Happy Animal Safety and Protection Month - Meet ACO Armstead!

October is National Animal Safety and Protection Month - and there's no better way to highlight the importance of animal safety than by putting the spotlight on our Animal Control Officer, Joel! 

Joel Armstead is the Animal Control Officer (ACO) for both the City of Maryland Heights and Bridgeton, MO. ACO Armstead has worked in animal control for over 10 years, and wears many hats on a daily basis as a part of his job - and not just when moving between the two cities! When he's not taking care of animals at the pound before they're transferred to shelters and rescues throughout the region, you can find him visiting with residents in need, or patrolling areas where animals may be loose. 

"My number one responsibility is education," ACO Armstead said. "When people are aware of the best way to responsibly handle their pets and animals in the area, it helps keep our communities safe, and helps people avoid problems down the line."

If you see ACO Armstead around town, don't be afraid to say hi! You may get the chance to meet his partner, a stuffed rhino named Ronny. "I've found that having the rhino makes it easier for people to approach me when I'm out in the community," ACO Armstead said. "Since animal control officers are often visible only in worst case scenarios, I want to help spread positivity and let people know that I'm here to support them. I love animals too, and I want people to have all the resources they need so that their families and their pets are safe, healthy, and happy."

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Some of the area resources that Joel wants to share with residents include (in his words):

  • STL Feral Cat Rescue: "This organization does amazing work with management of Feral Cat colonies in the Metro Area. They are a group of volunteers who know their stuff and want to educate the public on the many benefits of having a Feral Colony in the community."
  • Carol House Quick Fix Pet Clinic: "This organization offers low cost Spay & Neuters to Metro residences to help reduce the number of unwanted animals in our communities vs the other option = Euthanasia. And yes, Brook Dubman of Carol House Furniture is the President!"

In addition, ACO Armstead encourages residents to do research on issues they may face before reaching out to authorities. "Many issues I'm contacted for can be resolved with a simple internet search," ACO Armstead said. "Researching what issues you're facing may lead to an easier solution than one would expect!"

Residents facing issues with their pets or other animals in the area are encouraged to contact ACO Armstead. Such cases may include a missing pet, disruptive wildlife, or when they are in need of resources regarding pet care or local rescues and shelters in the area. However, ACO Armstead stresses that pets are ultimately the responsibility of their owners to care for - cases such as noise complaints, disputes between neighbors pets, and other domestic issues are generally outside his control to manage. 

Thank you for your service to our community Joel! 

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