2020 NACA Award Receipients

2020 NACA Award Receipients

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.

NACA First Responders Position Statement

Animal Control Officers Should Be Considered First Responders

The National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA) believes all animal field services professionals (animal control, animal protection, etc.), should be considered and treated as first responders. The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Systems define first responders as “individuals who in the early stages of an incident are responsible for the protection and preservation of life, property, evidence, and the environment”. Animal control officers and other animal field services professionals meet this definition.

The very core of the work of an animal control officer is deeply rooted in community engagement, public safety and the welfare of non-human animals. Historically, animal control officers were on the frontline of protecting communities and addressing public health concerns such as preventing the spread of the rabies virus. Their early role has now been dramatically expanded to include providing community support and outreach, investigating animal cruelty and neglect, and saving animals who are in immediate danger. Additionally, they work alongside other first responders such as law enforcement, EMTs, and firefighters on a regular basis during weather emergencies, natural disasters, and other catastrophic events.

Communities and local municipal agencies should view and support their animal control officers at the same level as other first responders. Additionally, communities and local government agencies should provide on-going training, equipment, and resources necessary to support the work of their animal control officers working at the frontline of their community.

Homeland Security Act of 2002. (2019, May 28). Retrieved December 06, 2020, from https://www.dhs.gov/homeland-security-act-200​

Download: NACA First Responders Position Statement (pdf)

Members: Potential Merger Discussions

Members: Potential Merger Discussions

Members. For information on the upcoming discussion on a potential merger please login to the members page to see the latest updates. The discussion’s Zoom information is provided on that page.

Additionally, the IRS 990’s from 2013 through 2019 have been added for your review as well.

The NACA board is working to compile meeting minutes, both recent and historical, to be released in the coming days.

2020 NACA Board of Director’s Election Notice

2020 NACA Board of Director’s Election Notice

NACA members will vote to fill four (4) regular Board of Directors, three (3) year term positions during the 2020 election.
The online polls will open at 8 a.m. Eastern Time on September 25, 2020, and will close promptly at 12 noon Eastern Time on October 7, 2020. You must be a current Individual member in good standing to vote.
Voting information will be emailed to each member, beginning at 8 a.m. Eastern Time on September 25, 2020.
The voting system will use the member’s current email address in their profile. Members are responsible for providing a working email address to vote. Each member should sign in to their NACA member profile and verify their email address is current.
For any questions, please email admin@nacanet.org

NACA Statement on Officer Safety

NACA Statement on Officer Safety

In this challenging time, we are deeply concerned for the safety of animal control officers around the nation, who continue their work of saving lives and protecting pets and people. Despite the varying situations happening in many of our cities, we want you to know we are with you and thinking of you during this troubling time. We are here for you. Please be safe out there!

In an effort to provide guidance to agencies operating the essential service that is Animal Control, NACA has developed the following recommendations:

– Receive direction from local law enforcement on areas that will be of risk, closed or otherwise have restricted access, and those determined safe for regular responses.

– Agencies should adjust responses as appropriate per the direction received from law enforcement.

– If an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is active in your community, ensure that an Agency representative is available to receive briefings and coordinate with other Agencies quickly. Time and effective communication are paramount in these situations.

– Establish policies for the protection of officers to include individual safety measures, personal protective equipment, and law enforcement support as needed. Refer to the NACA guidelines specifically on the safe use of personal protection equipment

– Provide daily briefings of the evolving situation in the community (non-animal related).

– Ensure any staff working in the field or in a vulnerable position always have at least 2 forms of communication (cell phone, radio, laptop, etc.) in help ensure emergency communication, if needed, is available.

Download: NACA statement on officer safety (pdf)

Stress & Ways to Manage it During COVID-19 and Beyond- Written By: Nina Stively

Stress & Ways to Manage it During COVID-19 and Beyond- Written By: Nina Stively

COVID-19 has changed our profession, possibly forever, and in many ways, for the better. We have started having real discussions with our state and local governments on what it means to be essential. We have adapted our shelter intake models, seeing intakes drop and adoptions soar. In light of these remarkable changes, you would expect to see the staff morale at our facilities sky-high, right? And maybe you are seeing that. But, if you, or your teammates are in a slump right now, it’s okay.

If your agency stopped taking non-critical intakes or calls for service, you likely feel like you’ve been running from one emergency to the next. That your kennels only have profoundly ill, injured or aggressive animals in them. That your citizens are stressed out and overwhelmed and those emotions are getting thrown at you, and if any of these feelings resonate with you, know that you are not alone.

Loudoun County Animal Services (LCAS) is a municipal animal services agency, in a community of about 400,000 people. Normally, this time of year, kittens are arriving at our door by the boxload, while calls for service on dogs running at large and concerns over wildlife keep everyone busy. This year, however, after closing to intakes, other than stray dogs (per county code) and urgent surrenders, our intake numbers dropped by over 70%. One the outside, this seems amazing- and it is! But while the animals still arriving are the same critical or aggressive cases we would normally receive, the boxes of kittens and “I’m moving” dogs aren’t coming in. This means that our staff are missing out on the happy endings that we all got into the field to experience, and don’t quite get the break in between tough cases that we are used to. And those tough cases might either feel harder, or they might actually be harder. Here in Loudoun, we have seen a sudden, substantial increase in violent crimes against animals locally, and bites where owners are the victim have gone up 72% in the past two months. While we should all be proud of the hard work we have done to make positive change, there is no shame in admitting that the current environment is a challenging one for us and our teammates, and these challenges go well beyond our trucks and kennels. Some of our colleagues are struggling to balance childcare, vulnerable family members and compromised income, along with the new stresses of work in a different environment. While we are all going through this pandemic together, we all have our own lives to balance with an already complex profession.

