National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week: Animal Control Officer Josh Erwin

This week is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week, and Radio Works is recognizing and thanking those who are there day in and day out, during the events that shape our lives.

Josh Erwin is the Animal Control Officer for the City of Worthington. He has been in the position since the beginning of February, when Virgil Veen retired. With the change, the Worthington Police Department made another change, and Erwin is sent on calls through the use of Dispatch.

According to Erwin, if your pet is missing or there is a stray in your yard,  the best thing to do is call the non-emergency dispatch number at 372-8430. Dispatch then contacts Erwin.

Stray pets that are picked up by Erwin are taken to the city pound, and if he can't find a microchip or tag, he posts photos on social media to locate an owner. The photos go on the Worthington Police Department Facebook page. The county also uses the same pound, so all of the strays in Nobles County end up in Erwin's care until an owner is located.

There is a $25 a day boarding fee, but Erwin has discretion when it comes to an initial fee for the pickup. That fee can start at $90, but problematic strays who are repeat customers might incur a bigger fine. 

A quick piece of advice from Erwin - if you spot a stray that needs to be picked up, simply make the call to dispatch, do not try to catch the animal.

"Some have tried to grab the dog, and while they chase it around, it just gets more stressed," he explained. "If you see one running loose, don't try to chase it first, just call us."

As the city's animal control officer, Erwin also helps when there is an opossum or raccoon under a deck or home. He even gets the honor of dealing with what he laughingly calls "the mystery animals." He has the ability to live trap the wild creatures that can cause problems.

His favorite part, Erwin admits, is playing with the dogs in the kennel, and he finds getting a lost pet back to its owner very satisfying. Which makes him a perfect addition to the Worthington Police Department.

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