Former Animal Control Officer USA

by Jon
(Collierville,TN, USA)

I worked for a shelter in West Tennessee for about four years. I became an Animal Control Officer because I was at a point in my life 39 years old where I needed to make a difference in something.

I have always brought home the local stray or fostered local wildlife that needed help. I was part of a great shelter that did a great job for the city I worked. I was also one of the officers that participated in putting animals down.

Shortly before I was laid off because of economic reasons from the city I had a break down in the clinic. We put down 9 dogs and 3 cats. One of the cats was a bite case. The protocol for a bite from a feral cat is to remove the head to be sent to the state for lab to test for rabies.

The staff in the clinic thought that was the reason for me breaking down. I tried to explain to my director that it was the fact that I felt we put a lot of animals down just for space. She was not very understanding.

I have had problems sleeping, eating, interacting with others and working at a job that I left to become an ACO! Habits that I picked up like drinking have increased and not going to work and random crying is a problem.

PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) — I don’t know. I’m just glad not to have to kill pets.


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Former Animal Control Officer USA

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Jun 30, 2011 Jon
by: Gail (Boston, USA)

Jon, I really feel for you. It must’ve been heartbreaking to see these deaths from your perspective. It’s very traumatic.

Although our shelter is no-kill, there are always exceptions. Just this week, we had to put down a pit mix we had high hopes for due to an unprovoked attack on the wife and child of adopters. Even now, the family grieves because they truly loved the dog, but he just couldn’t be trusted. When the husband pulled the dog off the wife, the pit still tried getting away to lunge at her. So sad. Volunteers at the shelter wept as did the adopted parents. Sometimes it just cannot be helped.

Please find someone to speak with who is familiar with that line of work. It may help alleviate your pain and distress. Good luck.

Jun 30, 2011 To Jon
by: Ruth

Hi Jon, I don’t know how some people can work with animals and not be affected by their deaths because I always was when vet nursing and some times memories still haunt me even years later.
It wasn’t the same job as Rescue work of course but still every day unwanted cats and kittens, dogs and puppies, were brought in to be killed for various excuses and there was no way to save them all.
It’s not something you can sit and talk about really because unless someone has been there and doing your job, they can’t understand how it can affect you.
You did the right thing to get out because the longer you stay, the harder it is, you feel you have to stay to try and make a difference.
But the sad truth is that no one can because while there are so many people ‘getting rid’ of animals when they become inconvenient to them, the deaths of too many will still go on.
Take care.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

Jun 30, 2011 You have my sympathy
by: Elisa

Please read this article I did. I can’t imagine what you go thru. I get stressed enough knowing I can’t save any more until some of my cats are placed. i’d go crazy if i had to watch them die.

Jun 30, 2011 Interesting
by: Michael

Hi Jon, I found your article interesting and distressing.

It looks like you do have PTSD as you suggest. And if you are suffering from that condition, I would not be at all surprised.

If you care about animals as you do, then it must be traumatic (especially over time) to kill companion animals routinely for no good reason other than it is part of the way things are done!

I find it traumatic and I am thousands of miles away.

I would find help if you can. Thank you for visiting and sharing.

Good luck.

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