At LCAS, we are trying to keep the environment as low stress as possible- starting a staff garden, hosting grill-out Thursdays in the employee parking lot, permitting pets at work for our shelter staff and dispatchers, making sure everyone has PPE and what they need to feel safe, while allowing telework as much as possible and being flexible with staff schedules. No one has ever said that being essential is an easy job, but it is one that we have taken on with pride. And while the community trusts us to take care of their animals, we need to make sure we are also taking care of ourselves. Reduced intakes does not mean reduced stress.

There is no better time than the present to look after your own mental well-being. If you need to take time for yourself or your family, related to COVID-19, there are federal workplace protections in place for you. If you are feeling overwhelmed, you are not alone. Don’t hesitate to reach out to colleagues, to your locality’s EAP, professional therapists, hotlines or other support networks. Times are changing, and in many ways, it is for the better, but it doesn’t mean that your struggles should be discounted. Recognizing our challenges is the first step in resilience, and while our stats, our resources and our communities are different, we are all in this together. And when we come out on the other side (are we there yet?), I want you all here alongside me to try to tackle the next round of progress in animal services.

 

Nina Stively is the Director of Loudoun County Animal Services, a municipal agency in northern Virginia, handling animal sheltering, humane law enforcement and community programs for a community of about 400,000 people, full of companion animals, livestock and wildlife.

2020 NACA Board of Director’s Election Notice

New Membership Fees- A Letter from Scott Giacoppo

Dear fellow animal welfare professionals

We are living through some very difficult times right now, yet those of us in the animal care and control field are persevering. NACA is committed to being by the side of every single person putting themself at risk to continue serving the animals and people in their communities. We also recognize that there are many of you who want to serve but cannot due to lay-offs, furloughs, reduced hours and slashed budgets.

With these challenges in mind, NACA is giving everyone the opportunity to share in the unity we provide and the benefits afforded to all members at a more reasonable cost. We have decided to cut our annual membership fee of $50 in half to $25, or only $20 if you are a member of a member state-affiliated association!

When we offered a free three-month trial membership in March, the response was overwhelming! Close to 900 people signed up and many began immediately accessing our benefits, such as viewing the archived training webinars that were conducted in partnership with the Justice Clearinghouse.

We took this immense interest as a sign that if NACA were more affordable, more people would join in our fight to bring our field the pride, professionalism and unity it deserves.  To those of you who signed up as a full member sometime after March 1, we are extending your membership to a two-year, fully paid membership giving you an additional year of benefits.

While times are tough out there, they are also tough here at NACA. We have been forced to cancel far too many of our NACHO training classes that we do in partnership with Code 3 (cancelling just one is too many in my book!). These trainings are not only our longstanding pledge to you to provide world-class animal control and humane law officer certification training, they also represent a significant source of our annual revenue.

So why would cutting fees now be sensible? Wouldn’t the more advisable path be to increase costs?

Perhaps, but that doesn’t sit right with me, not when I meet and talk to officers, shelter staff and advocates who are living paycheck to paycheck yet still want to be a part of the NACA family.

NACA’s strength has always been and will continue to be in our numbers. I know that not only will we get through these dark times, we will get through them together as one.

 

Stay safe and stay proud.

 

Scott Giacoppo

Board President,

National Animal Care and Control Association

New Membership Fees

Dear fellow animal welfare professionals

We are living through some very difficult times right now, yet those of us in the animal care and control field are persevering. NACA is committed to being by the side of every single person putting themself at risk to continue serving the animals and people in their communities. We also recognize that there are many of you who want to serve but cannot due to lay-offs, furloughs, reduced hours and slashed budgets.

With these challenges in mind, NACA is giving everyone the opportunity to share in the unity we provide and the benefits afforded to all members at a more reasonable cost. We have decided to cut our annual membership fee of $50 in half to $25, or only $20 if you are a member of a member state-affiliated association!

When we offered a free three-month trial membership in March, the response was overwhelming! Close to 900 people signed up and many began immediately accessing our benefits, such as viewing the archived training webinars that were conducted in partnership with the Justice Clearinghouse.

We took this immense interest as a sign that if NACA were more affordable, more people would join in our fight to bring our field the pride, professionalism and unity it deserves.  To those of you who signed up as a full member sometime after March 1, we are extending your membership to a two-year, fully paid membership giving you an additional year of benefits.

While times are tough out there, they are also tough here at NACA. We have been forced to cancel far too many of our NACHO training classes that we do in partnership with Code 3 (cancelling just one is too many in my book!). These trainings are not only our longstanding pledge to you to provide world-class animal control and humane law officer certification training, they also represent a significant source of our annual revenue.

So why would cutting fees now be sensible? Wouldn’t the more advisable path be to increase costs?

Perhaps, but that doesn’t sit right with me, not when I meet and talk to officers, shelter staff and advocates who are living paycheck to paycheck yet still want to be a part of the NACA family.

NACA’s strength has always been and will continue to be in our numbers. I know that not only will we get through these dark times, we will get through them together as one.

Stay safe and stay proud.

Scott Giacoppo
Board President,
National Animal Care and Control Association