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Flavor Truck
Nov 5, 2007

My Love for You is like a Truck


Hello! I'm forums poster Flavor Truck. While finishing college, I worked as an animal control officer in my mostly suburban city for over two years. I genuinely enjoyed solving animal-related issues, and would be happy to answer any general questions you might have. It was a fun and rewarding position to be in, and I learned more than I ever wanted to know about pets and other types of creatures. I still receive calls from former coworkers and police officers who are seeking advice.

I did everything from saving baby ducks to investigating animal bites and arresting people for dog reasons! Keep in mind that every municipality is a little different, and the ordinances in your town may vary greatly from a neighboring city's code. When in doubt, find and read your city's municipal code online.

Have a question? Fire away!

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Flavor Truck
Nov 5, 2007

My Love for You is like a Truck


Wedemeyer posted:

Cool! What's the most annoying non report you tend to get? "This dog looked at me funny please come arrest it!"?

Generally, I'd get a lot of calls for "This dog won't stop barking! It is an ongoing issue, etc.." with complete silence once I arrived. These are similar to 911 hang-ups that police respond to in that they are frequent and rarely result in anything real or serious. I have, however, been called to barking dogs where I've found them tied up or otherwise confined in a cage without food, water, or proper shelter. Those almost always resulted in me issuing the owner a ticket.

I also used to get a lot of calls for dogs inside of cars without their owners present. This was always sort of a 50-50 chance of something lovely going on. Sometimes, the car would be locked and running with the AC going in 60 degree weather and sometimes I'd have to pop the car open with a kit and take the dog because they'd be in real trouble. You never really knew until you got there and saw for yourself. If I ever had to save a dog, I always issued a citation on top of it.

quote:

If keeping bees are unallowed in city/town limits, would you handle them or does that not fall under your jurisdiction?

In my city, keeping bees was against code. That didn't stop people from trying though. I tended to exercise a very hands-off approach to restricted species. We never went around looking for pig pens, chicken coops, or bee huts (Is that what you call them?) Rather, we'd wait for a neighbor to get upset enough to call us, then we'd have a friendly word with the owner. We'd generally give them up to two weeks to get rid of the offending species before taking enforcement action. The only time I've ever had to get involved was with a young woman who refused to get rid of her egg-laying chickens. She went so far as to let them stay with her inside of her living room. We understood that they were "her girls" and like family members to her, but she had over a month to find them another home and neglected to do so. Law's the law, man.

quote:

What are the reasons you would arrest some one for? Because I've heard of people having dogs/pets and generally letting them stagnate in the backyard, but not getting in trouble since the animals have access to some vague idea of shelter and food. Aka a half baked idea of a shed and sometimes kibble.

Going back to my first answer: I once found a full-sized black lab jammed into a tiny cage during a hailstorm and rescued it. I honestly believe it would have died had I not pulled it out. The person responsible for taking care of it while the owners were away was clueless and had no sense of responsibility. I cited them for their negligence. Whenever I reasonably believed that the animal in question was in some way shape or form at risk of injury or death due to the actions of it's owner or caretaker, I would issue a citation and articulate my reasoning behind the decision in a detailed report. I had only ever gone to court once (It was for a citation I issued over an unprovoked dog bite) and it was only because the defendant decided to fight the citation all the way to court trial. I've investigated a LOT of dog bites.

To better answer your question, if I saw a lovely thing and knew that I could convincingly articulate why the thing was lovely, I would make an arrest for it. Often times, you've got to let your own personal beliefs and standards drop in exchange for what you believe the general public will find acceptable. If you can't defend a decision you're about to make in front of a judge and jury, you probably shouldn't do it. Sometimes, there is no easy answer. Unfortunately, some people are dumb enough to believe that dogs can survive on a diet of pizza crusts and are OK with staying in an orange crate bedded with fiberglass insulation and have sufficient connections to find a lawyer sleazy enough to defend them in court. It is what it is.

quote:

Whats the strangest pet you've come across? Either during checking out a report, or rescuing from a tree or something.

