More than Just Dog Wardens

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Photo by Lester Smith

Photo by Lester Smith Animal Control Officer Ryan Selig offers a treat to Ash, one of the two dogs in Suffield’s pound on February 21. Officer Selig said he thought Ash was a retriever mix. The friendly pup had been picked up loose in East Granby, and an adoption has been arranged.

Suffield has two part-time animal control officers, who also provide services to East Granby. Mark Blackaby, a long-time Suffield resident, has been on the job for almost three years; he covers the 10 to 2 half-shift, and Ryan Selig, from Windsor, was hired last year; he works 2 to 6. Both have other jobs: Blackaby as a lawyer and Selig as a dog trainer. Both say they took the animal control job because they like the work.

The animal control function is part of the Suffield Police Department, and the animal control officers, armed and equipped for the job, are trained and certified for their position. Outside of their scheduled shifts, immediate activities that may be required are handled by police officers.

When pets are picked up, some can be identified easily from their tags, and some carry embedded chips that can be read with a hand-held device. Others are advertised in the Journal Inquirer and listed on Facebook and the Petfinder website. After a legally required wait of seven days, efforts are made to find an adoptive family. Blackaby was happy to report that for the last several years, the adoption rate has been 100 percent. Lacking adoption, the next step would be euthanasia.

Selig reported that six dogs had been picked up in the first three weeks of February. He said one had recently been reconnected with its owner; an adoption had been arranged for another and one more was still in its run, awaiting an unknown fate. The Suffield pound has 12 runs.

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