Animal control officers are hardworking employees who are often undervalued. Animal Care and Control Appreciation Week is April 10 through 16, and this is a great time to show your appreciation to these dedicated individuals. Our team at Columbia Pike Animal Hospital wants to explain why you should be grateful for the service of animal control and care officers.

#1: Animal control officers rescue pets in distress

Animal control officers are responsible for rescuing stray pets who don’t have shelter or a reliable food source. Once in their care, the pets are treated humanely, and given food, shelter, and veterinary care if needed. 

#2: Animal control officers reunite lost pets with their owners

When an animal control officer finds a pet wandering the streets, the first action they take is to look for an identification tag to locate the pet’s family. If they don’t have an identification tag, the officer will scan to see if the pet is microchipped. Animal control officers want nothing more than to reunite pets with their families, and they will try every avenue to make a reunion happen.

#3: Animal control officers capture dangerous pets and animals

When a stray pet or a wild animal is a threat to the community, an animal control officer is responsible for capturing the animal, to ensure no other pets or people are injured. In addition to the potential for injury to the officer, if these animals are infected with rabies, they pose a significant health risk to the officer. This viral disease is a contagious illness transmitted through an infected animal’s bite, and has life-threatening consequences. If a person or pet starts to show signs after infection, most cases are fatal. Animal control officers risk being attacked and bitten every time they encounter dangerous pets and animals while protecting the community.

#4: Animal control officers investigate cases of pet and animal cruelty

Sadly, some people neglect, mistreat, and abuse pets and other animals, and animal control officers are responsible for investigating these cases, to ensure the pets and animals are rescued and placed in a safe environment. In addition, they ensure the people guilty of neglecting or abusing the pet or animal are held responsible for their actions. They thoroughly investigate each case to understand the circumstances, and they provide expert testimony in court cases when necessary. Since evidence has been documented that violence against animals is frequently linked to violence against vulnerable people, animal control officers are also mandated reporters of child and elder abuse. 

#5: Animal control officers free pets left in hot cars

Every year numerous pets die because their owner leaves them unattended in a vehicle. Temperatures inside a car can rise to dangerous levels in minutes, and pets are highly susceptible to heatstroke, leading to a life-threatening situation. Animal control officers respond to these cases, to safely free the pet from the car and potentially save their life.

#6:  Animal control officers break up dog-fighting rings

Dogs used for fighting are typically kept in isolation in deplorable conditions, and anabolic steroids are frequently administered to these dogs to enhance muscle mass and encourage aggressive behavior. They are forced to fight other dogs, and many sustain terrible injuries, such as puncture wounds, lacerations, blood loss, crushing injuries, and broken bones. Losing dogs are often killed or left to die from their injuries. Animal control officers find and shut down these heinous groups.

#7: Animal control officers assist pets during disasters

Animal control officers help organize and manage disaster control operations to help rescue pets and other animals in these situations. They receive ongoing rapid response training to ensure they are always prepared. 

How can pet owners show appreciation to animal control officers?

A simple thank-you is a great way to show your gratitude to an animal control officer. Other ways to show your appreciation include:

  • Spay and neuter your pet — Pet homelessness is a crisis in the United States, and animal control officers are responsible for capturing these pets and taking them to shelters, which are already overcrowded. Spaying and neutering your pet ensures your pet’s offspring do not contribute to the problem.
  • Microchip your pet Microchipping your pet is the best way to ensure they are returned to you if they go missing. If an animal control officer cannot identify a lost pet, they must take them to a shelter, which takes space from other homeless pets. Microchipping is an easy procedure that can be performed at your pet’s next wellness visit.
  • Report animal abuse — If you know or suspect an animal is being abused, contact an animal control officer immediately to investigate the situation. Animal abuse signs include pets who:
    • Are underweight, with visible bones
    • Have obvious injuries or illness signs that aren’t being addressed
    • Are without appropriate food or water
    • Are exposed to inclement weather with no shelter
    • Are tied or caged in an area with limited room to stand or turn around
    • Are obviously being trained to fight
    • Suffer witnessed overt acts of violence
  • Donate to your local pet shelter — Donating your time or money to your local shelter is also a great way to show your support and appreciation.

The services animal control officers provide often go unacknowledged, but these hard-working individuals are extremely important community members. If you would like to show your appreciation by microchipping your pet, contact our team at Columbia Pike Animal Hospital to schedule an appointment.