If we're talking pets, I once met a woman who was living out of her van with a large hog. Both she and the van were filthy, and it was being held together with duct tape and full of trash. She told me she would sleep with the hog at night and they would use each other for warmth She also said she planned to take up permanent residence in the city, and I had to give her the bad news. She agreed to find housing elsewhere, and while I felt bad for her (and the hog), I understood that by disallowing her to stay I was probably solving several future problems.

I've had to deal with venomous snakes, bats, and giant (HUGE) tropical birds that have decided to roost in some very tall, inaccessible trees near their owners' homes. I've done all manner of birds of prey, fighting cocks, fighting dogs, all sorts of livestock, you name it.

quote:

Lastly, have you ever rescued a cat from a tree?

Surprisingly, no! I have had to rescue cats from rooftops, though. Luckily, we get pretty snowy winters and most times I was able to lob a couple of snowballs up there to convince the cats to come down or at least close enough for me to snare them around the neck. Cats are insane and tend to get into some pretty tight spots. I've pulled a lot of confused and frightened cats out of engine compartments, wheel wells, ventilation ducts, drywall gaps, etc. Unfortunately, cats are easily hoarded and I would often rescue anywhere from four to ten cats at a time. I still love them, though!

Flavor Truck
Nov 5, 2007

My Love for You is like a Truck


Superconsndar posted:

Tell us about the dog fighting busts

These are hosed up, and there are many reasons why. They're rarely done outside of DA referral. Most arrests I've been part of or have seen involving dog fights have been the result of a thorough investigation following an initial reported dog bite. I've been to a few backyards with dog treadmills, rings, and suspicious stains. If you ever suspect organized dog fighting, you need to report that poo poo immediately. Most, if not all dog fight events involve drug deals, weapons, and a LOT of outstanding arrest warrants for the attendees. Watch this video: WARNING!!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGdmQRCNYyw

EXTREME INSERTION posted:

Have you busted anyone for keeping a pet tiger or shark etc?

Haha, no. Sorry. That would be rad though. I'd probably ask to pet it.

Freakbox posted:

Have you got any warm, fuzzy, uplifting stories?

I've got plenty of uplifting stories to share! Reuniting lost pets with their owners always made me feel great. Sometimes it can be really difficult if they haven't got any tags or collars on. License your pets, people! I once opened my door for a lost dog and he jumped right in. We drove around the neighborhood together for about fifteen minutes before his owners flagged me after seeing their dog sticking its head out of my window. I much preferred to pal around with the random dogs as long as they were well behaved. I'd even take them for walks right after catching them and would often run into the owner in the process. It beats looping them around the neck and shoving them into a cage if you can help it. After a couple of months I started to figure out that dogs are a lot like lovably stupid little people. Some are going to be aggressive and others are just scared. You've just got to be observant and make the right decisions and always talk to and treat them like dumb babies.

Most times, asking the dog if it wants to go for a car ride or go home is enough. Some dogs are just no good, though. Some dogs are pure evil. You will recognize them.

Rescuing injured or trapped animals was hands down the best part of my job. Even if the animal went unclaimed by its original owner at the shelter, I'd always attach a photo of the animal as I'd found it in my report so the shelter could add a little before/after sheet to the poor thing's cage door. I don't think there had been a single rescued animal that hadn't been adopted within a few weeks because of that extra step. People eat that poo poo up.

Flavor Truck
Nov 5, 2007

My Love for You is like a Truck


Superconsndar posted:

Would you say that the pits that come out of fighting busts are generally good dogs? Can they be good pets?

If you aren't some sort of certified dog behavioral therapist or trainer, I would say No. It's sad.

