Protecting the Protector: Who is Taking Care of You?

Protecting the Protector: Who is Taking Care of You?
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Resources
Recorded on: 2019-06-27
Unit 1Slide Deck: Protecting the Protector
Unit 2Workbook: Protecting the Protector
Unit 3Recording: Protecting the Protector

It’s been said that working in public service is a vocation – a higher calling – selflessly giving one’s time and energy to protect and improve other’s lives. But this does not come with a price, the nature of an animal control or law enforcement officer’s job is inherently demanding that may eventually lead to exhaustion or burnout.

Dr. Peggy Rothbaum is this session’s guest resource. She is a psychologist in private practice in New Jersey with experience working in the research, academe, and healthcare settings on the topic of trauma.

She will talk about the concept of protecting the protector – tips on ensuring the wellness of the individuals working for animal care and law enforcement. Some of the things she tackled are:

  • The world we wish for animals, the grim reality of how animals are treated, and how animal control and police officers are exposed to these.
  • The concept of burnout, compassion fatigue and moral injury that are being experienced by ACOs and LEOs.
  • Symptoms and causes of burnout, and how a career in animal care and control and law enforcement creates much trauma.
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder, its symptoms, and the common misnomer that PTSD is a disorder when it really is just normal reaction to abnormal events.
  • Our emotions, the purpose they serve, how they’re felt and the myth that it is a sign of weakness.
  • Emotions from trauma, emotions that become ingrained into our unconscious, and ways how repressed emotions manifest.
  • What transference is and how it influences our behavior and lives.
  • Abuse, the cycle of violence linked to abuse, and the reasons why abuse is committed, particularly to animals.
  • Problems with our existing mental health infrastructure, and the social stigma that prevents ACOs and LEOs from getting the help that they need.
  • Peggy’s personal techniques to manage stress and avoid burnout.
  • How all these concepts manifest in the workplace and what can be done and avoided to achieve balance and protect one’s self from burnout.
  • Questions raised by the webinar audience concerned:
    • Long-term and compounding burnout and effects of stress.
    • Dealing with incongruent practices in the animal care and control field vis-à-vis personal beliefs.
    • Distinguishing burnout from lack of proper training in emotional intelligence.
    • Breaking the stigma that emotions and seeking help to address emotions is weak.
    • Identifying hidden, unconscious events in our past that still impacts and manifests in the present.
    • Transfer of stress to other people.




View our Animal Welfare Webinar  Schedule and Recordings



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 in Core Area 4 (Officer Wellness & Mental Health) 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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