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I'm an Animal Control/Welfare Officer AMA

21 replies

psicat · 15/07/2018 07:50

I've been doing this for over 15 years, hopefully would be able to help with any questions Smile

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TatterdemalionAspie · 15/07/2018 09:50

How do you cope with the awful ways in which people treat animals? You must see some horribly distressing things?

psicat · 15/07/2018 14:45

Sadly yes and not just the animals, often of course children and vulnerable adults are involved.

You deal with the job at the time and think about it afterwards - most of the time but some ones do get to you. There are cases years later that I get choked up just thinking about . There are lovely people out there though and you have to remember those to offset the horrible ones

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Jaxhog · 15/07/2018 14:47

If you see a neglected cat e.g. matted fur, very thin etc. what should you do?

Spudlet · 15/07/2018 14:52

LA, charity or other? Being a bit nosey as I was in a similar line of work, though doing a different type of role.

Do you do large animals as well as small?

psicat · 15/07/2018 15:38

Local authority Smile, I do everything!

Neglected cats - does depend on location, RSPCA is nationwide so first port of call, some local authorities may help but increasing cutbacks mean anything non statutory is cut. If a stray cat then cats protection can usually help

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Spudlet · 15/07/2018 16:20

You guys do a tough job, good on you. Smile

squashyhat · 15/07/2018 16:38

The RSPCA has a bad reputation on MN. I have only contacted them once (about some horses in a field full of scrap metal and rubbish - they didn't respond) but what's your experience of them?

Coffeethrowtrampbitch · 15/07/2018 16:49

Could you give me some advice on my situation? A neighbour has stolen my cat.

I was warned by the SSPCA she may try to about 6 months ago as they had called them out to claim the cat as a stray and have the microchip changed into their name.

SSPCA returned her to me and advised me to get a collar for her, but her collar was removed and she hasn't been home for weeks. When I have visited the neighbour's house she was abusive, but according to one of her neighbours is feeding our cat daily. The last time I saw our cat she looked unwell and had gained lots of weight.

Should I contact the SSPCA, or the police? I don't want to waste the time of either but I'm really concerned for the cat's welfare.

Thank you for any advice you might have.

Jaxhog · 15/07/2018 17:03

I've always found the RSPCA to be very helpful. Maybe it varies from area to area?

Contact the SSPCA to make sure they don't try to change her chip again. Contact the police because icats are property, and this is theft. They probably won't do anything, but you need them to log it in case of a dispute.

Can you get a cat basket and just go and get the cat? Keep her in doors for a while, so she gets used to you again (cats are creatures of habit) and lavish her with affection and the best food. And take her to the Vet for a check up.

Spudlet · 15/07/2018 17:58

OP, I hope you won't mind if I offer an opinion on Squashyhat's question?

I used to work for an equine charity, so had a bit of experience with the RS. I would say that the majority of people who work for them are as dedicated as anyone else on welfare. However, there is sometimes a lack of specific equine expertise (after all, the inspectors have to deal with everything) and like all the rest of us they are rushed off their feet. As a result things can fall through the gaps. That said they're often the only ones who will take a prosecution forwards and it's a bloody good job that they're there, IMO.

However, for horses you are better off calling an equine specific organisation. World Horse Welfare have field officers, the BHS can take welfare calls, Redwings will advise. Others do their bit too.

On the equine side there was certainly a lot more coordination when I moved away from the sector than there was when I started and I would imagine that's still the case - RSPCA very much included. And LAs too - we do try and work together where we can (IME).

Hope that helps and that you don't mind me offering a perspective, op!

Actually I have a question too - do you get much fly grazing in your area, and if so are things better or worse since the Control of Horses Act? Or no different?

psicat · 15/07/2018 18:28

Coffee - jaxhog beat me to it ๐Ÿ˜‰ log with police as could be considered theft but they will probably say its civil...
You can contact your microchip company and ask them to put a note on your account about it.
And yes, cats are fickle creatures. Get him in and keep him in with favourite food for a bit.

