Animal control isn’t for the faint of heart. Chasing critters in 105-degree heat, getting zapped by a fence while saving a pair of pigs, and being attacked by three pit bulls have all toughened Angela Jones up over the last six years.
Angela is the City’s supervising animal control officer, and she is not the same timid person who used to wait for her husband at the time to come home and take care of a problem. “I was very meek; this job developed a different side of me,” she says. “Now I don’t wait for anybody. I handle the business.”
Except for spiders. When she calls her 13-year-old son to take care of another eight-legged crawler, he’ll say, “You catch rattlesnakes all day long. Why are you afraid of this spider?” To which she responds, “I can deal with aggressive dogs and rattlesnakes, but not spiders.”
HEART FOR ANIMALS
Despite the challenges, Angela says her job is rewarding because she gets to improve animals’ quality of life, whether saving a deer stuck in a fence or helping almost all 26 animals in a hoarder case find their forever homes. “There’s something about putting on this uniform. I treat it like a cape,” she says.
Angela is indeed a hero for animals in need, possessing a heart for the sick and the hurt that she has shown since she began taking in animals as a child. A nurturer by nature, she worked as an emergency vet tech for more than 20 years before an animal control job posting caught her eye. “After so many years of working in the ER with animals neglected or abused at the hands of humans, I wanted to be the person that gave them justice and a voice.”
Six years later, Angela is still doing just that. She has rescued cats who gave birth in a drainage ditch, recovered an escaped cow, and educated pet owners not to leave dogs in a hot car or tether them in their backyard, and to provide pets with adequate shelter and food. “No two days are the same.”
Some days are heartbreaking, such as when she has to deal with human and pet tragedies. “It’s why,” she says, “ultimately, animal control is a job that takes a special person, one that goes far beyond a love of animals.”
One of Angela’s goals is to develop school programs to help prevent animal bites and teach responsible pet ownership. She hopes to show kids what to do when a dog approaches and how to pet a dog properly. Older students should know how to take care of a pet and be prepared before taking home the “cute little kitten in a box,” which will end up being a 20-year commitment.
She also wants to change negative perceptions of animal control, which she’s often experienced when responding to an animal welfare call. “We’re here to help and of course, enforce animal regulations, but we’re also there to serve the public and the animals,” she says. “We’re protecting them.”