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Old 01-12-2008
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AllyCat AllyCat is offline
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Default *UGH*

Even though I don't post alot, I do come to the baords quite often and enjoy reading people different views, opinions and feelings on the beloved profession that we call Animal Control/protection.

I can not think of any other job that I want to do. I feel that this is what I was meant too do. Something that I feel most comfortable at.

I have to vent though. Something that has been on my mind way to long. I love my job and as I stated above would not want to do anything else. My problem is the hostle, high school games working shelter enviroment. And I am the outsider and that is made clear.

I go in everyday with a professional outlook and give 150% to every aspect of the job. For whatever reason they think that I do nothing and treated poorly. I am treated like crap. Along with the snooty looks, snooty comments and just blantly ignored (seriously) and I am very tired. Emotionally and physically.

I won;t let them win and won't quit. they would live this. I love my job too much to let it go.

Why does the AC world have low-turnover rates (here anyway)? *Sigh*

I don't know what to do. Somes days it's hard to get up.

Last edited by AllyCat; 01-12-2008 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 01-12-2008
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Gosh, I'm sorry to hear that. Maybe it's time to stop that behavior by dealing with it as it occurs. Stop them when they are treating you poorly and right out ask them why they are treating you in that manner. Sometimes people just don't realize they are doing it, it's ingrained in their personality (albeit a sucky personality at that). Making them conscious of their behavior and how it makes you and others feel may be the first step to improving the workplace relationship. Good Luck.
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Old 01-12-2008
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Trust I have gone that route. I just get the rolled eyes and they walk away from me. Or I get a snooty remark. I have spoken to the high ups about it and how I am disrespected and insulted as a empolyer and person in general, that while yes I am told things will change, nothing ever does. It is not even brought to the indiviuals attention.

We have a code of conduct binder, that they (higher ups) wrote up and they don't even follow it.

I wish a AC position opens up in a few shelters around here. I LOVE my job, but it's very tiring emotionally, when you feel uncomfortable when in the shelter. You know the feeling when you are not wanted around.

The only reason why I have not left is because 1) I LOVE the shelter itself, and the majority of our polices and precudures for the animals. 2) which is really tied with number 1, is the Animal Control profession. I have work too hard and too long for get in this field..to be pushed out. And 3) I will only work in a few animal shelters here (due to their policy and precudures for the animals) that I will work for. So far, no openings at this time.

Sorry to sound depressing.

Last edited by AllyCat; 01-12-2008 at 03:21 PM.
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Old 01-14-2008
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I just started posting here but have been in the field a long time--ten plus years. I feel your pain. I've been through many organizations both private, public and shared services. People just can't seem to get past their egos. I don't exactly think it's specific to this field. I do think though that the super-charged emotional environments that we work in make these particular situations ten times harder to bear. This is a personal field. We deal with life and death daily--we deal with lives daily, not merchandise. If your co-workers don't want to work with you towards common goals (duh, we're all doing this for the same reason supposedly!) then write them off, do your job and know that the animals appreciate it. It's the only thing that's kept me going through all the petty fights, public scrutiny and heartache. I know it sounds trite but keep a smile and a positive outlook and you will make a difference. When you get down think of the terrific things about doing this job and it'll be a good reminder of why you got into this field.
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Old 01-15-2008
okaco okaco is offline
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Default Just do your job

