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The Ladies of Campbell County's Animal Control

(Gillette, Wyo.) Animal Control in Gillette might not seem like a big job, until you find out that the City & County Shelter is pretty much the only public facility available for most of Northeast Wyoming. Newcastle, Buffalo, and Sheridan all have private cat rescues that tend to help out Gillette's shelter. But there's also a general lack of specialized officers for this corner of the state. The City has three people on the street, and there are two for Campbell County. Crook County does not have dedicated Animal Control officers in their Sheriff's Department. So for Northeast Wyoming, Janette Graves and Katie Spencer with the Campbell County Sheriff's Office cover a lot of ground. "You can easily put over 100 miles on your truck every day," said Spencer. The deputies are often in far-reaching and possibly dangerous areas of the community that not even the Department of Criminal Investigations would send officers in to alone. That's why a retired CCSO sergeant at DCI helped get bulletproof vests and tasers issued as part of the standard animal control officer's uniform. It's to protect against people, not animals. "Our biggest weapon is this," said Graves, pointing to her mouth. "If we're going to be fifty miles out in the country and you have someone very angry with you, you have to be able to talk them down." People are protective of their animals and get nervous and upset when they see Animal Control show up unexpectedly. Calming someone down is a huge part of the process. Though, according to Graves, she's only ever used her tactical baton to help scoot cats out of their cages. [image: IMG_3680.JPG] The ladies started a board at the Sheriff's Office highlighting some of the bigger calls they've had to make. Bears, mountain lions, and wolves are generally expected for Wyoming. Graves even wrecked her patrol truck trying to stop a runaway bull from ending up in the shopping center on Lakeway. But they've also rounded up alligators, snakes, and bald eagles. "You have to be strong to deal with some of the stuff you see, but the majority of the job is pretty fun," said Spencer. "You just have to love working with animals, and have patience." The state of Wyoming doesn't require certification to work in Animal Control. Spencer and Graves go to Colorado to train with the National Animal Control Association. There's also a lot of on-the-job training. "I love my job," said Graves. "I wouldn't trade it for anything." #county17 #news