Question for the ACOs/Investigators

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Postby msvette2u » June 15th, 2006, 4:34 pm

Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of times when I felt that a dog needed to be seized but if I couldn't justify it by law, then I just couldn't - hands are tied.
Sad situations out there - one where a huge gorgeous St. Bernard, purebred dog, living in his own feces, I actually wrote them a ticket for not cleaning it up. He lives tied out to a dog house, that's his life. They have no fenced yard, and he's an accident waiting to happen. I'd love to take him and rehome him to someone who will love and cherish him. But the owners are providing housing, the dog house, food, obviously because of the crap there, and water.
Another situation where a gorgeous purebred f. boxer was always tied in the backyard, etc. Neighbor calls and says "Well they don't LOVE it" I told her it isn't required by law that you have to love the dog, but you do have to care for it. And with a lecture or two from me I got the gal on the right track but the dog eventually died from being tied up in the back yard and hanging or something, I forget. I was almost glad because although not ideal, the situation didn't meet the criteria for confiscating the dog, plus the gals' husband was in Iraq and you don't want to rush in and make life hell for her either...alot of losing situations go on that don't quite meet the criteria for seizing the animal, but are less than ideal, they just aren't quite breaking the law. IN that case at times we just need better laws, for instance, a law that states plainly that fecal material will be picked up daily, and one that limits the amount of time a dog can be on a chain (some states and municipalities have gone to 8hrs. max and then it has to be off the chain!) And often times I could get owners to comply just by being there and helping give them ideas or threatening to write tickets, depending on their acceptance of my "ideas" ;)
Anyway there's alot that goes into it and I realized right away that only in an ideal world, will a case be black and white. 99% of the time it's grey and the lines are blurred!
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Postby a-bull » June 15th, 2006, 8:11 pm

"How do you account for different views of what is "appropriate" housing, food, weight, exercise, etc? What you feel is adequate may be very different than someone else. Who has the final say in a case like that?"



That was the point I tried to make previously~

It's the aco or investigators job, using their states guidelines, to bring a case forward, but it is ultimately up to the prosecuting attorney in charge of the case to determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, and then it will ultimately be up to a judge.
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Postby Purple » June 15th, 2006, 8:29 pm

Great thread. I am thinking of pursuing an ACO education in PA, so keep the info coming!
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Postby a-bull » June 15th, 2006, 8:32 pm

What do you want to know?
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Postby Purple » June 15th, 2006, 8:44 pm

I just enjoy the reading.
I am still not sure if I want to pursue it, as I am really more interested in dogs and cats. I know horses and cows, I don't know birds and reptiles.
I am pretty sure an ACO's work would encompass all animals, not just the cats and dogs.
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Postby a-bull » June 15th, 2006, 8:48 pm

I'm guessing it depends on where you work in PA~

For example, you have here:

http://www.humaneleague.com/AboutUs/cruelty.html

Then you have here, which does seem to deal with cows, horses, etc.

http://www.agriculture.state.pa.us/agri ... p?q=126843


Not sure, though . . .
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Postby a-bull » June 15th, 2006, 8:49 pm

ooops, reverse those, above . . .
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Postby msvette2u » June 15th, 2006, 9:11 pm

Purple wrote:I just enjoy the reading.
I am still not sure if I want to pursue it, as I am really more interested in dogs and cats. I know horses and cows, I don't know birds and reptiles.
I am pretty sure an ACO's work would encompass all animals, not just the cats and dogs.

In my case, our municipal laws only covered dogs. But the state laws could cover any domesticated animal. But it was always preferable to use our city/municipal laws before state laws unless something occured that we had no laws for but it was obvious a state law was being broken.
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Postby bouvierz » June 16th, 2006, 12:38 am

Cruelty Investigator In NY State for the past 6 years my training includes-

Level I, II, And III Animal Cruelty Investigation School 40Hr each level Given by Code 3 and the University if Misouri and Columbia

Level I and II Cruelty Investigations in equine-40 hours each level

New York State Certified Peace Officer

Certified In Chemical Capture

Certified nusience WIldlife Trapper

Certified Euth Tech

I worked as an ACO for about 6 years

Seminars, seminars, seminars.

I also have a close relationship with many vets and dog trainers/ behaviorist and Im never afraid to ask a question :?

It's the aco or investigators job, using their states guidelines, to bring a case forward, but it is ultimately up to the prosecuting attorney in charge of the case to determine whether or not there is sufficient evidence to prosecute, and then it will ultimately be up to a judge
:goodStuff:

From an earlier post- yes ear cropping is still legal in the US, but they are working on getting rid of it :|
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Postby msvette2u » June 16th, 2006, 12:44 am

Coolness...I have considered getting a wildlife trapper license.
I'm certified in Chem. Capture and euth. tech too.
Only worked 3 years though - got another interview in a week and a half for another ACO position!
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Postby bouvierz » June 16th, 2006, 8:38 am

Vette- are ACO's and Cruelty Investigators the same in your area? Ive heard people refer to ACO's ... But in NY they are much different. Animal control does stuff like loose dogs, wildlife control, picking up unwanted pets, ect. I have a little saying which helps people understand the difference "ACO's protect the people from the animals, Cruelty Investigators protect the animals from the people"
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Postby DemoDick » June 16th, 2006, 10:22 am

Animal control does stuff like loose dogs, wildlife control, picking up unwanted pets, ect.