I was in a situation similar to yours, although there are only 3 in our dept. I just came to work on time, did my job and let them wonder what I was thinking. I just told them that I wasn't here to make friends. I already have friends!! That really shocked them that I wasn't going to play their grade school games. That made them want to get to know me, even though I wasn't kidding when I said that. I was also observant to what was going on. Now, one of them is gone (good riddance) and the other one is one of my best friends. Hang in there. It will get better. If it doesn't, just remember, you're there for 8 hours. Do your job and earn respect.
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Old 01-15-2008
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AMEN to that!
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Old 01-18-2008
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I went through a similar situation. I'm a veterinarian in NJ who recently elected to become an ACO as well. I signed on as a shelter veterinarian (apart from owning my own practice). The ACO was right out of school. I had 18 years experience working with animals. Both the ACO and I are about the same age. I thought we had hit it off pretty well since we both seemed to care for animals and had the best interest of the animals at heart (or so I thought). I went out in the field to help (teach) him how to capture dogs-at-large. The municipality caught wind of this and were afraid of the liabilities if I was injured. I was told to stay away from going on the calls with the ACOs (a second ACO was hired about 3 months after the first; he also was right out of school - the younger ACO). I understood about the liabilities but it is really hard for a veterinarian to stay away from the scene if the vet. knows that there is an injured animal and the ACO is calling for help. I tried to explain this to the municipality to no avail. I managed to stay away most of the time. There were a few instances where the younger ACO was either inexperienced and I was afraid he might get hurt or he did become injured and I felt that I had to break a rule to help him. (For instance, a dog got away from him in front of my hospital. Even though I was told not to enter the ACO van, the ACO was flat on the sidewalk, face down with the dog by his neck screaming in pain and I felt I had to break that rule at the time to get him a leash to restrain the dog.) It was almost like a double-standard. The ACOs (both are men) could do no wrong; I (a woman) was always in the wrong no matter what I did. If I followed the rules and someone got hurt or the animal did not get the proper attention because the municipality would not allow it, I was blamed. If I broke the rule, and everything went right, I was still blamed for breaking the rule. I would be told by the Head of the Department of Health that a policy was one way, but the ACOs would tell me that the policy was told to them completely the opposite of what was told to me. I had to work with the ACOs directly and we had to trust each other since we were often working in very dangerous situations. (I certified the younger ACO in euthanasia; as his trainer, I often went with him to the shelter to observe and deliver the drugs since the shelter did not have its own DEA license. There were a few situations where I had to give him the tranquilizer while I pinned down some of the aggressive feral cats that we were not able to get with the syringe pole; he would sometimes come within inches of my hands with the drugs. I did the potential bite/restraint situations since neither ACO is rabies vaccinated; I am since all vets. are required to be vaccinated before attaining a license in this country.)

I cared for both men as if they were my younger brothers. I did not realize at the time that one (the older ACO) was sexually harassing me. He was using me to get supplies from the hospital such as free room and board. (I told the DOH that I would keep the sick animals at my hospital at no extra charge other than the initial exam and the cost of the drugs since the shelter did not have a good isolation room.) Some of these animals were in my hospital for over 2 months. He refused to pick them up; legally, I could not take them back to the shelter since they needed to be transported in the ACO van by state law. Did I transport some of the animals? Sure did. I had no choice. I kept complaining about not having the room for my patients since the shelter animals were occupying all of the cages. I only purchased this hospital about 4 years ago; it takes a veterinarian about 6 years to break even from the purchase of a practice. The Township (at the most) paid me $900 for about a month's service; this included all of the food, medications, services, etc. I was actually working at a loss.

When I told the ACO to stop the harassment; things started to get nasty. He had a rude attitude towards me. He took credit for everything that went right and blamed me for everything that went wrong. He talked to my staff members behind by back and got them to lie to me about the conditions of the shelter animals so that I would keep them at the hospital longer. (In all fairness, I believe that he thought if the animals - all cats - went back to the shelter, they would be euthanized for lack of room; but he did not realize what the risks were to my patients and my staff to have unvaccinated animals in a hospital setting.) Eventually, he had my contract with the Township terminated when he neglected a kitten by failing to realize the kitten was ill and covered in fleas. The kitten presented weighing 0.6 lbs when he should have been 1.4 lbs. He was anemic and covered in diarrhea. A simple flea powder treatment and deworming would have prevented this kitten's condition. I managed to save the kitten only to have my contract terminated the next day due to threatening to have to report this as possible animal abuse to the State. (There had been other instances where the ACO had been negligent and the Township or I covered it up. I covered it up since this system of having the two ACOs rather than a private organization was better than what we had previously.) He betrayed me and had my contract terminated the same night. They also "titled" him so that he could not be fired. Mind you, State of NJ laws require that an ACO has 1 year experience before being allowed to run a shelter by him/herself. At the time the shelter inspectors came to pick up the animals from my hospital, there were 25 shelter animals at my hospital when I only had 13 cages.

