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MunicipalIamA (Animal Control Officer working for a coastal city in California) AMA!

Feb 25th 2015 by SirOtterPop • 13 Questions • 432 Points

By request I am here from an ELI5 about pigeons that blew up.

Edit: The comments on the ELI5 post regarding the pigeons gained in popularity. Pigeons did not blow up. No pigeons were harmed

Q:

Where do you often find these dead pigeons?

A:

Dead pigeons are usually found in the streets like most dead animals. I do respond to many calls though at people's houses where they may have a dead animal or bird somewhere on their property.


Q:

Do you ever have to assist with euthanasia? If so, what is your opinion of a 'heart stick' method? There's a lot of controversy at my local shelter about this and there are a lot of rumors about how horrible these can go if it accidentally goes into a lung or something.

Do you ever have any moments that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, like you've done really good?
Also, thank you for the job that you do. Honestly, I could ride in a meat wagon and pick up dead humans off the road, but I'd turn into a giant vagina if I had to see sick or injured animals. Just can't do it.

A:

I forced my self to watch the stick method used to just get a taste of the real world possibility for some animals. The vets that work at the shelter expressed the harsh and unrealistic standards they are to abide by according to the state and I understand the circumstances that make it hard for them to abide by the standards. I have never met any professional in my field who didn't have the animals best interests at heart even in the process of putting them down.

A lot of my warm fuzzy feelings come in just the successful capture of injured animals and getting them to the appropriate rehab facility safely. Also reuniting families with lost dogs I pick up is pretty cool too.


Q:

IIRC, the stick method is puncturing the arteries/veins close to the heart and letting the animal bleed to death.

A:

I am trying to get verification with the mods set up but do to a very slow internet its proving very difficult but as long as they allow me to answer your questions while I work on the verification I will answer you.


Q:

Has your work affected you very much? (Dealing with sick, dying, and dead creatures)

Are you religious, or adherent to any faith at all? Do you think the nature of your job has affected your beliefs or their nonexistence?

A:

Great question, but no. I am a god fearing man but I am certainly not a by the book believer. More of an open to interpretation man my self. I understand the animal kingdoms natural order. I am ok with circle of life but if you are not ok with seeing suffering or injured animals whether wild or domestic this is not the job for you. You have to constantly remind your self that the few minutes of discomfort animals are put through in order to capture them could save their lives.


Q:

About how many pigeons per day (PPD) would you say you find while working?

A:

My PPD is relatively low. I pick up dead animals everyday but with such variety it could be a number of different animals. Pigeons specifically I'd say two or three a week that are dead is the average but some months we barely get any and others we get a lot. The season has a lot to do with it.


Q:

So you find an extremely injured, but alive wild animal. It's not going to live. Do you put it down, or risk capturing it?

A:

We are not authorized to perform euthanasia so we will always do our absolute best to capture the animal and transport it to a facility so that it can be put down humanely and most importantly end its suffering.


Q:

Is this AMA still happening? Says [removed].

A:

It should be still happening.


Q:

Do you enjoy your job? What would you say the best and worst things are about being an animal control officer?

A:

I definitely like my job. I wouldn't say love because its not my career goal. The best days are getting to reunite families with their lost dogs. The days that are not so great are dealing with the dead animals and the condition the bodies are in by the time I get to them. Some of the smells are truly undescribable.


Q:

How many animals do you find that have been beaten/abused by their owners?

A:

Very very very few. We get rare cases with hoarders that the condition of the house can be considered abuse but cases of intentional animal abuse is very very rare.


Q:

Papermate or Sharpie?

A:

Sharpie


Q:

I live in San Diego and almost 40 beagle puppies have recently been recovered from a hoarder's home. Everyone seems to want one, and I was curious how animal control decides who is best suited to adopt these adorable pups. Is it first come, first serve? Also, if someone is interested in adopting a certain breed of puppy, will the shelter take their number and call them when one comes in?

A:

In that case we would log each puppy into a local shelter. After a couple days the puppies would be available for adoption. A lot of rescue groups constantly monitor the dogs coming into local shelters and there's no doubt in my mind cute beagle puppies would be scooped up relatively quickly.


Q:

Thanks for the AMA! What animals do you have to deal with most commonly and have you ever been bitten/scratched/attacked on the job?

A:

I am one of the few that has yet to be bitten or scratched. We understand in our job its more of a matter of when not if.


Q:

What are the largest animals you've dealt with?

A:

I received calls from my dispatch to monitor activity of whales that were very close to shore. The largest animals I deal with more hands on would be seals dead or alive