When Liberty County Animal Control officers were dispatched to a call in October, they encountered a white German Shepherd-mix in bad shape. The dog was bleeding and had one eye missing.
While on the scene, one of the officers bandaged the eye and transported the dog to a local veterinarian. It was later discovered that someone had shot the poor animal in the eye with a gun.
On another call, officers responded to a Husky trapped in a ditch. Huskies can weigh more than 80 pounds, but this dog was emaciated at only 30 pounds. The animal control officer hooked the dog to an IV and within two hours was able to get the care it needed at a veterinary hospital.
If you rely only on movies and cartoons, the depiction of the animal control officer is often this mean-spirited brute whose only job is to round up loose dogs and cats and place them in lonely cages. And although officers must follow county ordinances and keep stray animals off the streets, their job goes much deeper and is guided by their love and compassion for animals.
Randy Durrence is the animal control director for Liberty County. He’s been doing it for 19 years. He said everyone on his staff is passionate about the well-being of any type of animal, but the biggest job is to ensure public safety.
His team, consisting of officers Linda Cordry, Deanne Valdes and David Schible, are often the first to arrive and must deal with vicious animals like alligators or rabies-infected foxes and raccoons. “If they are out in the public and in harm’s way, we’ll get out there,” Durrence said. “We’re protecting the public.”
Schible, who responded to the German Shepherd with the missing eye call, said he is pleased to report that the dog he helped save is recuperating and will hopefully be adopted soon. “Knowing we were part of that process makes me feel good because had the dog gone any longer (without help), who knows how that poor canine would be,” he said.
There is another happy ending involving the Husky found in the ditch. Cordry, who has been with animal control for several years, is credited with saving that dog, who fully recovered and was adopted by a family. There was even a successful campaign on social media to raise money to pay for the dog’s vet bills.
Along with kennel technicians Becky Carter and Gail Deason, and receptionist Morgan Mullis, the seven-person animal control team works hard to reunite owners with their pets and to get the word out on their website and social media of adoption opportunities. On this particular day, they were transporting two dogs to animal rescue homes.
“The public sees animal control as just capturing animals,” Schible said.” But we go above and beyond. The goodness of our hearts allows us to do that job. We give those animals, those fur babies, a life they deserve.”
On its website, Liberty County Animal Control says it envisions a day when ….
All citizens will be safe from the dangers and nuisances of irresponsible pet ownership.
When animals will not suffer because of human abuse, neglect, or ignorance.
Where every pet born will be assured of a good home, with proper care, including being spayed/neutered and micro-chipped.
Schible, along with his wife Michaela, have five cats and a dog of their own. He’s only been employed with animal control for five months, but already has gained a reputation as someone who goes the extra mile.
“I’ve been doing rescues for 13 years and I have never seen an officer (Schible) work as hard as he does to save an animal and build great relations with the public,” said Marcy Jenkins.
For Schible, age 40, it’s all about service and giving back to the community. He served 20 years in the Army, retiring in February with the rank of sergeant first class (it was his assignment at Fort Stewart that brought him to the area three years ago from San Diego). He was also a volunteer firefighter in Liberty County before eventually deciding on a career in animal control.
The son of a Navy veteran, whom he calls his hero, Schible said, “As a child I’ve always been inspired by our public safety officers and firefighters. I’ve always had a passion for helping people.”
That passion extends to animals.
He added, “Animals are like humans. When we see them injured or sick or even vicious, it’s not their fault.”