Animal Control Officers: A Pet's Best Defense
The stereotype of the 1930s "dog catcher" is as outdated as silent movies.
Animal Control officers, or ACOs, are professional men and women who work for your local government, protecting the pets and people in their community. They enforce local rabies prevention laws and protect pets from injury, disease and mistreatment by enforcing animal protection laws. Education about these issues is also an important part of their job. Their daily duties can be challenging and even dangerous as they encounter fearful or injured animals. They also handle volatile situations with human citizens, diffusing difficult situations professionally and safely. Officers witness the results of terrible animal cruelty and often testify in court regarding such cases.
Animal Control agencies originated at the turn of the last century strictly to protect people from rabies. Today, thanks to vaccinations, laws and licensing, and the diligent work of ACOs, rabies incidents in humans and pets are counted annually in the dozens instead of in the thousands. The modern Animal Control agency is an Animal CARE and Control agency, balancing enforcement, education and protection.
ACOs work on the streets and also in your city or county animal shelter, caring for the unwanted pets of your community. They are enforcement officers, educators, investigators and caregivers. They are often invisible and misunderstood, so if you haven't thanked yours, do so. National Animal Control Appreciation Week is held in the U.S. in April and is an opportunity to recognize the hard work and commitment these officers provide to your community all year long.