Q&A with the Animal Shelter: Animal Service Officers, what do they do?
What does an Animal Services Officer do?
This column often focuses on what happens inside our shelter, but we also have staff who spend their time out in the community. We refer to the work our Animal Services Officers do as “field services and enforcement.” This is another way we support the people and pets of Washington County!
Animal Services Officers are specially trained staff members who provide services that keep our community safe from dangerous dogs, help animals that are being harmed by people, and support our community in living peacefully with pets. They regularly patrol Washington County to enforce county codes related to animals and respond to a wide variety of animal-related calls from community members. They investigate abuse, neglect and abandonment of animals; respond to complaints about barking and loose dogs; enforce dog licensing requirements; and transport stray or injured animals to our shelter or other locations where they can receive care.
In many cases, our officers provide education to people who aren’t complying with the county code, with the goal of making the situation better for the animals involved and the neighborhood where the issue is taking place. Animal Service Officers can also issue citations to those not following the law. If the animal-related crime is severe, the officers can take the animal to the shelter for protection, and local law enforcement (such as a city’s police department or the Washington County Sheriff’s Office) may file criminal charges against the owner based on our investigation. Our Animal Services Officers are very careful about documenting evidence, as these cases can go to trial in front of a judge and jury.
The next time you see one of our Animal Services vehicles out and about, give us a friendly wave!
Each month, you will have the chance to have your questions answered by the animal shelter.
For more information on these topics and more, please visit www.WashingtonCountyPets.com or call us at (503) 846-7041. The Bonnie Hays Animal Shelter is located in downtown Hillsboro at 1901 SE 24th Ave. Email your questions to: Stacy_Beckley@co.washington.or.us