Some important information for you pit bull crazies: http://www.dogsbite.org/pdf/10-year...dogsbiteorg.pdf

DogsBite.org posted:

"In the 10-year period from 2005 to 2014, two dog breeds accounted for 74% of the attacks that resulted in death: pit bulls and rottweilers."

The majority of reported dog bites that end in death are by pit bulls. The majority of dog bites that result in injury requiring hospitalization and health department intervention are by pit bulls. Pit bulls are bitey dogs. They just are. Sorry, pit bull lovers. You are in love with a bitey sort of dog and that's that.

Flavor Truck fucked around with this message at Jul 1, 2015 around 18:06

Flavor Truck
Nov 5, 2007

My Love for You is like a Truck


EXTREME INSERTION posted:

Have you ever been in mortal danger? Have you ever had to rescue animals from a flood or hurricane or some other disaster?

Every once in awhile I'd get called to somebody's backyard because a very large, hungry, and ragged looking dog would have taken up shelter in someone's shed or plastic kids' playhouse. These were typically runaways that had been out for a few weeks and were getting to the starvation point where they no longer gave a gently caress and were on the verge of going feral in temperament. These were the most dangerous. We would use two officers with long snare poles on either side of the dog, one officer with a riot shield, and one officer standing by with a taser.

I once rescued a dog from a very deep snow bank that had collapsed into a pit under her weight. She was thrashing around and howling and couldn't climb out. The fire department showed up and helped harness me up and we got the pup out. It felt like she was hugging me on the way up. Things like that happen very infrequently and not always with happy endings.

Flavor Truck
Nov 5, 2007

My Love for You is like a Truck


Quincyh posted:

Hey instead of talking about pits AGAIN, answer this question: Was anyone ever weirdly aggressive with you when you tried to do some enforcing, and how did you handle it?

This reminds me of a funny story. I was once called to this house at 2:00am because her windows were wide open and her dogs were barking out of them non-stop. I stood around on the street for two minutes to see if they would let up, which they did not. Before I could go up to knock on the door I heard someone yelling behind me and saw this woman in a jean jacket with tattoos on her face come running up the sidewalk toward me just hollering nonsense. She tried to corner me near her backyard so I drew my baton and threatened her with it. She turned around and ran upstairs into her house (she lived in the upper) and I heard her up there throwing and breaking things. I let the sworn officers handle the rest of that mess. No sense getting myself into more trouble than what they're paying me is worth.

On occasion, I'd have to issue someone a health department quarantine because their dog bit somebody. A few times I was told by the owner that they wouldn't comply. I told them that if they didn't I get a warrant for their dog that would result in the dog being taken away and put down for rabies testing. That usually got them to cooperate. A colleague of mine was chasing a dog through backyards and cornered it near someone's garage when the homeowner came out and drew a gun on them. The dude was jailed for second degree reckless endangerment and written a city summons for impeding a humane officer. You get all types.

Flavor Truck
Nov 5, 2007

My Love for You is like a Truck


Fluffy Bunnies posted:

I'm glad you threaten unarmed people who are trying to figure out what the gently caress trespassers are doing on their property. Thieves and serial killers can buy uniforms of all sorts pretty easily. Good job. Given your profession in lawisms I'm glad you didn't shoot her but that's probably just because you didn't have a gun.

It was dark, fucker. She had keys and a padlock in her hand. She is a well-known crazy person. Does that change your reaction to my bad post?

Ah, whatever.. Has this thread already run it's course or are there any more questions?

Flavor Truck fucked around with this message at Jul 2, 2015 around 09:01

Flavor Truck
Nov 5, 2007

My Love for You is like a Truck


Hot Dog Day #89 posted:

Do you ever get real angry at all these horrible pet owners abuse and neglect their pets?

PI is a wasteland of terrible pet owners. I am constantly angry.

Flavor Truck
Nov 5, 2007

My Love for You is like a Truck


Fluffy Bunnies posted:

Not even remotely. Hopefully they hired somebody that's good at their job and actually knows something about animals, but I doubt it. You're a shining example of the morons they hire to be ACOs in a hell of a lot of areas.

