Woof! Meow! St. George Animal Control Officers Have Seen It All
Cathy Freitas is something of a dog whisperer. Or cat. Or bird. Or hedgehog?
Freitas, who was on the Andy Griffin Show Tuesday, is the Director of the Animal Services Department for the City of St. George and she admits that it's a dirty job. And she loves doing it.
Just an hour after spraying out the dog pens at the animal shelter, Freitas was regaling listeners with stories about wrangling a giant monitor lizard or rescuing a dog with it's mouth permanently wired shut (that dog lives with her now).
Freitas wants people to know in her town that animals need love and just want to have and be a friend to people.
"They just to need be loved," she said.
Freitas said working in animal services can be very tough at times, but like many jobs, the rewards outweigh the heartbreaks.
"There are some tough times for sure, but the positive situations outnumber them by so much," she said. "There's a lot of times you cry, but it's not always sad tears. There are happy tears, too."
There are some definite things Freitas wants the public to know:
- Dogs bark, but they shouldn't bark incessantly, especially at night and there are legal actions neighbors can take if this happens.
- Owning a pig is illegal in St. George (yes, even a pot-bellied or teacup pig). The only exception: a pig being raised for the 4H Club, and that's only OK if your area is zoned for that.
- Hedgehogs are cute, but not snuggly at all. "If you want a snuggly pet, don't get a hedgehog."
- Pet cats, dogs and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies.
- Ferrets make good pets -- fun to play with, will snuggle, warm and fuzzy, but they do produce a strong, um, odor. And they can be mischievous if bored.,
- You're allowed to own up to six hens, but no roosters. Roosters are illegal in St. George.
- Domesticated rabbits (think Easter) are very difficult pets to care for, and will not survive if you turn them loose in the wild. Oh, and the stereotype is real, they reproduce very quickly.
- If you have a reptile problem, Animal Services may have to call in a specialist, like they did when someone needed help with a four-foot monitor lizard.
- If a stray animal is turned into Animal Services, the owner has five business days to claim it, then the animal will be put up for adoption.
- Right now there are more than 25 dogs and cats waiting for rescue at the Animal Shelter. A dog costs $60 to adopt and a cat is $50. All of these shelter animals will have been spayed/neutered and vaccinated.
The shelter is open:
- Monday - By Appointment Only.
- Tuesday - Friday 10 am to 6 pm
- Saturday - 9 am to 4 pm