Thursday, October 30, 2014

"Other Duties as Required"

So why is it that my Thoughtless Thursday posts always end up being "My Crazy Job" posts? I don't know, but for some reason it fits! This week's post stems from an incident that happened last Sunday. I was writing someone a ticket for his dogs being off leash on the beach. He had been drinking and was unreasonably angry (and probably a bit embarrassed) and started with the whole "I pay your salary" " and "Your job is to . . . " routine. (Two of my top ten Things to Say to Guarantee a Ticket, by the way.) I resisted the urge to bitch-slap the douche bag and gave him the usual response: "No, Sir. My job is to enforce all animal-related City ordinances, including the leash law." But it got me thinking. Perhaps some people really don't know -- or maybe don't want to know -- what my job actually is. I know some think it's like that show on Animal Planet. (It's not.) Others think that I'm "just a dog-catcher." Sometimes I wish it were that easy. Truth is, I do so much more. My regular duties include:
  • Assisting citizens with lost, sick, found or injured animals
  • Routinely patrolling the city neighborhoods, parks and beach front
  • Enforcing City leash, barking and clean up laws
  • Investigating dangerous dogs and dog bite complaints
  • Ensuring proper animal care and sheltering laws are adhered to by the public
  • Performing animal welfare checks
  • Investigating animal cruelty
  • Issuing warnings, citations and summonses pertaining to animal control and welfare
  • Impounding animals at large
  • Caring for animals in custody
  • Performing routine maintenance of the Animal Control vehicle and equipment
  • Maintaining records of citations, warnings, animal bites, animals taken into custody and cruelty investigations
  • Preparing cases for court

And then there's the clause on my job description that says "and other duties as required." That's the one that always bites me in the ass. Those duties have included:
  • Certified school crossing guard through the state of Florida (Yeah, that's a real "thing")
  • First responder (I patrol parks and the beach regularly and have discovered many situations that required PD and EMS; Yes, I am First Aid/CPR/AED certified)
  • Emergency Vehicle Operations training (I can serpentine backwards, in 4WD, in soft sand without knocking over the orange cones -- but not without swearing)
  • Euthanasia technician
  • Chemical capture (a.k.a. dart gun)
  • Writing newspaper articles and press releases
  • Appearing on the local news (hate that!)
  • Organizing and participating in community relations events for children and adults
  • Maintaining several City webpages
  • Public Notary
  • Designing new Animal Control citations
  • Attending City Council meetings
  • Educating City officials and local politicians
  • Appearing before the Code Enforcement Board
  • Teaching dog bite prevention to children
  • Developing and teaching the Animal Control unit for the Citizen's Police Academy
  • Researching and re-writing ordinances
  • Finding an interpreter for a deaf defendant (NOT easy)
  • Researching insurance policies and comparing them with City dangerous dog requirements
  • Departmental "go-for," picking up/dropping off equipment and vehicles all over the county
  • Plain-clothes beach surveys
  • Undercover vice decoy operations (essentially I pretend to be a prostitute and pick up johns)
  • Researching, hiring and assisting wildlife trappers for gators and coyotes
  • Accompanying PD while serving warrants (I grab the dogs, they get the bad guys)
  • Assisting Sea Turtle Patrol and Fish & Wildlife with dragging dead sea animals off the beach (trust me, ewww)
  • Catamaran counting (yes, I have to keep track of boats on the beach)
  • Developing an ACO Field Training Program
  • Training new animal control officers
  • . . . . and whatever the Chief thinks up next

Yep, I do a lot of weird and random things. It keeps life interesting. Unfortunately, it doesn't translate well onto a job application. HR sees "animal control officer," assumes I chase dogs, and then promptly throws me in the "not qualified" pile. *sigh* And my duties are so eclectic that it's difficult for me to articulate my computer, teaching, organizing, customer service and public speaking skills on a resume. I'm afraid I'm going to be an overworked, underpaid, unappreciated animal control officer for the rest of my life. (On the upside I'll have lots of Thoughtless Thursday material!)


Like I said, it's Thoughtless Thursday. Click around and see what others are sharing today. -- K

P.S. Craziest call of the week: I spent way too much time chasing down a pervert* who was exposing and pleasuring himself on the beach. At high tide. While families and other beachgoers were enjoying one of the last warm days of the year. Talk about ewww! Cops got him -- with the help of ACOs who called it in, provided a good description, rounded up witnesses and wrote official statements. Great job, yes, but how do you put that on a resume?!

[*Disclaimer: For legal reasons, I should say "alleged pervert." Our Constitution stipulates that he is considered innocent until a court of law proves he's a sicko bastard.]