Animal Control Hires New Officers

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By Kirt Ramirez

Long Beach’s Animal Care Services (ACS) has hired new field officers to handle calls for service.

The agency – formerly known as Animal Control – filled several field officer positions recently. Field officers help injured wildlife and domestic animals, rescue pets locked in hot cars during the summer, do inspections, issue citations, pick up dead animals and perform other related duties.

Asked on Dec. 21 if there was a shortage of officers, ACS Bureau Manager Staycee Dains said through email: “Yes, we have five vacancies, and are in the process of filling them. We are making employment offers and hope to onboard the new officers soon.”

Dains said no former officers were laid off but they resigned for other reasons.

“Officers have left due to moving out of area, and/or going into different kinds of work (not animal related),” she wrote.

Dains added Dec. 21, “We currently have 10 officers available to respond to calls for services, 7 days a week, and for emergencies during times we are closed.”

She noted, “We had approximately 13.5 officer positions (part time are counted as ½ position) available to respond to calls for service in the field.”

Regarding the field officers’ shifts, Dains wrote Dec. 21: “Saturdays are usually staffed with officers as follows, at this time: Two officers in the morning to afternoon, two officers in the afternoon to night time, one officer on graveyard.”

Dains updated the job situation through email on Dec. 27 that the vacancies have been filled: “The recruitment has already been completed, interviews conducted and selections made.”

Meanwhile, a dead opossum – almost looking alive – was called in to ACS on Saturday, Dec. 18 just before 7 a.m. A reporter found it in the street and picked it up with a sheet and placed the sheet-containing animal on the lawn in front of his residence in the Second District.

The fresh animal must have been hit by a car but did not have any visible injuries. It looked like it was sleeping. A dispatcher would send a field officer out to collect the animal.

Noon had passed and it remained on the grass, now with visible fleas crawling on the white parts of the fur. The reporter called ACS at 12:40 to get an update on the call for service. The dispatcher said there was only one officer on duty that day and dead animals are a low priority and that injured animals come first.

The friendly dispatcher said the agency takes calls for service seriously and an officer would get out there as soon as possible.

Manager Dains looked into it the number of workers for that day and later said through email, “My schedule shows there were 3 field officers scheduled to work on Saturday, Dec. 18th.”

Long Beach ACS also covers Seal Beach, Los Alamitos, Signal Hill and Cerritos.

The black fleas continued crawling and hopping on the animal that Saturday.

At 3:44 p.m. an ACS truck pulled up. A cordial officer took the dead animal and placed it in a large, black, plastic sack.

The reporter mentioned the fleas to her and offered to take the sheet and throw it away for the officer. But she kindly insisted on putting the sheet in its own bag and disposing of it herself, to be safe, as flea-borne typhus was on the increase in Long Beach. The woman wished the reporter happy holidays and went on her way.

The total wait for the officer to arrive was close to nine hours.

ACS Manager Dains was asked through email: “A dead animal was called in at 7 am but an officer didn’t arrive until almost 4 p.m. by which time many fleas were jumping on the animal. Is this acceptable?”

Dains responded, “Yes. Same day pick up of a reportedly deceased animal is not typical. The typical removal time for a dead animal is several days, usually 3, depending on the location.”

Dains added, “Dead animals are not attractive to fleas. Fleas begin to leave an animal after it has died because the body temperature of the animal drops and fleas do not feed off of dead animals.”

She provided a resource on the flea topic at https://fleascience.com/flea-encyclopedia/life-cycle-of-fleas/adult-flea...

The reporter gently insisted, “There is no question that it was covered in fleas and that the fleas were crawling/jumping. The officer and I both saw this and this is why she placed it in the sack for me, as flea-borne typhus has increased in Long Beach.”

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