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We are stronger together than we are alone!

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 callpolicebadneightbors1Recue or Rogue?


My career in Animal Control has allowed me to work with many different agencies and groups over the years:  the FBI, Homeland Security, IRS, DEA, ATF, State Police, several county sheriff departments, and our local police department. 



I have received training in constitutional law, and am familiar with the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution.  This amendment provides, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation….”.  I have prepared several affidavits to request search warrants and have found that judges take the Fourth Amendment very seriously.  

I point this out as a preface to the conversation documented below.  This is a paraphrase of an actual phone conversation I had with a volunteer from a rescue group.  The names of the street and the rescue group have been changed.

Rescue Volunteer: “Hello Officer.  I just wanted to let you know that I’m coming to your city to remove an abused dog from XYZ St.”
Animal Control Officer: “What is the alleged abuse?  And which agency are you working for?”
Volunteer: “I’m not sure what the abuse is, but my director said the dog needs to be removed.  I volunteer for Plain Old Recue Society.”
Officer: “Are you a state certified cruelty investigator or police officer?”
Volunteer: “No.  I’m just trying to help.  The dog has to be saved!”
Officer: “I am an Animal Control Officer for the city.  We conduct our own investigations and have the legal authority to impound an animal in need.  You have no authority to enter the property of the dog owner and likewise remove the dog.  I have your name, your phone number, the name of the rescue group, and the address you are traveling to.  I highly suggest that you allow us to conduct the investigation, and take the appropriate action.  Do you really want to risk being attacked or shot?  Do you want to risk being arrested for trespassing, and attempted theft?”
I went on to explain to the volunteer that I was familiar with the address, and had performed an investigation two days prior to her phone call.  The pet owner was in full compliance with all state and municipal codes.  The volunteer thanked me, but I could tell by the tone of voice that they were disappointed.  I truly admire the dedication and passion of rescue volunteers.  Without their love of animals, and desire to help, many of our furry friends would have no hope.
You might be asking yourself what you can do to have an impact on the wellbeing of animals in your community, outside of the animals you currently foster and rescue.  These are my suggestions:
 1)  Learn which agencies are responsible for animal cruelty investigation in your area.  Get to know the directors, managers, and officers of that agency.  If you see abuse, report it, and let the agency know you would like a courtesy call to keep you informed.  
2)  Familiarize yourself with the local codes, and state laws pertaining to animal husbandry.  
3)  Attend training to become a certified cruelty investigator.
4)  Get involved with the local city councils and county boards that vote on the ordinances in your community.  Most boards are required to hold public hearings about proposed laws.  This is your opportunity to express concerns in favor of, or in opposition to, the laws.
5)  Get to know your state legislators.  Let them know how you feel about proposed animal legislation, and give them suggestions for fine tuning current laws to improve their efficacy.  I know firsthand that many state laws get passed that make the public believe incredible strides have been made to protect animals, but a close examination of the law reveals it to be no more than “feel good” legislation.
Do not be discouraged!  Together we can make your community, your state, and our country a safe haven for animals!

Edited by Julie Bradford