Angela Strack is an animal control officer with the Blue Springs Police Department

Blue Springs animal control officers are well trained and nationally certified. Three full-time animal control officers serve the Blue Springs population of 55,000, who are allowed up to four adult pets per household. This number does not include litters under the age of six months.

After normal business hours one officer is always on call to handle animal emergency situations, such as when an animal is at the scene of an automobile accident or at a crime scene. In these situations, animals may need to be taken in for safe-keeping because they are injured or their owner is unable to care for them. In other situations, the animal may be dangerous and need to be safely contained.

The job of being a Blue Springs Police animal control officer requires patience, decision-making, and the ability to look for the cause of a concern. ACO’s regularly investigate animal bites, allegations of pet theft, as well as animal neglect or abuse. These emotionally charged issues often require the great patience of everyone involved.

With rabies on the rise in Missouri’s wild population, yearly vaccination of pets four months and older is vital. According to the Pasteur Institute in Paris, the word “rabies” in Sanskrit from 3,000 BC is “rabhas” and means ‘to do violence.’ In Greek it is “lyssa”; consequently, this family of viruses became known as “lyssaviruses.” Blue Springs animal control officers enforce vaccination against this ancient foe and have adopted the creed “to stand against the violent and protect the suffering.” Pet owners should closely supervise unvaccinated puppies when outdoors and avoid all contact with wildlife no matter how young. The Missouri Conservation Department is responsible for wildlife in the city and provides information about common backyard concerns.

Blue Springs ACO’s educate the public and promote the humane treatment of animals, but they differ from Humane Society Officers in that an ACO is a public health enforcement officer. Dog bite fatalities are on the rise nationwide. In 2007 there were 36 fatal dog attacks – up from 26 in 2006. These numbers do not include other causes of death during a dog attack such as heart failure.

Prevention is the driving force in public health and is the goal of Blue Springs Police Department ACO’s. The especially serious allegation of “dangerous animal” is not taken lightly, and if probable cause exists and the owner is found guilty during trial, this charge carries fines and jail time of up to 90 days.

Blue Springs Police Department ACO’s are trained and ready to respond to dangerous, difficult or unusual situations including everything from panicked livestock in the roadway, to a stray cat running at large with a licked-clean peanut butter jar stuck on its head to assisting a distraught owner whose pet snake has escaped. Blue Springs animal control officers continue to be the epidemiologist’s front line soldier in the war against rabies, West Nile and other biological dangers. With everyone’s help, Blue Springs can be made safer for people and animals alike. Blue Springs Animal Control can be reached at 816-228-0148.