We don't have a lot of fly grazing problems our way but! We have a zero tolerance policy so as soon as any turn up we serve notice and mean it! Word soon gets around and it goes quiet again for a bit

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psicat · 15/07/2018 18:44

RSPCA - I know they get a lot of stick but people really don't realise the pressure they are under, the huge amount of cases they deal with and the legal restrictions they have to consider. Are there rubbish members of staff? Yep but they are few and far between - plus name me any organisation of that size that has 100% perfect people. Unfortunately the political pressures on them are getting worse and there a couple of solicitors who will deliberately take on a case against the RS to try to tarnish them as much as possible - even when the perp is bloody evil. Those higher up in the society are getting more nervous about taking cases further because of it, its very costly to prosecute especially when you have a defence solicitor using every dirty trick to spin it out as far as possible to cost the society money.
I work closely with our local inspectors, maybe I'm lucky but ours are very knowledgeable about horses Wink

I think sometimes public believe we/the RS can do something where legally we can't - it's hard to walk away from a disgusting house where you know the dogs aren't being walked, or being kept in unsuitable accommodation or the pony or the cat or the snake... There are plenty of people that skirt just along the line of what is legally acceptable (way past morally acceptable...) and they are the frustrating ones, where you can't do anything but wait, watch and hope they slip up. It's a bug celebration when you get those people though Grin, I've waited years on some!

We and the RS always try education first where possible unless too severe of course - usually its banging head against a wall but have had marvellous wonderful occasions when you go back and things are just what you asked or you really help someone that was stuck and didn't know how to get out. You really cherish those moments

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psicat · 15/07/2018 18:44

Big not bug celebration...

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twoheaped · 15/07/2018 18:48

Is it in your remit to inspect boarding kennels and home boarders for licensing purposes?

psicat · 15/07/2018 18:54

Yes I do everything ๐Ÿ˜

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psicat · 15/07/2018 19:01

Sorry must have hit the wrong button, not sure what that emoji is meant to mean!

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MsBagelLady · 17/07/2018 18:41

Do you only save a few species and eat the rest?

psicat · 17/07/2018 20:14


I deal with all animals, all their welfare is important.

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MsBagelLady · 17/07/2018 20:35

Are you vegan or at least vegetarian?

MsBagelLady · 17/07/2018 20:43

Because I fail to see how anyone who supports the killing of animals for people's pleasure could have any interest in animal welfare, unless you just mean the welfare of pets.

psicat · 17/07/2018 21:08

Hmm No, I'm not a vegan. I believe passionately about animal welfare for all animals. I am a member of the humane slaughter association, am extremely fussy about where I get my meat from - to include how born, raised and slaughtered and do not take such things lightly. Animals reared for food must be kept in the best possible ways and slaughtered humanely without pain or fear (you will probably state this is not possible but having been next to animals when taken into the killing floor and stood next to them at that point - and considering the scientific research I am satisfied it is. Correctly done I saw no distress in the animal - but I have seen plenty in "pet" animals being Pts). I have a huge distaste for factory farming and find the dairy industry to be some of the worst of it, which many members of public are not aware of.
And what's a pet? I have livestock pets myself and lots of friends who have animals that bred for meat which are now pets.
I am happy to go into a discussion about this but that's more appropriate on a different thread - and if I'm honest I don't feel that you are interested /will listen to any response with how you have worded your questions. You appear to have already made up your mind regarding that - and that is your perogative and I respect your choices regarding what you eat but I have my own thoughts and decisions based on my knowledge and understanding of the subject.
I know AWOs who are vegan and plenty who aren't, it does not make any difference as to how you do your job or treat the individual animal. I do not favour any species and don't know any officers who treat livestock any different to house pets.

I do know officers who are scared of certain species (eg snakes) but again, they don't treat them any differently or let it compromise the animal's welfare.

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