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'We Are More Than Just Dog Catchers’

Skunks, fisher cats, bears, bobcats and even an emu wandering along the Berlin Turnpike, the staff at Berlin Animal Control does a lot more than simply chase down dogs and cats.

Credit: Jason Vallee.
Credit: Jason Vallee.
Don’t call them dogcatchers.

Yes, it is part of what staff at the Berlin Animal Control facility do – one of many items on the long checklist of responsibilities that includes response, outreach and facility operations – but the department provides so much more, including pet adoptions and services throughout the community.


“A lot of people look at the department and think of us as dog catchers,” Berlin Animal Control Officer Jan Lund said. “Many of our calls come from response to wildlife or other needs.”

Meet the staff at Berlin Animal Control, a two-woman show that thrives on a love of animals and a growing need for animal support, response and care throughout Berlin.

Lund and Assistant Animal Control Officer Jenna Hagert certainly don’t have a shortage of things to do. When Patch first went to meet the staff at Berlin Animal Control to see the facility and learn more about the business, staff was forced to cancel.

It wasn’t that they didn’t want to meet but after three morning calls for various concerns around the community including feral cats, Assistant Animal Control Officer Jenna Hagert was forced to spend the afternoon searching for a rabid skunk that, without warning, had bitten a woman as she was gardening.

“We’ve had cals for almost everything you could imagine,” Hagert said. “There have been calls for bobcats, we’ve gotten a lot of reports of bears lately – we even had an emu wandering on the Berlin Turnpike

There have been iguanas, turtles, lizards, ferrets and more.

The facility, located off Christian Lane, is certainly a busy place and Lund and Hagert have made it work, officials with the Berlin police Department said. But they are certainly busy.

The one aspect many people don’t realize, however, is that the facility is a no kill shelter that offers pet adoptions, mainly dogs and cats. Hagert and Lund each said the department is looking for homes for these animals.

“Every animal is evaluated, nurtured back to health if necessary and we follow a strict adoption process,” Hagert said. “We want to make sure we are providing a proper service and that everyone who is adopted to go home is able to stay there.”

The animals aren’t locked in cages all day. The cages are important, especially with a large quantity of animals receiving help from the shelter, but Lund and Hagert give each their own outdoor time in the back, clean the facilities daily and feed the animals.

In addition, Hagert runs a Facebook page for the department in an effort to help put the word out and receive caring home.

“For us, the passion is in the service,” she said. “We love what we do.”

For more, visit the department’s Facebook page or on the town website.


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James September 25, 2013 at 09:23 AM
Being quite familiar with many town animal control departments, in and outside the state of CT, through my support of non-profit and concerned citizen dog rescue efforts, I must commend the Berlin Animal Control Officers for their compassion, consideration, and fine results. They are doing a great job. I think it is also important to recognize something not all Berlin residents may be aware of, Berlin is one of only a small contingent of No Kill Animal Shelters in CT. And CT is one of a small contingent of states that has no kill shelters at all. Berlin’s Animal Shelter remains a no kill shelter because there are enough informed, concerned and also diligent residents that believe it is the moral, right thing to do. Many people here in Berlin, and in other towns don’t give a second thought or are aware of the dog, cat and other animals' increasingly worsening plight. Truth is there are thousands of dogs, cats and other animals in CT shelters, kill shelters and dog pounds all around us. Just go next door to New Britain to see for yourself. Next time, you think about getting a dog take some time to think about all the beautiful, wonderful dogs and other animals that are in cages on death row, waiting desperately to be saved and adopted into o a good home, or to be just 1 good person’s companion. There are so many great dogs out there that need someone to rescue them. They can be mature, young or puppies; some are already spayed or neutered, house trained and/or have great potential. They don’t care where you live, what you do, what you look like or how old you are, they just want to be you friend and comrade. So think of adopting or even temporally fostering a dog or cat in need before you buy one, and please donate to the any of the honest, hard working non-profit Dog, Cat and animal rescue groups that exist all around us. They are diligently trying to educate people and are working hard save lives every day. It feels good to give, even a little.

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