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Davis Journal

Animal control officers focus on welfare, education

Apr 08, 2021 11:52AM ● By Becky Ginos

KAYSVILLE—Animal Control Officers are often portrayed as mean dog catchers out to pick up dogs and take them to the pound. In reality, they’re people who really care about animals and want to keep pets safe in the community.

“We’re the good guys out there trying to help,” said Kevin Stuart, development manager for Davis County Animal Care. “They are people committed to animals. Their focus is on animal welfare, public education and engagement. Our officers are good people. They’re not there to take your dogs or write a ticket.”

April 12 – 15 is National Animal Control Officer week and Stuart said it’s a chance to give them the recognition they deserve. “The last calendar year we got over 9,000 calls,” he said. “There are only 10 officers to cover 16 cities/jurisdictions, including Hill Air Force Base and sometimes they go all the way out to Antelope Island. If you see officers out during this week say thanks for the good job they’re doing.”

Marcos Timoteo has been an Animal Control Officer for about six months. “I thought this was a good way to learn about animals and help the community out,” he said. “Growing up I wasn’t allowed to have a dog so now I get to interact with animals all day.”

Timoteo said if they get a complaint of a barking dog, they’ll sit outside the house for a few minutes to listen and see if the barking stops, then they knock on the door. “If it’s the first complaint we ask them to fix the problem. We usually recommend a bark collar. If it gets to a third time we give them a serious note and file charges sometimes. But we prefer to educate them.”

Ned Franklin has been an Animal Control Officer for more than 20 years and is also a cruelty investigator. He said after 21 years nothing is unusual anymore. “I’ve seen places with 160 cats, they’re kind of hoarders. Sometimes different people get into rescuing animals and get overwhelmed. It’s a sad situation. That’s kind of hard.”

Another time, he was called out when a trailer tipped over on the freeway and lost the cows they were carrying. “They were loose on the freeway so it was a dangerous situation,” Franklin said. “I’ve had some pretty wild situations. You never know what you’re going to encounter. One day you might be talking to people in the park about keeping their dog on a leash and the next day it’s cows on a freeway.”

As a cruelty investigator, Franklin has worked on some tough cases. “There have been a lot of bad dog bites involving children,” he said. “I also see the bad part of the animal industry like horses that are starved to death.”

Sometimes he finds it’s not a case of cruelty. “If the animal’s fur is matted and in bad condition it might just be a 20-year-old dog that the owner wants to hold on to,” said Franklin. “We don’t automatically write a ticket, they could actually be a good person who is trying to help rescue the animal.”

However, there are others who aren’t very good caregivers, he said. “Some just refuse to take care of their dog and don’t want to follow the law and take care of their animals.”

Despite some of the hard things he has to deal with, Franklin enjoys his job. “A lot of times when we return animals it’s nice to see people you’ve helped out and solved their problem. It’s fulfilling to know you’ve done some good.”