There are an incredible number of professionals in the animal welfare field doing such amazing work. The 2020 recipients are as follows:

NACA 2020 – ANIMAL CONTROL OFFICER OF THE YEAR – Recipient – Officer Michael Northrup

This award is given to an individual that has been directly involved in the animal care and control profession for a minimum of five years. Recipients may be nominated for a single outstanding achievement in animal one of the three specific groups, or long-term exceptional performance in the animal care and control field.

ACO Northrup is has shown tremendous passion for his position this year, working in the busiest and most populous zone within the county, consistently handling the highest case load and responding to over 1,000 animal control calls this year. In addition to his daily case load, Michael always finds time to assist citizens in need with special cases such as TNVR support. Michael goes above and beyond for the citizens of the county.

In the past year ACO Northrup assisted a motorist on the highway to extinguish a car fire, aided a citizen who was the victim of elder abuse to receive the appropriate treatment and care after responding to a loose dog complaint, and aided another citizen suffering from a mental health issue who was running in a dangerous street.

ACO Northrup is a valuable member of the community as an ACO and serves as an example of ACO’s being first responders.

 

NACA 2020 – HUMANE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER OF THE YEAR – Recipient – Officer Daniel Achuff

This award is given to an individual that has been directly involved in the animal care and control profession for a minimum of five years. Recipients may be nominated for a single outstanding achievement in animal one of the three specific groups, or long-term exceptional performance in the animal care and control field.

Officer Daniel Achuff was able to achieve his childhood dream of working to protect animals in 2015 when he was hired as a Humane Society Police Officer. Officer Achuff is a criminal justice graduate and is a member of the Army National Guard. Officer Achuff holds a 95% prosecution rate in court and has shown incredible passion to the animals in the community he is sworn to protect.

“After adopting my German Shepherd, I ran into Daniel. Not knowing who he was, he ran up to my dog, calling her name and hugging her. Daniel was the officer on duty when my dog had been taken from her abusive owner. Several months later we again saw Daniel. My sweet pup remembered her rescuer and both Daniel and my Shepherd shared a sweet hug. There’s an obvious bond that Daniel has to every pet he rescues. The warmth he displays is natural for him. This isn’t just a job for Daniel but a personal mission to be these animals’ hero. I respect him as an officer and a lovely human being.” – excerpt from nomination

 

NACA 2020 – ANIMAL CARE PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR – Recipient – Gina Botticello

This award is given to an individual that has been directly involved in the animal care and control profession for a minimum of five years. Recipients may be nominated for a single outstanding achievement in animal one of the three specific groups, or long-term exceptional performance in the animal care and control field.

Botticello works as a Pet Services Supervisor and manages the animal transfer and rescue program, the foster program, the volunteer program, and customer service for Pasco County Animal Services. Botticello was a contributing member of the Guiding Coalition that helped Animal Services achieve the Service Enterprise Certification from the Point of Light Foundation recognizing Animal Services for excellence in volunteer programming. This included creating a program of volunteer inclusion, skills-based volunteer
opportunities, and a vision to achieve the mission of Pasco County Animal Services through strategic use of their volunteer force.

“Her passion for life saving and her dedication to the mission of animal care and control are clearly the why she comes to work every day. She is resolved in her efforts to make PCAS a premier organization and a lifesaving resource for pets in need… Her dedication to serving others and creating positive customer experiences is just one of her great attributes that won her the 2020 Florida Animal Control Association Supervisor of the year Award.” – excerpts from nomination

NACA 2020 – OUTSTANDING STATE ASSOCIATION – Animal Control Officers of Massachusetts

This award recognizes the State Animal Control Association that best promotes and exemplifies professionalism in the animal care and control field. Factors considered in granting this award include the number of active members, increases in new members, improved quality of animal care and control programs within their state, active sponsors of seminars and training for members, and engaged in NACA sponsored training and events.

“For nearly 40 years, communities across the Commonwealth (MA) have benefited from the knowledge and expertise provided by ACOAM. Since its inception, ACOAM has worked tirelessly to create a better and safer world for humans and animals by providing trainings in specialized fields, which is additional to the 96-hour academy. Further, ACOAM has helped bring Massachusetts to the forefront of animal control and care. Through the hard work and dedication of their members, ACOAM has helped draft and support legal protections for animals before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Due to their high standards, ACOAM serves as an example; which out entities outside of Massachusetts model themselves after.” Anne Gobi, Massachusetts State Senator

*Pictured are current and past board members of ACOAM*

2020 NACA – BILL LEHMAN MEMORIAL AWARD – RECIPIENT – DDA Christopher Day

This award is given to an individual not directly employed in the animal care and control field, but who has shown an exceptional awareness in animal care and control related matters, which merits distinction. The recipient will be recognized as a “friend” of animal care and control, for contributions and outstanding action that has helped further the positive image of animal care and control professionals through local, state, or national animal control associations.

Deputy District Attorney, Christopher Day has been a key advocate for animals in Washoe County, Nevada by assuring that justice is served in a number of animal cruelty cases. DDA works with the Washoe County Regional Animal Services (WCRAS) with misdemeanor, gross misdemeanor, and felony animal cruelty cases. In addition, DDA Day provides training workshops to WCRAS to further develop their investigation skills and case preparation. DDA Day developed a streamlined process for felony case submissions and is a recognized voice for Washoe County’s animals.

2020 NACA – DIANE LANE MEMORIAL AWARD RECIPIENT – Dr. Darnice Pettigrew

This award is for outstanding volunteer service. The nominee selected to win this award is someone who is not directly employed in the animal care and control field but serves in a volunteer capacity within the animal care and control field or other animal welfare-related activities. He or she will have demonstrated exceptional dedication or performed outstanding work far beyond the volunteer position’s requirements.

Dr. Darnice Pettigrew DVM is the owner and operator of the North Fork Veterinary Hospital in Timberville, VA. Dr. Pettigrew volunteers each week to provide shelter exams to the animals at the Rockingham-Harrisonburg SPCA, serves as their board president, and shares her time and knowledge to assist ACO’s with their cases. When not helping the animals of the community, Dr. Pettigrew is a dedicated turtle rescuer. Many baby turtles have made it back to sea due to Dr. Pettigrew’s dedication.

NACA 2020 – OUTSTANDING ANIMAL CARE AND CONTROL AGENCY – Charlotte-Mecklenburg Animal Care & Control

 
This award is presented to an individual agency that best promotes and exemplifies professionalism in the animal care and control field. This award’s selection criterion includes effective training programs for personnel, outstanding/innovative public education programs, active community involvement, and average officer response time to calls for assistance.
Instead of things slowing down during the COVID-19 pandemic CM AC&C was able to turn the situation into many positives. Not only were they able to adapt and continue to save more lives from a sheltering perspective but were able to find creative ways to provide seamless response with their field service. Officers were able to continue training through virtual learning environments on topics such as dog fighting, animal abuse, and handling wildlife issues. CM AC&C transitioned 11 ACO’s to Human Animal Support Services Officers who were assigned to work in the community to assist pet owners.