The ACO was "pissed" to put it lightly, that the animals were being returned to the shelter. He gave me grief and made a few threats. I had already taken my first ACO class in which laws had been taught so I gave him back some of the rules regarding people's rights and trespass laws regarding ACOs coming onto others properties without permission. I basically, banned him from coming onto my property without probable cause; unless there is a true medical emergency, I do not have to see him.

This ACO came back to my practice on December 4th (about 3 months after the contract was terminated). I was about two weeks short of being certified as an ACO. He tried calling me first; I would not answer since it was after hours and I was no longer obligated to help him. He tried 3 times then showed up at my practice banging on the door. He was dressed in full uniform; the ACOs in my town do not dress in this manner typically after hours since they are usually being called in from their homes and do not have time to change clothes. He was polite; he needed me to identify a dog with my hospital's rabies tag on it. The dog also had a license on it so this was not an emergency; the dog could have been identified in the morning.

So, what is your opinion? I spoken to a few ACOs who know me and a few friends. During the time of the harassment, the ACO sent me a picture of himself in a guinea T-shirt with a quote of "Hey Doc - It's (his name)- Don't get too excited." He kept calling me "muscles" when he found out that I was beginning to lift weights. (I developed bacterial meningitis this year after a dog bite and was a little weak in my arms.) The ACO came in full uniform, knowing that I was a little attracted to him before. (I told him that I wanted a professional relationship for two reasons: 1. We have to work together; 2. He is separated from his wife and I do not date married men. That is when my troubles began.) I went to the DOH meeting this month to try and clear up some of the problems. I told them that I do not want the shelter job back but I also do not want him coming around my practice after hours. If he finds a dog with my i.d. tags, call my hospital and my staff will help him. If he has a true animal emergency, I will help the dog/cat. Otherwise, stay away. The DOH has not come up with a decision on this. I feel that I have no choice but to talk to my lawyer and try to either get his certification revoked for improper conduct or at least get him terminated from his position. (The only reason he got the job is because his mother works for the Township.) All I wanted was for him to leave me alone but he keeps coming around for stupid reasons. I think he came in December either because he needs something and he wanted to manipulate me or he is attracted to me and is trying to play around with my feelings to see if I would come around after 3 months. The problem is that the biggest turn-off for me is someone who would harm an animal and not admit that it was an accident. If you cannot admit you made a mistake, this means to me that it was intentional or you have no conscious of what you are doing.

What would you do? I feel that I am betraying my fellow ACOs if I file charges against him, but this is not the first animal that he hurt. There are at least two others since my contract was terminated that I know of that he either ignored or hurt. The Township tried to cover it up but this is a relatively small town and word-of-mouth is a good means of communication.
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  #8  
Old 01-19-2008
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ksbirdhse ksbirdhse is offline
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Hello, and welcome to the board.

Ok, my opinion on your situation?

1. Stay away from the shelter and these ACO's. Maintain a professional relationship at all times. Follow ALL protocol for treating animals as if it were written in stone. Dont allow them access to your DEA license/drugs. Document. Document. Document. Document.

2. Stay away from the ACO in any type of personal relationship that is married. Have your staff run interference and handle all communication for you. Treating the animals should not include this person on any level. As far as animal abuse, did that kitten come in underweight and sick, or did the ACO cause it? If you dont know, then you cant hold him accountable. If you have documented proof that he injured or violated any law that caused some animal harm, and it meets the criteria by law for animal abuse, who he is should have no impact on you doing the right thing. He is no "brother" of mine in this field if he abused an animal. But I wouldnt turn in anyone without first hand knowledge. Someone who would lead you on, or flirt while in a committed relationship would eventually do that to you also, or may spread rumors that will eventually impact your reputation and career. Especially in a tight, small community

3. As a veterinarian, you have the potential to do SO much good for animals. Lose these deadbeats and dedicate yourself to a more worthy shelter. Find some rescue group that needs help and contribute your time there instead. There are so many organizations that need good vet help, or a place to stick a couple adoption kittens. If not, start a small humane society of your own, out bid the competition and then you will have the right to do it your own way.

