Michelle Taylor brings a heart for animals combined with experience and safety training to the department, which was without a nuisance officer since January, said Police Chief Chris Carden.
“We are excited to have such a well-trained, experienced officer to help us with this difficult task that the department contends with daily,” Carden said. “Her knowledge of the laws concerning animals and her willingness to problem solve is welcomed and falls right in line with the department’s core values.”
Taylor, who was an animal control officer with the Montgomery Police Department for seven years, said the joy of her job comes in knowing she is helping animals and keeping the community safe from potential dangers.
“If there’s an animal that’s been running loose, it’s good to know that it has been taken off the street and put in a safe place where you don’t come back by and see the animal in extreme conditions as far as emaciated, starving or hit in the roadway,” Taylor said.
In addition to setting and checking traps and patrolling, Taylor handles multiple animal control calls daily about not only dogs and cats, but other wildlife like raccoons, snakes and possums. Taylor, who has two horses and three dogs at home, said she picked up 10 dogs, one kitten and one raccoon in the span of five days last week.
In most cases, animals are transported to the Animal Rescue Foundation, which contracts with the city to handle animal control. Taylor said the majority of the animals she picks up are adoptable and would make great pets.
“Everybody wants to adopt a healthy, loving pet, and there are lots that are here,” she said. “Some of the ones I’ve picked up out of the trap will make really good pets for someone, and this way they’re not digging in the garbage or wandering in someone’s yard.”
While the position entails other duties, Carden said Taylor is currently focusing only on animal control. He said the city looks to update its animal ordinance soon and possibly redistribute some of the previous nuisance duties to other areas.
“As the city moves to increase its ordinances and its ability to enforce those ordinances, Michelle will hopefully have a key role in that process and be able to offer insights and guidance from a new perspective,” Carden said.
The ultimate responsibility for animals, however, falls on the animal’s owner. Carden said owners should “spay, neuter and control your animal in line with what the ordinance requires.”
Along with general codes for other animals, the current city ordinance requires that dogs be kept “under restraint at all times.” Dogs not in compliance may be picked up by the police department and transported to ARF, Taylor said, where owners can pick them up for a fee.
Owners must also vaccinate dogs according to state law, have a valid rabies vaccination tag on the dog’s collar, keep them in humane conditions and control noise. The penalty for these and other animal violations is $15 on the first offense, $25 on the second and $500 or up to 30 days imprisonment on the third.
Access the city’s entire ordinance at: library.municode.com/HTML/14290/level2/CD_ORD_CH4ANFO.html.
Contact Emily Adams at email@example.com.