BRENHAM, Texas — When a pet owner interacts with police officers following an animal call, it’s often not a comfortable experience. In Brenham, the city police department and animal shelter have a new tool that could improve those interactions.
Brenham PD oversees the management of its city animal shelter, with at least two animal control officers on staff to respond to incidents such as dog bites.
"Of course people are very protective of their animals," said Capt. Dant Lange, who oversees animal control for Brenham PD. "In some cases that’s their child. So our officers learn how to be compassionate and understand that, and then explain what we’re doing. We’re not here to come take your animal, and it’s not that you have a bad animal. It’s just that there are processes and things we need to do to ensure the safety of the animal and of the person that got bit.”
Preventing problems related to animals is a priority for the department, and the acquisition of a community outreach vehicle just might help.
"It’ll have a few different uses," said Allison Harper, Brenham PD Animal Services manager. "First and foremost we want to use it as a community outreach vehicle, as it looks a bit more friendly and approachable than our regular animal control trucks.”
Harper said the multi-purpose vehicle will also make appearances at farmer's markets, show off shelter animals ready for adoption, and be used to transport shelter animals to their veterinary appointments.
The car was fashioned out of a retired police K-9 cruiser and contains space to safely transport companion animals. Educational material such as coloring books for children is stored in special cubbies within the rear cargo space.
"This gives us the opportunity to go out in a vehicle that doesn’t look so much like the dog catcher’s coming to enforce something," Harper noted. "So we can have more of an opportunity to chat with people. And if we get to a point where things aren’t changing or improving, then we can come out as animal control.”
The vehicle hit the streets earlier this month and it's already being spotted; turning heads, and wagging tails.