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Animal Control Officers are more than just "dog-catchers"

Posted at 2:50 PM, Apr 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-16 16:50:46-04

This is National Animal Care & Control Appreciation Week. Animal Control Officers in Great Falls are in charge of responding to requests for help involving animals, ranging from wild animals, dangerous animals, or animals in distress.

ACO Keirston Sapp said, "It means a lot if I'm doing something I love. I'm around small furry creatures I love. I'm doing what I have always wanted to do. I have always wanted to work with animals, and I finally got that."

She's been in her job for the past four months and is learning a lot. "It's been pretty fun. I love driving around, and I get to do that, and I love animals, and I get to touch them all the time, it makes me pretty happy. I have learned a lot; I'm learning every day. I'm still asking everybody all kinds of questions."

But she also wanted to find a way to help her co-workers out during this trying time, and is now using her 3D printer to create masks: "We had a meeting here about a week ago, and they were telling us that we had only so many of the actual masks, the hospital-grade, and they didn't know if they were going to be able to get more. I knew I could print those, and we could use the current masks is the filtration system for it, and it would give us more uses out of the covers. They thought it was a great idea."

Some people don't see all the different layers of the job. "I know a lot of people personally that would be like, 'Oh yeah you're a dog catcher,' and they don't seem to realize that we do a lot more than just dog catching. There is a lot more to it."

Duties include:

  • Handling animals for the purpose of investigations of mistreatment, or control of abandoned, dangerous, or unattended animals
  • Investigating cruelty cases
  • Testifying in court
  • Patrolling assigned areas for strays; impounding dogs, cats, and other animals
  • Receiving and responding to complaints and inquiries on the phone or in-person
  • Issuing citations, based on state and local laws
  • Explaining city ordinances
  • Quarantining live animals and retrieving dead animals
  • Issuing special animal permits and monitoring compliance
  • Assisting Animal Shelter personnel regarding assessment and vaccination of impounded animals

Click here to visit the Animal Control page on the city website .