They are responsible for investigation and enforcement activities for city Ordinance and State Statute violations dealing with animals. They are not “dog catchers”, and do not simply drive around picking up loose dogs. Animal Control Officers are certified by the State to perform their jobs, including certification in humane animal capture and standard investigation techniques. The Officers must be well versed in civil and criminal rules, and testify in Court on behalf of the City. They are Certified Euthanasia Technicians and have certifications in remote chemical capture as well as being certified in the use of a tactical baton.
With just 3 ACO’s to cover the entire city of Coral Springs (when fully staffed), these employees are very busy. Officers are on demand 365 days a year to handle a wide variety of animal related situations. After working a regular 8-hour workday, the Officers then rotate standby shifts to handle emergencies that arise after the normal business day. This includes every weekday, every holiday and every weekend. Standby calls frequently require the Officer to deal single handedly with capturing loose, unpredictable, and sometimes dangerous animals that pose threats to the citizens and animals within our communities.
In addition to the day-to-day job of enforcing vaccine, license, leash and nuisance laws, Animal Control Officers perform many emotionally and physically stressful duties, which largely go unknown, unnoticed and unappreciated by the general public. Below is a partial list of these little known services:
- Animal Control Officers deal with potentially rabid and or diseased animals. This poses personal injury risks to the Officer, who sets their own well being aside in order to protect the public. Special challenges arise when capturing aggressive, vicious and feral animals that have bitten or mauled people.
- These Officers investigate city and State Statute violations, which may result in the Officer referring criminal charges against the violators. These offenses range from misdemeanors to felonies.
- Animal Control Officers are put in harms way when called upon by the Police Dept. to go on “drug raids” and other highly dangerous cases when attack dogs are present that might impede the serving of warrants, the searching of properties or the arresting of criminals.
- The Officers are also called upon to enter residences wherein murders and/or suicides have occurred, usually before the human victim’s bodies are removed, due to the presence of protective pets who won’t let rescue personnel near their owner’s bodies. These scenes are grisly, emotionally draining calls to respond to.
- Animal Control Officers must also respond to fatal traffic accidents when pets are in the vehicles, exposing the Officers to heinous scenes of death and dismemberment.
- These Officers are called to house fires, where pets, and sometimes their owners, have died and must remove the animal’s bodies from the scene.
- Animal Control Officers are the ones who remove dead animals from the roadways in Coral Springs.
- These Officers respond to calls where dogs have caused property damages and cases where dogs have attacked, injured or killed other animals.
- Animal Control Officers investigate cases of “Animal Hoarding” – which require Officers to enter and work in environments where dozens, and sometimes hundreds, of abused and sick animals are kept in squalid, unsanitary, cramped spaces.
- Animal Control Officers respond to cruelty to animal reports and rescue animal victims from their abusers.
- When sick or injured animals are found, the Officer must make a field assessment of the animal’s condition. If the animal is in imminent danger of dying, the Officer must perform the humane act of euthanasia to end the animal’s suffering.
- If the injured animal is wearing I.D., the Officer tries to contact the owner and arrange for immediate veterinary care to be provided.