ACO Chief's Corner
6 October 2020
WHAT ABOUT ALL THESE HUNTING DOGS?
Fall, a time when leaves change, the temperature cools off, and hunting season begins. We have already seen more than a few field trials with dogs this month. You will see dogs out and about in our county to include on our roadways and sometimes in our yards. They are generally easily recognizable by the tracking and blaze orange collars that have a name and phone number tag. The dogs also usually come with that goofy, loveable, hound personality accompanied with the occasional BAROOOOO (read that in the saddest howl ever).
There is generally some confusion around this time about those loveable, long-eared rascals and what exactly they are allowed to do. I’ve got some handy info to share with you to clear some of that up and as always we are here to answer any questions you may have.
Dogs on personal property: Dogs do not recognize property boundaries and occasionally wander off track of where they are supposed to be. This is the reason for the tracking collars. Most of these dogs either find their way back to their humans or are located by their tracking collars when their humans round up their other pups and make the trek out of the woods. These dogs are working and must not be interfered with even when they are walking down the roadways.
It is a class 1 misdemeanor to remove a hunting dog's tracking collar per Virginia Code §18.2-97.1 and a class 4 misdemeanor to remove a hunting dog's collar per Virginia Code §18.2-403.3 (11). Do not confine or remove collars of hunting dogs. Hunters also can come onto your property to retrieve their dogs per Virginia Code 18.2-136. They must use the common access areas, leave their weapons in their vehicles, and present identification if asked. It is a class 5 Felony per Virginia Code §18.2-97 to deprive the owner of their dog, by not immediately notifying Animal Control of a found dog and/or keeping it, even in order to find it another home.
These are the most frequent questions and complaints. More information can be found on the Division of Wildlife Resources website - dwr.virginia.gov
3 July 2020
DISPATCH THE PUPPIES
That voice you hear on your phone when you are in desperate need of help. These men and women will get you the right help in a very short time. Their callers are never having a good day and though they cannot see what you are going through, they hear and feel every word. I have seen our dispatchers cry. I have seen our dispatchers take calls for their own family members and handle it with a level of professionalism that is unmatched, only breaking down when the call is finished. Then they answer the next call.
It is an understatement to say that their jobs are stressful. Whenever possible we try to provide some relief to that stress. Our dispatchers handle every call imaginable to include animal calls. When a call came in about two found german shepherd pups they were quick to dispatch animal control who was able to secure them. On the way to the animal shelter with these two friendly, energetic pups, the Chief made the decision to stop by the Emergency communications office to brighten the pups and dispatchers day. As you can see they both enjoyed the experience. I am convinced even the most stressful day can be made better by puppy snuggles, even if it is only for a few minutes. Snuggles were had by all. The puppies left to continue their journey to the animal shelter with high hopes an owner would be calling in soon to reclaim them.
Dispatch? Well, they answered the next call.
16 June 2020
It’s been a “wild” few weeks in Animal Control!
Chief Ellison was called to a residents home when they discovered a Great Blue Heron in their yard that was seemingly unable to fly. They were able to secure the bird in a large crate and offered it a bowl of water while waiting for Animal Control to arrive. When Chief Ellison arrived the Heron had perked up dramatically. After seeing that the bird could extend and use both wings and had no obvious injuries it was determined the bird may have just become exhausted and dehydrated. He was safely released in the same area where he promptly flew away without so much as a thank you.
Deputy Bouchard was called to assist an Osprey that had been injured. The osprey or more specifically the western osprey (Pandion haliaetus) — also called sea hawk, river hawk, and fish hawk — is a diurnal, fish-eating bird of prey with a cosmopolitan range. It is a large raptor, reaching more than 60 cm (24 in) in length and 180 cm (71 in) across the wings. It is brown on the upperparts and predominantly greyish on the head and underparts.
This particular Osprey had received it’s injuries well before he was discovered. Deputy Bouchard transported the Osprey to a licensed rehabber. Unfortunately he did not survive his injuries but thankfully did not have to suffer further pain.
Chief Ellison was called to a local Marina when guests found 7 baby Opossum with their deceased mother. If you know our Chief you know these are her favorite critters. They are our only marsupials and are natures cleaning crew, eating not just deceased wildlife but ticks by the pound and other bugs as well. The lucky 7 were transported to our rehabber where they are expected to grow well and be released.
As always we prefer to keep our wildlife wild and our citizens happy. If you have a wildlife conflict we recommend checking out the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries webpage. They have loads of solutions to help you live peacefully with our wild friends.
We give many thanks to our awesome Wildlife Rehabber who takes in a plethora of animals in need. Rehabbers do this on their own time and out of their own pocket after taking a ton of classes to become a certified rehabber. We are very fortunate to have a great rehabber in our county!
25 May 2020
CHIEF TALKS ABOUT PETS IN VEHICLES
AHHHH summer is upon us! After long days in our homes due to COVID-19 we are all ready to break out and enjoy some sunshine! I’m sure all of our pets are ready to get out and about as well. However, there are some dangers associated with pets and summertime fun. Most notably leaving your dog in a car. Animal Control Deputies have already responded to multiple calls for dogs left in vehicles on the warmer days we have had. A good rule to follow is if the temperature is 70 or above outside, leave Rover home. If Rover must come with you, you will need to leave your vehicle running with the air conditioning on. No, cracking the windows is not acceptable nor does it slow the temperature rise in the vehicle. Please see the info below to keep your pets healthy over the hot summer days.
Dogs left alone in cars in even mild heat are at risk for heatstroke, a serious condition that can result in organ damage and even death. Many pet owners are shocked to find out just how fast the temperature can rise in your car. This chart shows the dramatic difference that even 10 minutes alone on a hot day can make. According to PetMD.com, dog body temperatures above 103° F (39° C) are abnormal, while 106° F (41° C) or higher is typically associated with heatstroke.
Even leaving the windows open does little to affect these high temperatures, according to a study by the Louisiana Office of Public Health.
The best way to keep your pet safe in this situation? Leave them at home, where air conditioning, fans and shade can offer them a retreat from the heat.