By request I am here from an ELI5 about pigeons that blew up.

I also work in parking enforcement if you guys have questions related to that subject as well.

Edit: The comments on the ELI5 post regarding the pigeons gained in popularity. Pigeons did not blow up. No pigeons were harmed

Edit: I frequent reddit quite regularly and will be your answering questions sooner or later. Do not be discouraged if I don't get to your question right away.

Comments: 408 • Responses: 62  • Date: 

Femineesta110 karma

I AM SO EXCITED YOU'RE DOING THIS AMA! I am awaiting a call for an animal control job i applied to because believe it or not, I've always wanted this kind of position! Do you work weekends? What kind of shifts do you work? Is there third shift? Do you work with the police a lot? Is there a lot of driving around until you get a call or is your day pretty planned out (other than the go get that dead animal)? How often do you deal with wildlife opposed to domestic pets? I have so many thoughts I wanna get out!

*EDIT Also I have to go to bed now but wanted to get my questions out. Trust me I will reply if you reply in a few hours!

SirOtterPop75 karma

I work 5 days a week 8 hour shifts. Sunday through Thursday. I'd say my work between wild life and domestic animals is pretty equal. You mainly feel like a taxi service picking animals up and taking them where they need to go. It only gets crazy when the call comes out that there has been a dog fight and you show up to see one dog covered in blood and one dog dead. Then its report writing time.

Huffflepuff9290 karma

Any funny stories from the job?

SirOtterPop396 karma

The funniest days are when you get to watch a co worker get sprayed by a skunk. The worst days are when you get sprayed by a skunk.

Edit: Spelling

Dachshundguy55 karma

The worst day I ever had was when I was SPAYED by a skunk

jigg413 karma

I only know skunks from cartoons and Hollywood. Are they really that bad smelling? How long did it took you to get rid of the scent?

SirOtterPop13 karma

They are as bad as you can imagine. Its just a rotten egg and garlic combo that stays with you all day.

blackEAGle756 karma

Where do you often find these dead pigeons?

SirOtterPop74 karma

Dead pigeons are usually found in the streets like most dead animals. I do respond to many calls though at people's houses where they may have a dead animal or bird somewhere on their property.

trouser_tiger54 karma

How often do you find roadkill with get well soon balloons?

SirOtterPop48 karma

Absolutely never haha well at least not yet.

BeardleySmith50 karma

Do you wear a cool uniform and do you daydream about suddenly being able to talk to the animals ?

SirOtterPop94 karma

My uniform is pretty cool I suppose. It resembles a police officers uniform in some aspects like a badge and department patches. Being able to talk to animals would make my job a lot easier but I mostly day dream of eventually becoming a police officer.

slowbro20219 karma

Is your favorite movie Ace Ventura?

Also, I can't imagine being able to talk to animals would be particularly helpful or remotely like how it's been dreamed up in various books/movies.

SirOtterPop29 karma

When nature calls is one of my favorite movies

Trailmagic10 karma

Why do you want to switch to law enforcement?

SirOtterPop28 karma

Its not really a switch for me since I work for a police department and I do enforce the law as it pertains to animals, but police officers make more money with great benefits.

OUT_OF_STEP_4 karma

What's stopping you, or holding you up from becoming a police officer?

SirOtterPop18 karma

Just gaining that experience and closing in on my bachelors degree.

lopesito9642 karma

What is the weirdest/exotic/dangerous animal you've picked up?

SirOtterPop74 karma

That would have to be the only and only snake I have picked up. Since they are not native to our city our training is quite limited. We have a special pillow case like bag attached to a pole that's made specifically for snakes but not having extensive training in capturing snakes with it made for an interesting capture.

ObsidianOne33 karma

Do you ever have to assist with euthanasia? If so, what is your opinion of a 'heart stick' method? There's a lot of controversy at my local shelter about this and there are a lot of rumors about how horrible these can go if it accidentally goes into a lung or something.

Do you ever have any moments that make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside, like you've done really good?
Also, thank you for the job that you do. Honestly, I could ride in a meat wagon and pick up dead humans off the road, but I'd turn into a giant vagina if I had to see sick or injured animals. Just can't do it.

