This week is National Animal Control Officer Appreciation Week. In honor of the hard work they do day in and day out, News 13’s Peyton LoCicero spent the day with an Animal Control Officer to see what its like.
“You have to be compassionate but, you have to be honest. You have to learn live within reality and don’t tell people what they want to hear. Tell them what they need to hear,” explained Officer David Merchant, Walton County Sheriff Office, Animal Control Officer.
There is a common misconception about Animal Control Officers that many of us probably learned from the cartoons that we watched as children. But, they are not the bad guys with the nets trying to snatch every animal they see.
“We have to be the mediator a lot of the times,” said Animal Control Officer Merchant.
Officer Merchant says, he wants to give a voice to the voiceless and protect the animals that can’t protect themselves.
“It just seemed like the right thing to do because you’re a help to an animal who has, a lot of times has no voice,” said Merchant. “In you know, where they are going to go or what’s going to happen to them.”
It’s not always puppies and kittens though.
“There are sometime when we have to step in and make a decision and convince people for their own good that there is a better way to handle a situation,” said Merchant.
After ten years of working as an Animal Control Officer, Merchant says he has seen it all but, there is one part that is his favorite. “…reuniting an animal with somebody out of town or out of state was always the most rewarding.
To all the animal control officers across the panhandle. News 13 says thank you for the service.