An article out of White County Illinois tells of a story of an Animal Control Officer being fired. My best guess is the County Commissioners attempting to punish the officer for social media abuse; a frequent problem in our profession. As with many bureaucrats, they puff out their chests and proceeded to do the wrong thing.
This particular Animal Control Officer started extended the hold time for animals to get them adopted and asked volunteers to come in to provide socialization with the animals. The local bureaucrats wanted all of these programs aborted. Their actions hit a nerve with me, not just for the callousness toward the animals, but it sparked an old memory.
While going to college, over 30 years ago, I was the animal control officer for Pullman Washington. I worked under the Police Department. I had a good relationship with the Washington State Veterinary College and local media. Relationships that every animal shelter operator treasures.
The shelter was a small shelter and the adoptions were slow. I convinced the local newspaper to run a weekly pet of the week and show all of the animals at the animal shelter. One of the local councilman began following the pet list and discovered that many of the pets had been listed and relisted in the column.
The Police Chief paid me a visit and demanded that I stop holding animals and ordered me to euthanize every animal that was over its five day stray hold period, much like what is happening in White County. I was so angry. I returned to the animal shelter, had a good cry, and followed my orders.
I believe that the order was immoral, as are many mandates from bureaucrats. I had arranged for all of the shelter’s food be donated and the only cost to the City was the time I spent cleaning cages. Did I continue holding animals? Of course, but I knew that I had to be smarter. I would make small changes in the appearance of the animals in the newspaper article, so that the busy body councilman would not see the same animal listed twice.
The problem with many bureaucrats is that they fail to see that the animals in our care represent a life and all life is precious. Not a tool to bully their animal welfare staff and demonstrate their own self importance.