SirOtterPop55 karma

I forced my self to watch the stick method used to just get a taste of the real world possibility for some animals. The vets that work at the shelter expressed the harsh and unrealistic standards they are to abide by according to the state and I understand the circumstances that make it hard for them to abide by the standards. I have never met any professional in my field who didn't have the animals best interests at heart even in the process of putting them down.

A lot of my warm fuzzy feelings come in just the successful capture of injured animals and getting them to the appropriate rehab facility safely. Also reuniting families with lost dogs I pick up is pretty cool too.

SirOtterPop30 karma

I am trying to get verification with the mods set up but do to a very slow internet its proving very difficult but as long as they allow me to answer your questions while I work on the verification I will answer you.

gtaomg23 karma

Has your work affected you very much? (Dealing with sick, dying, and dead creatures)

Are you religious, or adherent to any faith at all? Do you think the nature of your job has affected your beliefs or their nonexistence?

SirOtterPop62 karma

Great question, but no. I am a god fearing man but I am certainly not a by the book believer. More of an open to interpretation man my self. I understand the animal kingdoms natural order. I am ok with circle of life but if you are not ok with seeing suffering or injured animals whether wild or domestic this is not the job for you. You have to constantly remind your self that the few minutes of discomfort animals are put through in order to capture them could save their lives.

xreefersutherland16 karma

About how many pigeons per day (PPD) would you say you find while working?

SirOtterPop25 karma

My PPD is relatively low. I pick up dead animals everyday but with such variety it could be a number of different animals. Pigeons specifically I'd say two or three a week that are dead is the average but some months we barely get any and others we get a lot. The season has a lot to do with it.

XanderAG7 karma

You say you pick up dead animals every day. Do you just toss them in the back of a truck or something? Do you wait until the end of the day to dispose of them, or do you go do it straight away?

SirOtterPop17 karma

Each dead animal gets put in a black trash bag and placed in the "dead" bin of my truck. Every couple of days I drive to the local shelter and log in all my deads and toss them in a 50 gallon drum. Those drums get placed in a huge walk in freezer and picked up once a month by a trash truck that takes the dead animals to get incinerated

horsenbuggy6 karma

You keep dead animals in the back of your truck for a couple of days at a time? Do you keep that vehicle at home or at work?

SirOtterPop3 karma

The truck stays at work. Unless its a skunk there really isn't smell if they sit for a day or two in my truck. I can't really take the time to run each individual dead animal to a shelter that's out side my city so I take the couple days to get a few and do it in one run.

wayofthepencil14 karma

So you find an extremely injured, but alive wild animal. It's not going to live. Do you put it down, or risk capturing it?

SirOtterPop37 karma

We are not authorized to perform euthanasia so we will always do our absolute best to capture the animal and transport it to a facility so that it can be put down humanely and most importantly end its suffering.

Ro812 karma

Do you pick up animals used in religious/voodoo ceremonies? From I understand in many (if not all) places people have the right to sacrifice animals for religion, is that true? How do you handle those?

SirOtterPop17 karma

This sounds very interesting and is something I've never thought about. I have no experience with something like this and really don't know how we'd handle it.

kmfrtblynumb10 karma

I live in San Diego and almost 40 beagle puppies have recently been recovered from a hoarder's home. Everyone seems to want one, and I was curious how animal control decides who is best suited to adopt these adorable pups. Is it first come, first serve? Also, if someone is interested in adopting a certain breed of puppy, will the shelter take their number and call them when one comes in?

SirOtterPop13 karma

In that case we would log each puppy into a local shelter. After a couple days the puppies would be available for adoption. A lot of rescue groups constantly monitor the dogs coming into local shelters and there's no doubt in my mind cute beagle puppies would be scooped up relatively quickly.

bluebrd9 karma

What are the largest animals you've dealt with?

SirOtterPop13 karma

I received calls from my dispatch to monitor activity of whales that were very close to shore. The largest animals I deal with more hands on would be seals dead or alive

IWasElectrocuted2 karma

I called animal control yesterday because of a sick baby seal on the beach. Are you getting a lot of those calls lately?

