In this blog, I am continuously exploring and suggesting new approaches to capturing and handling dogs. The most proficient individuals who do this are animal control officers and I wish to make it very clear that I honor their skills, knowledge, and experience.
It is common around the world for the village or city or regional animal control to hire the poorest, least educated dog catchers to do what is perceived as the dirty work. There is no sense of humane treatment or animal protection. And in some countries, especially where rabies is endemic and dogs run the streets, there is a bounty for people to bring in as many dead dogs as they can. I have seen photos of a motor scooter with 5 dead dogs piled across the front and back.
Here in North America, the National Animal Control Association and state ACAs have developed strong professional programs “to define and promote professionalism in the animal protection care and humane law enforcement field by providing quality services, education, training, and support.” (from NACA Mission Statement) I believe they have developed the highest standards in the world and fortunately their achievements are improving the standards in other nations.
When I was helping with dog rescues in New Orleans and in Gulfport, MS I had the opportunity to work with ACOs in some of the toughest conditions. It is not an exaggeration to say that their dedication and courage was remarkable. Even those ACOs from New Orleans who lost their homes were taking great risks and with the greatest compassion rescuing animals who had also lost their homes.
There were many times when ACOs were my teachers (and still are). At times they calmly handled dogs I had no comfort or confidence in handling. I do not like the snare pole, yet they demonstrated skills with the snare pole that I still use and teach today and I have learned that the snare pole can, at times, be used professionally and humanely. I wish to thank those ACOs who are both my friends and teachers.
I truly want this blog to benefit the ACOS and their organizations. Let’s work together to make it more of a discussion board. Question what I have to say and offer other ideas. I would love feedback on how this blog could be more practical for the ACO profession.