To be honest, that just makes my reaction worse. "Oh no. She had a key and a padlock and she's well known to be an untreated mentally ill person. I better put her in a situation where she feels threatened enough to attack me so I can beat the poo poo out of her or at least threaten to do that." She could've gone inside and come back out with a gun. You escalated the situation when you were in no direct danger because a padlock and keys might give you a goose egg if she has very very good aim (and since it was dark, she likely does not). If you're so loving stupid that you think lurking around someone's property in the dark, escalating the situation and threatening a (supposedly well-known, so I'm assuming you're right) mentally ill person with a baton when they are unarmed (a padlock and keys when she is outside is not being armed, you loving moron, it is carrying around typical yard things) then I hope you never have another job with any sort of authority and you get whatever therapy you need to solve your hosed up issues.

The best decision your city ever made was firing your stupid rear end. Your answers make you not only uneducated, but you are unfit for any sort of employment in that capacity if "threaten a person with a baton and a beating because they have a PADLOCK in their hand" is for real your response to your (incorrectly) perceived danger.

The most hilarious part of it is that she wasn't even threatening you. Hell, if I came out of my fence to investigate something I'd have a padlock and keys too because those are on my fence and I would carry them when I left my fence so I did not lose them like most people do when they have a padlock on their fence. So I guess that makes me dangerous enough to be threatened with police brutality for walking out of my yard to investigate what the lurker is doing near or on my property in the loving dark. gently caress you, guy.

lol

Flavor Truck
Nov 5, 2007

My Love for You is like a Truck


LITERALLY A BIRD posted:

Tell me about some of the birds of prey you've worked with. Are owls are chill and dumb as youtube would lead me to believe?

The first owl I had ever seen up close had been either shot with a BB gun or zapped by a power line. It was trying to "hide" in the driveway it had fallen into by laying low and flat. I went up to it and gave it a little poke and it made a surprised WOO! noise. Those talons are insanely sharp. We were able to help the big dude get some help at a local sanctuary. I've had similar experiences with falcons and eagles, too.

Flavor Truck
Nov 5, 2007

My Love for You is like a Truck


Superconsndar posted:

I have more questions

How did you handle livestock complaints

For example: let's say someone calls you and tells you my paddocks are real muddy in March/April and that my pigs don't have water. You show up and I say "they don't have water because they drink out of the creek and if I give them water they sit in it, dump it out, Mosquitos lay eggs in it, the chickens come poo poo in it, the goats try to drink it and get sick, and that it actually turns into a health risk." Do you cite me for not having "clean water" out for them in this scenario y/n

No, because there is a reasonableness standard when it comes to enforcement. If my general questions about your care of the livestock don't raise red flags then it's fine. I often asked people to explain things to me so I could better understand them. With experience, you learn to call bullshit when people begin to tapdance around certain questions. Just using common sense will often lead you in the right direction.

quote:

Example two: Some gentle soul calls you, crying softly, over the fact that my dogs are outside a lot. I own springpoles, treadmills, weighing scales, books about dog fighting, and my two pit bulls have to be rotated so the don't kill each other and at a given time, one of them is probably gonna be in my yard, possibly on a secure chain setup. (Note: tethering is not illegal where I live.) do you see my treadmills, books, springpoles and medical supplies (Which are actually for livestock) and immediately tackle me, the words "GOTCHA DOGFIGHTUR" flying from ur lips with spittle, or do you have enough training to tell the fucken difference between a weird dog lady and a legitimate fighting situation?