SirOtterPop3 karma

Yes very much so warmer waters are driving their food away. Its also the season they are getting weened off from their parents and expected to find their own food. The combination of these two things is not good.

gogogadget698 karma

Do you have all the same authority that a city LEO has?

SirOtterPop23 karma

I am assuming your acronym stands for law enforcement officer. I do not. They are considered sworn personnel by the state and have a lot more powers than I do. My job does not require the powers they have but in the extreme and rare cases of animal cruelty and things of that nature they are just a radio call away.

TwoCraZyEyes07 karma

How many animals do you find that have been beaten/abused by their owners?

SirOtterPop16 karma

Very very very few. We get rare cases with hoarders that the condition of the house can be considered abuse but cases of intentional animal abuse is very very rare.

shimmyshimmyy7 karma

Are you like spiderman finding these dead pigeons?

SirOtterPop24 karma

Nah no webs shooting out of my wrists. Would make capturing animals a lot easier though...

Jane11066 karma

What's the most dangerous situation you've had to deal in your job?

SirOtterPop8 karma

The danger is always in dealing with a loose dog that is very aggressive. There's always the risk of them attacking and landing a bite. I am only armed with the cliche catchers pole you see in movies. Knock on wood I haven't been bitten yet. You imagine looking cujo in the face and having to wrangle him up.

jigg45 karma

In times where a lot of dangerous infection come from animals, are you afraid to catch something yourself? Do you have to test those dead animals if there is currently an infection spreading over the world?

SirOtterPop6 karma

We get calls for our county regarding diseases spreading in a certain animal. Usually we know something is up before they call because of the rapid deaths that may be occurring that's unusual. I'm not worried about catching anything because a lot of the diseases can't be transmitted directly from the animal to me

procrastinosis5 karma

Do you enjoy your job? What would you say the best and worst things are about being an animal control officer?

SirOtterPop15 karma

I definitely like my job. I wouldn't say love because its not my career goal. The best days are getting to reunite families with their lost dogs. The days that are not so great are dealing with the dead animals and the condition the bodies are in by the time I get to them. Some of the smells are truly undescribable.

dchanman6 karma

If you don't me asking, is animal control part of your career goal or just a detour along the way?

SirOtterPop7 karma

Detour along the way. It's great experience in the field and allows me to continue working on my bachelors.

livinlifesweet4 karma

Is this job ever emotionally distressful? Having to catch strays, picking up dead pigeons, getting sprayed by skunks. Sounds like a lot to have to go through.

SirOtterPop4 karma

Because there's only one animal control officer working at a time in my city I can get swamped calls and paperwork and follow ups. That can become distressing but then you get a slow week and catch back up.

apestate4 karma

I recently noticed a raccoon in San Francisco Golden Gate Park with a glass jar stuck on its head. I reported it to the park rangers and pointed them to the area. How would you proceed, if you could find the animal?

SirOtterPop3 karma

I had a squirrel with a yogurt container stuck on his head he was hard to catch but I got him and pulled the yogurt container off and he ran off! Very rewarding.

hyperFresh3 karma

I've heard that California is having trouble with feral chickens. Is that true? Ever think of grilling up any of your catches?

SirOtterPop5 karma

Definitely not a huge deal deal in my city. Truly non existent really. If we get a chicken or a pig its because someone brought it in to the city

ObsidianOne3 karma

Is this AMA still happening? Says [removed].

SirOtterPop12 karma

It should be still happening.

lapekes2 karma

How many ways is there really to skin a cat?

I have heard four, but may need an expert to confirm.

SirOtterPop2 karma

Don't skin. Can't confirm.

kminsf2 karma

How often do you come across rabid animals? I'm in san francisco, there are a lot of raccoon's, skunks and possums (even coyotes lol) I worry about the pets in the area.... What are things to watch out for? Thanks

SirOtterPop2 karma

We haven't had a case of rabies in over 30 years. We get some west nile and distemper. But these aren't as contagious and transferable. Its the fleas, ticks and mosquito's that do most the transferring.

darkmagic14n2 karma

How do I get rid of a raccoon in my attic? I don't want to seal up the hole and block him in, but I also don't want to venture into the attic where he is cornered. I caught him sneaking in a few times and he just stands there and stares at me, he was not scared by my animal sounds or me throwing things at him.

