogcatcher? Try Running In Duxbury, Vt". Archived from the original on March 24, 2018. Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  16. ^ Gardner, Tommy (April 19, 2018). "'Awesome' Duxbury dog catcher just not electable anymore". Vermont Community Newspaper Group. Archived from the original on November 12, 2023.
  17. ^ Detrow, Scott (April 7, 2018). "'You Couldn't Get Elected Dogcatcher!' No, Seriously". Archived from the original on November 12, 2023.

External links edit