Sedalia Animal Control Officers are helping kids learn how to better care for pets, stay safe around animals and how the officers have expanded from the traditional role of “dog catcher” to meet the needs of the community.
“We are not police officers. It is our job to protect the animals and the citizens of Sedalia,” Smith said. “Whenever you hear the term ‘dog catcher,’ I want to let you know we deal with snakes, we deal with cats, horses, cows, whatever is legal inside city limits. We do work at the police department. We are part of the police department.”
More than 30 students at The Kid Konnection Daycare and Pre-school attended the demonstration as part of the facility’s animal awareness program. The kids explored the tools of the trade of animal control, such as catch poles, cat catchers, harnesses, chemical spray, Tasers and muzzles.
“They are doing an animal awareness month and it helps them to learn how to take care of an animal and it also helps them learn that if they see something going on that we need to know about, they know who to call,” Smith said.
Every day the animal control officers go to work and answer any calls of animals at large and, unfortunately, animals being abused. The officers asked the kids what they thought the most common type of call was and they answered correctly: dogs.
“Dogs being loose, dogs not having water or shelter, dogs being in hot cars, they call us for that all the time and you’re right,” Smith said.
As temperatures are climbing quickly with the peak of summer, the officers also gave the kids some hot weather pet safety tips.
“Give them plenty of water and shade,” Smith said. The officers also informed the kids to stay away from stray animals they do not know, to take pets to the vet on a regular basis, and demonstrated different types of collars that are more animal friendly.
“We learned that they don’t hurt the animals and that they take care of them,” said Avery Bredehoeft, a student at Kid Konnection.
In addition to the demonstration by the animal control officers, the kids at Kid Konnection will be touring the Sedalia Animal Shelter later in the week.
“It’s something interesting for the kids to learn about, they all love animals,” said Kid Konnection owner Dawn Compton. “We went to the vet Monday. We are trying to keep them busy so that they have a fun summer and they learned some things that can help keep them safe. We have a different theme every week and this week is animals.”