SirOtterPop3 karma

I know a lot of animal control units like my self don't go in to attics. You can rent a trap and go for it your self or contact a local trapper and they'll get him out no problem

antiqua_lumina2 karma

Hi, thanks for doing this AMA! My question is unrelated to pigeons but I hope you take it anyway.

It is my understanding that factory farms are not regulated by federal law except at slaughterhouses, but that California's animal cruelty law does apply to factory farm facilities.

So I am wondering if there are any factory farms in your county, and, if so, what you understand your animal control authority to be there. Do you ever exercise that authority to investigate facilities with reported cruelty? Would you exercise that authority to inspect facilities if someone presented you with some evidence raising suspicion of animal cruelty? We hear about stray dogs, and pigeons I guess, but don't hear much about animal control's relationship to extreme confinement, unsanitary conditions, and cruel practices for animals in agriculture.

SirOtterPop5 karma

I hate to disappoint but because I work in a coastal city we do not have such farms but I'm sure they would provide quite the head ache.

VoltageCaek2 karma

Although they won the Super Bowl this past season, the Patriots could start out rough again. How would you, if you were Bill Belichick, make the Patriots a contender for the next Super Bowl?

SirOtterPop21 karma

As a green bay packer fan I can tell you it wouldn't matter because Aaron Rodgers and the packers are winning that next year.

Micho_Rizzo1 karma

Not if the Cowboys have anything to do with it

SirOtterPop1 karma


samc7112 karma

Papermate or Sharpie?

SirOtterPop8 karma


OMGparty2 karma

I'm late to the game but still submitting a question in the hope you'll come back to answer.

One of my good friends works as a vet tech, and in the past has been called by law enforcement to help with animal situations. She once had to subdue an otter that had jumped into a car and refused to get out. She said that angry otters are the most vicious animals she's ever had to work with. She also said that they are smart enough that eventually you realize they are playing with you. Her conclusion was that otters are jerks.

Given your potentially relevant username, what's your opinion? Are most otters jerks?

SirOtterPop3 karma

I'm a pretty nice guy I think. My username is more related to the delicious and affordable Otter Pop Popsicles. I have never had to call a vet out to help me. We call a rescue group for sea animals that assist with the capture and then they are transported to a rehab facility with vets that are trained for a specific animal

stevejobsthecow2 karma

What advice would you have for prospective animal control officers?

SirOtterPop6 karma

This largely depends on whether or not the animal control agency is an entity of a police department. I'd assume every animal control agency will use mostly the same processes. For me I've always wanted to work for a police department and understood I'd be subject to a polygraph and a back round investigation. I have lived my life accordingly abiding by the law. Also learn to write well in all capitals.

stevejobsthecow2 karma

Nice. Thanks for your response. Also, are there any pregame rituals you have before going on a job?

SirOtterPop2 karma

I have a bad habit of dipping chewing tobacco. Since there is only one animal control working two months at a time in my city the chewing tobacco allows me to take a couple minutes to my self and gather all my paper work and focus on one situation at a time

PicaRuler1 karma

Thanks for the AMA! What animals do you have to deal with most commonly and have you ever been bitten/scratched/attacked on the job?

SirOtterPop7 karma

And my most common is definitely dogs. Dogs that are loose, barking excessively, or that have bitten someone or attacked another dog.

applejam12241 karma

How do you deal with dogs that bark excessively?

SirOtterPop1 karma

Its a long process. We have to provide notice and work with the dog owner. Sometimes they ignore us and we get a call a guy ego coordinates with the dog owner and the people who are complaining to reach a resolution. Eventually if it keeps happening a stop leaving notices and begin writing crime reports with the city as the victim. From there it goes to a prosecutor and to the court where they could face fees and penalties.

SirOtterPop6 karma

I am one of the few that has yet to be bitten or scratched. We understand in our job its more of a matter of when not if.


Hows your relationship with the sheriffs/PD? Do they respect you guys?

SirOtterPop2 karma

They certainly do since we work for the police department just as we do. Its a smaller city department so everyone kind of knows everyone

chelley931 karma

Do shows like Animal Cops represent your job fairly well or no? In what ways do they get it right; how do they get it wrong?

