Pets are People Too: County gives new Kevlar vests for Animal Services Officers
By Jennifer Keene
Many people don’t realize that Washington County Animal Services Officers interact daily with one of the most dangerous and aggressive species on the plant – other humans. While a big part of their job is certainly capturing animals in order to hopefully reunite them with their owners, officers are also responsible for enforcing the Animal Services code. This puts them in the position of having tough conversations and sometimes making citizens face up to citations, fees and other consequences. Some people do get angry or respond with threatening or erratic behavior that can put our staff at risk in the course of doing their jobs.
Fortunately, all Animal Services officers in Washington County now have protective Kevlar vests to wear as part of their uniforms when they are out in the field, providing them with a greater level of protection. Manager of Animal Services, Randy Covey says, ““I’m so glad we’ve been able to provide this safety item for our officers. Animal Services Officers are often knocking on doors and responding to situations where they don’t know in advance what to expect. In addition to their training and skills at de-escalating tense situations, body armor is a common-sense response to safety concerns and will help protect them against the worst-case scenario.”
The vests mean carrying around extra weight, but they also lift some of the weight of concerns for our officers’ safety while they are out helping the pets and people of Washington County.
Officers pictured are (L-R) Tim Locke, Kelly Bowie, and Hoyt Stepp
For more information or if you have questions, go to washingtoncountypets.com. The Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter is located at 1901 SE 24th Ave in Hillsboro. The ASPCA also has a pet poison control page at aspca.org/pet-care/animal-poison-control.