Animal control service
An animal control service or animal control agency is an entity charged with responding to requests for help with animals ranging from wild animals, dangerous animals, or animals in distress. An individual who works for such an entity was once known as a dog-catcher, but is generally now called an animal control officer, and may be an employee or a contractor – commonly employed by a municipalities, county, shire or other sub-national government area.
Duties and function
Animal control services may be provided by the government or through a contract with a humane society or society for the prevention of cruelty to animals. Officers may work for or, with police or sheriff departments, parks and recreation departments, and health departments by confining animals or investigating animal bites to humans.
The most common requirements for this job is some prior experience handling animals on a farm, as a veterinary assistant or animal trainer. Training is primarily on the job but some jurisdictions (like Virginia, North Carolina and Texas) require formal and continuing education available from community colleges and trade associations. Some animal cruelty investigators are specially trained police officers, the New York American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) employs several Humane Law Enforcement Officers with some police powers (including the power of arrest); and throughout the United States this arrangement is becoming more common.
Animals may be returned to their owners, or transported to a veterinary clinic or animal shelter. Animals held in the shelter can be returned to their owners, adopted, released to the wild, held as evidence in a criminal investigation or put to sleep.
Active cruelty to animals may be an indicator of serious psychological or violence problems. Because of these links, in some places animal control officers have begun to look for and report on other issues.
An American colloquialism labels an unpopular politician by saying that he or she "couldn't be elected dogcatcher". "Dogcatcher" is also used as shorthand for low-level political office.
Most animal control officers are actually appointed by an executive authority.
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