When I posted here about our experience with the dog, I mentioned the lack of response from animal control.
Since that point, I have managed to get some correspondence with the officer on the case.
It seems that our case, reported at 6:30 p.m., got assigned to the officer that comes on duty at 9:30 p.m. Presumably the officer on duty when our case was called in was too busy with other cases. That and the fact that we live north of the river, where animal control is centered south of the river, ensured that any response we got would be delayed.
So the officer is given a case 3 hours old, and calls to find out about it (dispatch didn’t convey even 25% of what we had reported to them to him), can’t get us because we’ve given up on them and gone to bed, and comes out and tries to investigate the cold trail. He doesn’t find anything, leaves a hanging note on our door at 2:38 a.m., and reports back in.
We get the messages the next day, try to reach him, leave a message for him that gets waylaid so he doesn’t know to call us on Thursday night, and it takes me until I get his e-mail off the placard he left and e-mail him that he gives us a call on Friday night to explain to us what happens, and our possible responses.
Before we get his call all we have is the placard, which is a circle the blanks thing to cover all cases, and reads almost as if we are at fault for even bothering to try to report the incident. By that point we really wonder why it is worth even contacting the authorities at all about these cases. (I still feel like that question still is up in the air on the best answer.)
But the result of the whole situation is that animal control is just about as calling the police on 911. When seconds count in a crisis, animal control, or the police, will still be minutes away. All they can really do is clean up. That even sort of goes to calling 911 for a medical emergency. They come as fast as they can, if available, to clean up, and possibly rescue if things haven’t gone too far.
Do I think we should be without these services? No, they are essential, but I also think we are remiss if we come to count on them as the first line of protection. We need to be our own protection, and that of our neighbors; we are the first responders, and possibly the second and third, depending on how long it takes for the authorities to prioritize our particular situation and respond. It doesn’t matter whether you are in a “free” country or a “totalitarian” one, the state cannot be the first responder, there just isn’t the resources and omniscience for them to do so.