4. Look into your state's ACO organization and get involved at a different level. If you love the ACO work, and have the time outside of practicising medicine maybe you can offer your services/testimony/treat large scale cruelty seizures or something. Get on an advisory board, or help improve the legislation for animals within your state.

There are all kinds of ways to stay involved, find a new avenue instead of beating your head against this brick wall.

Good luck! Wish you were out here. I can think of 10 places that need help from a good veterinary practice.

Last edited by ksbirdhse; 01-19-2008 at 04:51 PM.
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  #9  
Old 01-20-2008
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Default Please, don't take this personal

If you want to see the epitmoe <sp> of the government attitude, simply go to the DMV-these people will NEVER be accused of taking SPEED.
The same is true of many in government service who have been there too long-many couldn't survive in the private sector because they'd be out on their a%% so fast their head would spin.
Daddy always said, "Government jobs are for those who can't survive in the real world" and he didn't make no friends at City hall with that attitude.

You see, in the private sector, it's kill or BE killed and if you don't have a union contract to hide behind, you're literally singing for your supper-if your boss doesn't like your tune, he can replace you and never have to give you a reason or a second thought.

Sounds to me like you're a little to "upbeat" for these nimrods you are refering to and are risking the chance of them "looking bad" or looking bad compared to you if you're a wellspring of new energy and new ideas.
As a member of the public, I get SO SICK of hearing, "well, that's our policy"
I still remember the look of shock on the face of one official who just said those magic words and I went back at him with, "Well, that's nice but you're still a municipal employee and ultimatly a servant of we, the people-in that regard, you have NO POLICY sir, except that which we, the people, dictate to you".

I think that there's a low turnover rate because people become quite comfortable in a job where the levels of performance are well-defined and nothing more is expected or delivered.

Keep your chin up, and if that doesn't work-voodoo dolls may or may not work, but they are their own form of therapy.....
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  #10  
Old 01-20-2008
DRNEGRIN6 DRNEGRIN6 is offline
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Thanks guys/gals,

You have all made me feel good about the decisions that I have made.

As far as whether or not I believe the kitten was abused, the kitten was weighing 0.6 lbs when he should have been weighing 1.4 lbs. I had been told by the staff that the kitten was vomiting 10 days before he was brought in. There is no way that kitten would have survived for an extended period of time like this. The other thing is that even if the kitten came in sick, for an ACO to not bring an animal to a veterinarian that is obviously sick is abuse. It does not matter whether he caused the animal to get sick or whether the kitten was sick and he failed to get medical attention for the kitten.

In the mist of all of the headaches that I have gone through, there is some good news. I went to a different local shelter/adoption group to donate some food. (I recently had adopted a kitten from this group.) They had heard of me in passing and were thrilled to meet me. I asked them if I could volunteer there on the weekends. It turns out that they recently lost the vet. that was providing weekend visits to the shelter and they had cut back the trips to their main vet. since they are all volunteers and have other jobs. They offered me the position if I want it. There is no cost to me since I will be working at their shelter and they purchase the supplies upfront. They introduced me to one of the ACOs at the shelter. Currently, they don't need an ACO but I offered them my services since they work near my home town. I was so pleased at being able to work with a shelter again that I went to a nearby diner and spoke with the manager (someone who I know for years since I usually eat there on the weekends). It turns out that her sister works for a different municipality who recently elected to set up their own shelter. They are in the process of hiring new vets. and ACOs for their municipality. They are about 10-20 minutes away from my home town. This may actually work out. I really enjoy what I do and was feeling quite down when I wrote the first entry. Now, I am motivated to work with the shelters again. Thanks for making me feel better and letting me know that the majority of ACOs are not like this one that really used me.
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