SirOtterPop3 karma

I feel like most the shows focus on big game like boars and alligators. We get some pigs but they are always domestic pigs people want to keep. I'm just in more of a city and don't get the exciting animals the shows get more often.

StaleRomantic1 karma

Just curious how much do you make?

SirOtterPop3 karma

Low to mid 20s an hour.

marcomosh1 karma

Do you guys use bite terminators ? Basically some glorified umbrella for deterring dogs .... Some crazy Texan came up to Canada and was selling them up here to big cities

SirOtterPop2 karma

We certainly do not haha I wish. We just have our catchers pole and our wits.

ModsAreCunts1 karma

Why did you, or one if your peers, pick now to camp out at what has been an unofficial dog park for 20+ years in Newport Beach and give tickets to everyone without any warnings? Are you hurting for cash? It's Newport Beach, we'd gladly buy you a sandwich. Just stop giving us tickets for playing with our dogs. My citation was for using an extendable leash. Get a life.

SirOtterPop3 karma

In my job you learn to stop feeling sorry for people who ignore the law or find gray area in it. I don't know much about new port beach but if they don't allow dogs in city parks and the community has created an unofficial dog park I'd cut those guys some slack. You have to understand we are the front line soldiers at the bottom of the totem pole where shit falls down and lands on us. Big wigs make decisions and never have to hear the recourse we do from the upset public. I bet half those guys don't even want to. But it only takes one aggro officer to clip off a bunch of cites and now you look like a lazy officer to your supervisors because you don't have any cites.

ass_ass_ino1 karma

Last weekend I was hanging out on a pier near LA, watching the ocean. One of the fishermen accidentally hooked a seal, who was struggling to break free but couldn't. No one knew what to do, and finally the guy just cut the fishing line.

I was struck by this - the poor seal swam away, but he still had the hook in his mouth and was now trailing 15 feet of fishing line.

Was this the right way to handle it? How do you deal with aquatic animals? Or is that up to the coast guard or something?

SirOtterPop5 karma

Its legal to fish off the pier and the seals are use to that and enjoy stealing the fisherman's catch. Unfortunately they do get caught from time to time. If it truly hampers their lives they soon get hungry and weak and return to shore where we catch them and rehab them and eventually release them.

miketo31 karma

Do you ever encounter pets that were purposely thrown into the ocean as a means of getting rid of them? I assume you would be able to tell if the pet is registered if the animal was tagged with an id chip?

SirOtterPop2 karma

Never has happened with the ocean thing. We get abandoned animals leashed to trees or dumped at a park. Rare but it happens.

Nolan_Chancellor0 karma

So what percentage of the animals you have to control usually tell you they "Din Do Nuffins" and have their mom/dad come out and say "He/She iz a good kid, 'bout to go to college n sheeeit"???

SirOtterPop1 karma

Very very few.

xanxer0 karma

Do you ever cross paths with large marine wildlife? If so, how did you handle it?

SirOtterPop1 karma

Oh yeah. We deal with seals all the time. If they appear sick or injured we call a rescue that sends a guy out and assist with the capture. That can get exciting. Once we catch one its transported to a real nice rehab facility. We get calls for whales that get dangerously close to shore. I've heard stories from old timers that a whale got beached in the 80s and a tug boat responded to pull it back out to sea.

mylifeasdev0 karma

Since you see dog fights often, Do you believe that pitbulls are vicious and born killers? What is the worst dogfighting situation you've seen?

SirOtterPop1 karma

Yes. I've seen two dogs die at the attack of a pit bull in the pass two months. Its always the same circumstances. A pit bull gets loose and attacks a smaller terrier breed someone may be walking. Other breeds get loose but pits seems to be the only ones that attack. I can only speak of my experiences and that's basically what it is.

PleaseEngageBrain0 karma

Are you scared of big white bats ?

SirOtterPop1 karma

Terrified. If you need help with that I suggest calling ace Ventura. He's a good guy, little eccentric but a good guy.

[deleted]-1 karma


SirOtterPop3 karma

verification sent.