Police Department gets the animal control calls

May. 28, 2013 @ 11:24 AM

We are like the Waffle House — we’re open 24/7. When people don’t know who else to call, they call the police.

This is especially true when it comes to animal issues. We get calls that may range from a stray cat roaming the neighborhood to a raccoon on someone’s back deck.

Once, when I was working on patrol, I was called to a local barbershop where the owner wanted me to get rid of a bat flying around inside the shop. Several years ago, officers were dispatched to Belk’s at the mall because of a possum in one of the dressing rooms.

The public’s expectations are all the same, and police officers need to handle the situations quickly and professionally.

 Our animal control officers, Tim Griffin and Ted Moore, spend their day answering animal calls within the city. They mostly work with domestic animals — they investigate abandoned animals, cruelty or neglect cases,

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barking dogs, vicious dogs, and animal bite calls. They enforce the city’s animal ordinances and state laws regarding the treatment of animals.

Our officers don’t just care for animals professionally … many of them are pet owners. Capt. Beth Greene is an advocate for protecting animals who have been thoughtlessly abandoned. She’d be quick to remind you, and so would I, that it’s against the law to abandon an animal; it’s inhumane, too.

Animal control officers are on duty Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m. After those hours, regular duty police officers will answer the calls. In some cases, the shift supervisors will call Tim or Ted to come in and take care of the animals.

People have very strong feelings when it comes to animals and treat their pets as family members, which I believe should be the case. 

Once I answered a call where a man was run over by a train. I learned that the man had been holding his dog while he stood on the railroad tracks. Another officer and I went over to the man’s house to speak with his wife.

When I told her that her husband had been run over by the train, the first question she asked was, “How is Petey?” Petey was the dog.

We should be responsible pet owners and take care of our animals. After all, anyone who would mistreat an animal would mistreat a person. 

Summer is coming and we get a lot of calls about dogs being chained outside. Make sure your pets have fresh water daily, shade and housing if your pet is left outside.

Also, be mindful of leaving your pet inside your car. If the temperature outside is 75 degrees, the temperature inside the car can get up to 118 degrees. 

Please remember to take care of your pets. They depend on you.

Debra Duncan is police chief of the City of Monroe.