What exactly is the job of Animal Care and Control Personnel (also known as Animal Control Officers)? Aren’t they “just dog catchers”? Visions of the dog catcher taking Tramp away to ‘the pound’ in “Lady and the Tramp” are what many people think of when Animal Control Officers are mentioned. This image couldn’t be further from the truth. Just like other public safety and law enforcement agents, Animal Care and Control Personnel are devoted, compassionate people who risk their lives to ensure the safety and care of wild animals, pets, and people.
Animal Care and Control Personnel provide many services in your community including:
- Assisting with injured, sick, or stray dogs – often reuniting them with their owners without ever going to ‘the pound’
- Assisting with injured, sick, or stray cats
- Assisting with sick, injured, or orphaned wildlife
- Investigating animal cruelty cases
- Protecting and rescuing animals from situations of animal cruelty
- Educating animal caregivers about provincial and federal laws relating to animal care
- Educating the public about wildlife and their behavior
- Educating the public about the importance of pet identification with microchips or collar tags
- Investigating and enforcing Animal Control By-laws in communities (e.g., off leash dogs, barking, licensing of dogs/cats)
- Assisting other authorities such as police, or other emergency services and public health agencies when necessary, to protect animals and people
- Protecting the public from diseases such as rabies
Animal Care and Control personnel rescue helpless animals from situations of abuse, starvation, injury, and disease. It is a difficult and often thankless job. Seeing an animal suffer is difficult for animal lovers, and Animal Control Officers are definitely animal lovers. They frequently encounter situations where animals are suffering. They put themselves in hazardous and sometimes dangerous environments in order to protect or rescue wild animals or pets.
But… they love their jobs! They give animals a voice. They are rewarded when they see abused or neglected animals recover and live a happy life in a loving home, or when they can safely reunite lost pets to their grateful owners.
Animal Care and Control personnel provide important services to their communities and should be recognized for the work and help they provide that no one else could, or would, even know how to do. We thank all the Animal Care and Control personnel for the hard work they do in communities each and every day. If you see an officer in your community, say “Thank You!”