Are people allowed to ask each other questions in your imaginary world or are they restricted to the hypothetical confines of a comic book wherein they must interpret every problem and make every decision at face value?

quote:

EXAMPLE THREE THEN IM DONE: I own a LGD. He has never been inside a house in his life. He was raised with goats and pigs and is generally filthy. His job is to run around my property and murder anything that fucks with livestock. He sleeps in a barn and eats poop. I bathe him a few times a year and give him his shots but that's it. A concerned mom sees him and calls you because I have a dog that is dirty and never comes inside ever!!!! He barks at strangers and is not friendly and looks filthy all the time. How do u handle this situation????

By your description, it sounds like you've obviously got a pretty dog. I'll put it this way: I was once sent to a neighborhood where the reporting party said that she saw a dog owner holding his dog down and drowning it with a hose. I knocked on the door and told the guy it was a long shot, but this is what I had heard. He told me that he was giving his bug-covered dog a bath after a long day at the lake, and the dog just hates the hose. Sounds good to me, your dog looks happy and fine too, just wanted to let you know that you've got neighbors who misinterpreted what you were doing. Thanks for playing, enjoy the rest of your evening. I gave the reporting party a call back to explain, and everyone's satisfied. A lot of times, that's just the way it was. If anything, those types of calls gave me the opportunity to get to know the neighborhood and its inhabitants a little bit better while at the same time giving the people who lived there a better sense of support from their local services.

Flavor Truck
Nov 5, 2007

My Love for You is like a Truck


HelloSailorSign posted:

And here I was going to ask things about budget for treatment of strays, per capita officers, etc.

Go on ahead. Thanks to everyone who PM'ed me about this thread. I'm not discouraged by shitposting in light of those who have legitimate questions. There's very little information out there on the day-to-day for ACOs and my positive experiences greatly outweighed the negative. I still volunteer at a local shelter and have lots of input on things like budgeting, treatment of strays by shelter size, etc.

Flavor Truck
Nov 5, 2007

My Love for You is like a Truck


adventure in the sandbox posted:

Do you have nice stories about pets other than dogs and cats? Like finding a kid's lost bunny or something?

Great question! I will begin this post with a photo of one of my rabbits.



Chill as gently caress forever, his name is Dr. Moose. That fat rear end in the background is his wife. They're both shelter buns.

I worked two Easters as a humane officer. Both times, we had reports of large white domestic rabbits running around the city. Apparently people thought it was cool to get big white rabbits for Easter, get bored of them, and let them loose outside for the birds to pick off. Not cool. A couple of people spotted a bonded couple of white rabbits hanging out in their backyard the day after Easter and called us. I netted each of them, and when I picked them up with gloved hands they each let out the death scream they normally reserve for being lifted off of the ground by birds of prey. My rabbits have never done this and it freaked me out. It was hilarious how quickly they went back to calm, even breathing and temper seconds after I began holding them as I would my own rabbits. I brought about six or seven white rabbits to the shelter that following week and they were all adopted out or brought to our local rabbit sanctuary by the end of the month.

Flavor Truck
Nov 5, 2007

My Love for You is like a Truck


The Big Whoop posted:

What were your qualifications when you got the job? What sort of training did you have to go through once you got it?

A valid question, and one I was almost always asked in court. The job required an associates degree at least, and for the person to be in active pursuit of a bachelor's degree in any field having to do with law enforcement or human services. A 32 hour certification course and regular interval training throughout the year by trained, certified vets was also required. The 'on the job' training period was two months long and we were almost always working in pairs.

Edit: Just so everybody knows, I'm ignoring the bad posters who think they know every intimate detail of my personal experience. It's not worth entertaining. Judging from the PM's I've been getting, most (if not all) of you understand this and I am happy to continue replying to your questions.

Flavor Truck fucked around with this message at Jul 3, 2015 around 21:01

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Flavor Truck
Nov 5, 2007

My Love for You is like a Truck


SubponticatePoster posted:

If Flavor Truck doesn't mind, I did AC for about 10 years so I can also answer questions. Did a thread in PI about it some years back which has fallen into archives.

Go hog wild! I'm taking a break from this thread for the holiday.

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