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Law, Order, and Animal Welfare

Officer in Washington state says her job combines her passions

Nicole Montano’s job has taken her from a spider-infested culvert underneath a highway to a courtroom where she nervously awaited the outcome of a dogfighting trial. And in each place, she chalked up a victory.

  • Nicole Montano says her position as lead animal protection officer in Spokane County is perfect for her because it allows her to pursue her passions for law enforcement and animal welfare. She helped secure the first felony dogfighting conviction in Washington state. Jackie Bell/Sp9okane County Regional Animal Protection Service

Montano, 35, the lead animal protection officer for Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service (SCRAPS) in Washington state, says one of the most memorable rescues in her eight years on the job occurred when she had to retrieve a dog who had wandered into the culvert under I-90, a busy freeway. The opening was barely big enough for Montano to fit, but she crawled about 30 feet in—contending with some “very scary” spiders—and managed to get a control pole around the dog and slowly pull him out.

She experienced a different kind of triumph in 2008, when she helped secure the first felony dogfighting conviction in Washington state. The case began in 2007 with a call about a dog running at large, dragging a heavy chain. The dog was gone by the time Montano arrived, but she discovered an illegal kennel with eight adult dogs, exceeding the county limit of four.

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