Lifesaving Dispatch for Animal Welfare Agencies

Lifesaving Dispatch for Animal Welfare Agencies
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2021-11-18
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Lifesaving Dispatch for Animal Welfare Agencies
Unit 2Transcript: Lifesaving Dispatch for Animal Welfare Agencies
Unit 3Workbook: Lifesaving Dispatch for Animal Welfare Agencies
Unit 4Recording: Lifesaving Dispatch for Animal Welfare Agencies

More than being the middleman that collects information and relays it to the first responders on the field, the role of dispatchers has expanded and now involves actual call resolution without having to dispatch an officer to the caller’s location. This session will explore how the Bestfriends Animal Society is espousing a more active role for the dispatchers.

Leading the discussion is Anna Walton, the Municipal and Shelter Support Coordinator for Best Friends Animal Society. Anna develops training content and tools to support the animal welfare field services profession.

Specifics of this webinar include:

  • The lifesaving and community-oriented work being provided by field services and how dispatch can be a part of this trajectory.
  • The value in reframing the concept of dispatch by giving it a more active role in response and how this allows public safety agencies to reprioritize time and resources and become more efficient in their work.
  • The dispatchers’ role as the gatekeeper and voice of the agency/shelter and how their work can influence the outcomes of the pets and the realization of the agency’s goals and mission.
  • The dispatcher’s priorities in terms of ensuring officer and public safety and facilitating emergency response coordination.
  • Radio before phone: The dispatcher’s balancing act when it comes to answering calls from the community members and ensuring officer safety on the field.
  • Communication protocols that dispatchers must abide by to facilitate the effective and accurate exchange of information.
  • Training, resources, and protocols that dispatchers must familiarize with to remain prepared for the different calls that they’re likely to receive.
  • The customer service aspect of dispatch that emphasizes the importance of the dispatcher’s attitude, voice, tone, and rate in call handling.
  • A rundown of the specific information that a dispatcher must take from the caller and other guidelines to be able to obtain complete and accurate information needed to best provide a resolution to the call.
  • Specific examples of active problem solving done by dispatchers during a call and how it reduces the need for deploying officers to respond to the call.
  • The ingenious way one agency is managing running at large and nuisance situations without taking so much resources or time from field officers.
  • Managing and de-escalating emotional or irate callers through empathy, calming techniques, simple and direct language and instruction, repetitive resistance, and rational detachment.
  • The complaint mitigation steps to effectively address the callers’ issue and provide a tailored solution.
  • Addressing common complaints through:
    • Spay and neuter efforts to solve nuisance animal behaviors.
    • Educating callers and the public in general about wildlife and general animal behavior.
    • The use of deterrents to prevent animal-human conflict and scare animals away.
    • Getting in touch with the appropriate resources for calls that are outside of dispatch and the agency’s purview.
  • Leveraging volunteers to support the field services and dispatch team.
  • Recommendations and resources to help develop or improve an animal welfare agency’s dispatch program.

Points raised during the Q&A are about:

  • The time required to effectively train dispatchers that can actively problem-solve during a call.
  • Managing callers who talk a lot by setting their expectations and being open and honest.
  • Fees for getting veterinarians to scan microchips.
  • Resources and templates for the first-time offense letters.
  • How deterrents impact the animals and recommended products for deterrence.
  • Handling neighbor disputes disguised as animal calls.
  • Liabilities related to having community members manage or contain the animal by themselves.


Other Webinars with This Organization


Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “It was very interesting to see how she handles the cases.” — Shelby
  • “Sending people a letter instead of driving out to their house just to give them a routine notice! That’s great. — James
  • “I learned how after all these years; the same problems are still the driving force of many Animal Control agencies. It was very good, with a very good speaker.” — Joseph
  • “Supported the efforts we are making now Nice to hear we’re pretty much hitting on all the right things.” — Barb
  • “It was very informative. Especially the ideas for nuisance calls.” — Karen



Or click here to view and register for other upcoming NACA  webinars on the JCH Platform.



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.





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