Driving around the residential neighborhoods of Rim country, you can almost always see someone walking their dog. On nearly every desk in the Roundup office, staff members have pictures of their beloved canine family members. We even have a park especially for dogs, thanks to the Paws in the Park organization.
Our humane society is full of caring staff and volunteers who deeply care about the animals they shelter. Given the emotional way we as a community feel about animals, it is incumbent upon our county officials to hire an animal control officer who respects animals.
As evidenced by our story on the death of a Great Dane named Tonto, this is not the case. The animal control officer's own words state that the dog "ended up strangled on the catchpole." Not only does this statement make little sense, but it shows that this officer takes no responsibility for his involvement in the death of this animal. Someone was at the other end of this instrument -- the end that controls the tightening and twisting of the noose that led to the dog's collapse and subsequent death.
Animal control officers have a great deal of public contact, and nothing could be more traumatizing than to witness the kind of brutality which only comes from someone who has no empathy or compassion for an animal.
Dealing with an occasional aggressive dog can be a tough and dangerous job. Yet someone with compassion knows who's most often to blame for a dog's temperament and that knowledge determines how that animal will be treated.
Effective training for animal control officers is crucial, but it will not endow a sudden respect for animals if it was never part of their value system to begin with.