Law Enforcement and Animal Control Joint Responses

Law Enforcement and Animal Control Joint Responses
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2023-03-09
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Law Enforcement and Animal Control Joint Responses
Unit 2Transcript: Law Enforcement and Animal Control Joint Responses
Unit 3Workbook: Law Enforcement and Animal Control Joint Responses
Unit 4Recording: Law Enforcement and Animal Control Joint Responses

The roles of police officers and animal control officers overlap and are bound by a common goal of safety for both people and animals. But these two areas of law enforcement don’t always see eye-to-eye. This webinar explores ways to better understand each other and bridge the gap for better outcomes for the officers, agencies, and the animals and people in the communities they serve.

This session’s instructor is Harold Holmes, the current Executive Assistant for The County of Los Angeles Department of Animal Care and Control. Prior to this role, he served as a Deputy Director for the County of San Diego Department of Animal Services and the Chief of Police in northern California.

Topics he covered in his presentation include:

  • The benefits of traditional law enforcement and animal law enforcement working together in terms of prosecution, conviction, deterrence, and public perception.
  • How each group perceives the other…
    • With traditional law enforcement sometimes seeing animal control officers as less competent, less professional, and more subjective and emotional.
    • While animal control officers sometimes see traditional law enforcement as having a sense of superiority, uncaring towards animals, and incapable of handling animals.
  • The need for both groups to view their work as a part of a larger team that includes other helping professions and government service providers.
  • Comparing the different roles and sources of authority of common animal law-involved entities – law enforcement, humane officers, and animal control officers.
  • The overlapping roles of traditional law enforcement and animal law enforcement and the importance of engaging in coordinated efforts with clearly defined responsibilities to address animal cruelty effectively.
  • How the changing public attitudes towards animals impact traditional and animal law enforcement.
  • A rundown of the different agencies to contact for specific animal cruelty cases, depending on the jurisdiction and nature of the cruelty.
  • The scope and limitations in expertise and resources for traditional and animal law enforcement and how they can assist each other for a more effective approach to addressing animal cruelty.
  • How understanding the concept of “the Link” can help overcome a silo approach to their work and allow them to deter animal cruelty, child abuse, domestic violence, and elder abuse.
  • The value of collaboration between traditional and animal law enforcement and complementing each other’s strengths to handle different scenarios, address common enemies, and arrive at the same goal.
  • How the public expects authorities – be it traditional law enforcement or animal control to – respond to calls for service, fix problems, and utilize all resources available to stop abuse.
  • Some of the barriers to collaboration as it relates to perceptions, siloism, and conflicts preventing traditional and animal law enforcement from pursuing the same goals.
  • Ways to work together effectively through communication, relationship-building, cross-training, focusing on common goals, taking animal law cases seriously, and being adept in applicable laws.
  • Things to be wary of in terms of being caught up in the mission resulting in unethical practices, and condemning and pointing fingers.
  • The importance of working as a triangle than a square where traditional and animal law enforcement are merged as a unified investigations team.

Questions from the webinar attendees are about:

  • Getting the public to take animal control officers more seriously and professionalizing the industry.
  • Balancing the need to educate a subject about the cost of care versus the perception of coercion to get them to surrender the animal.
  • Means to initiate the conversation and collaboration between traditional and animal law enforcement.


This session will cover:

  • Roles of police/deputies in animal-related incidents
  • Roles of animal control/humane officers in law enforcement
  • Sources of authority of police/deputies and of animal control/humane officers, and how they differ
  • Recognizing the gaps in training/expertise in both fields
  • Common goals and ways to achieve them
  • Benefits of working together


Other Webinars with this Presenter:


Or, click here to register and view other Animal Welfare webinars and recordings on the JCH website. 


Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “Personal experiences are always the best to learn and gain information from- Also having samples to go off of, or other ideas or ways to do things is always amazing! Thank you for your time.” — Mackenzie
  • “All of it was good. I like that you touched on The Link between animal abuse and domestic abuse. I think police officers are often unaware of such links whereas Animal Control Officers consider it quite often when on calls/cases. Hopefully, more of that will eventually be included in the Police Officer Academies.” — Deni
  • “I LOVE the presenter! He was real and honest. I appreciate that.” — Mary Jo
  • “Excellent presentation of the problems involved in the interaction of law enforcement and animal control, and the need for better funding, and the problems they now face with the Internet, social media, public misunderstanding, etc.”  — Mária
  • “Very informative information. Excellent subject matter expert presenting the course material.” — Ronald




This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care & Control Association and is approved for 1 Continuing Education Unit. Please refer to your NACA membership portal for current CEU submission process. Current NACA Members who attend the live presentation or watch the recording will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo. Visit the NACA training page for a complete list of future trainings.




This webinar has been pre-approved by the Maine Animal Welfare Program for 1 Continuing Education Unit for the State of Maine’s ACO annual training. You can find more information about Certification, required annual training or submitting materials for credit at Maine’s Animal Control Officer Resource Page.





Additional Resources
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