I've never seen an ACO deal with wildlife. The DEC does that.

I have a little saying which helps people understand the difference "ACO's protect the people from the animals, Cruelty Investigators protect the animals from the people"


Our ACO's do cruelty investigations all the time and will confiscate animals in neglect. I've been called in to assist with this multiple times.

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Postby msvette2u » June 16th, 2006, 11:00 am

In this area, ACOs do the cruelty investigations.
I've handled a few wildlife calls in the course of my duty when it was an emergent situation in which someone's health could be at risk if the situation was left to resolve itself and time was of the essence to the point where it would have taken too long to call one of the licensed wildlife people in.
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Postby Romanwild » June 16th, 2006, 11:56 am

I live in NYS and the ACO's in my area do animal cruelty investigations all the time. :|
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Postby bouvierz » June 16th, 2006, 1:18 pm

Demo Dick

Your talking about Rochester ?

because They do respond to wildlife calls. I worked there for many, many years.
The only time Ive ever had the DEC come out, execpt once many years ago when their was a coyote near hawkeye???? :| Ive been doing this since 1994 :D

Youve been called out to assist them because they legally have no power to remove a dog from the property, so they need a police officer to assist. (Im assuming your an officer) They have no police powers.Then we get a referal to look into the case ,which depending on the case can be a problem because they have removed or altered the evidence. (Its important as you know to have pics and documentation)

When I worked for Ras we never responded to cruelty complaints it always went straight to the Cruelty investigators.

As far as watertown goes??? Are they constables?
Id need more details.
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Postby DemoDick » June 16th, 2006, 6:06 pm

...talking about Rochester ?

because They do respond to wildlife calls.


We just had a bunch of deer get stuck in an enclosed area in High Falls and we ended up dealing with them (along with the DEC) because RAS don't do deer.

Youve been called out to assist them because they legally have no power to remove a dog from the property, so they need a police officer to assist. (Im assuming your an officer)


Not entirely accurate. We get called out to standby and keep the peace. I do have the auhority to confiscate animals, but I would refer a confiscation to a Humane Society Peace Officer in that case. Most people who neglect their dogs don't care when RAS takes them anyway. They just give them up.

When I worked for Ras we never responded to cruelty complaints it always went straight to the Cruelty investigators.


I've been on plenty of calls where RAS personnel did indeed conduct a preliminary investigation into potential cuelty cases (investigating that the animal has adequate food, shelter, water, mobility, etc.). They probably make the referral after the preliminary.

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Postby bouvierz » June 16th, 2006, 11:07 pm

Well deer are kind of a different story, what would RAS do with a deer? Years ago an Myself and another ACO responded to a deer call. She decided she would try to herd a doe out of a small opening in a fence and got kicked in the process. ( She broke her ankle) Im pretty sure thats when they changed policies about deer. DEC has the ability to use chemical capture so sometimes they reponded but if thats the senario im thinking of RPD had to put them down. I was called about some deer not to long ago, I believe it was on a weekend but before I could make arrangements to get out there the deer were already dead. The next time you see an ACO ask them about their powers and procedures (I swear I wouldnt steer ya wrong :D ) to remove a dog. They cannot just remove a dog from a property unless the dog is loose, the dog needs to be quarentined because of a bite (and the dog is not current on its RV) or they have RPD/ humane society sign off on the dog. If the people dont care about the dogs being removed thats a different story. I was the FTO that trained some of the ACO's that still work for RAS. I am very familiar with their procedures. WHen the city took animal control back over they changed their dispatching procedures. Dispatch now has RAS respond to cases where there may be an issue with cruelty, if their is they refer it to our department(I dont consider this as investigating but i guessit could be considered a preliminary one). Yes I know sometimes with RPDs assistance they remove the dogs (due to cruelty) but they dont have the ability to issue a notice to comply, notice of intent, vet slip and or arrest the person. Thats where we come in. To be honest with you some of the ACOs are great but there are others that somtimes give out wrong info to dog owners (or at least thats what they claim) This can cause havoc, because the Dog owners feel were pulling their chain or harrassing them. I would just much rather handle the case from start to finish, thats why I like to cover the outer counties and suburbs. No double dipping going on there. By the way Demo Dick do we know each other?? :|
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Postby Maryellen » June 17th, 2006, 10:29 am

the animal control officers in ny city have the authority to remove animals from homes if need be. different cities and states have different rules.
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Postby bouvierz » June 17th, 2006, 12:14 pm

Actually they cant, unless they have assistance from law enforcement. If your refering to the animal planet show??? They arent ACO They are Special agents for the police dept. (ive work with Annmarie Lucas) Their are some situations by law they can remove dogs, but not other animals.
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Postby msvette2u » June 17th, 2006, 12:24 pm

An ACO in our town and WA state cannot remove an animal without a search warrant. The only exception to this was if the animal was going to die immediately, ie., in a hot car on a summer day, or freezing to death with no shelter.
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