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The "101" Department: Tooling Around

High-tech gear is changing the face of animal control, but is it just “boys and their toys”?

High-tech gear is changing the face of animal control, but is it just “boys and their toys”?

Animal care and control officer Josh Cusick of the Montgomery County Animal Resource Center in Dayton, Ohio, uses a sturdy model of laptop computer, attached to a dock in his truck, to help him track his field calls. MONTGOMERY COUNTY ANIMAL RESOURCE CENTER
Looking for a gift for the field officer who has everything? How about a noncontact infrared thermometer with laser targeting? Or a GPS-enabled digital camera that tags images with the time, date, and precise geographic coordinates of the site where the photo was taken? Or a compressed-air-powered capture device that fires a large net at its target?

They all sound like gadgets you’d expect to find in Batman’s lair, or perhaps built into one of James Bond’s Aston Martins. But in fact, they’re either on the market now or—in the case of the net-launching device—soon will be. And the time’s rapidly approaching when you could start seeing them commonly used by professionals in the animal protection field.

There’s a diversity of emerging or recently introduced technology out there, much of it designed for use in other industries (such as law enforcement and the military), that savvy ACOs are adapting for use in their fieldwork. Some pieces of equipment are prohibitively expensive for the average agency, but others have dropped in price as the technology has improved and become widely available.

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