Heading up efforts to keep the City’s animals safe and neighbors at peace is Animal Control Officer Ken Tuttle. Tuttle previously held the role of animal control officer for the City and has recently returned to the role.
Valley News recently sat down with Tuttle and Grain Valley Police Department Captain Scott Hedger, supervising officer over animal control, to learn more about their work in the community.
One of the most well known duties of an animal control officer is managing the City’s lost and found animals. Tuttle explains that reports of lost pets increase in the spring for several reasons.
Dogs are often frightened by storms and can run off in fear. Broken tree limbs can also damage fences and create an opportunity for dogs to escape their yard. Tuttle encourages owners to stay aware during bad weather and inspect their yards and fences for damage regularly.
“Ken is really good about finding owners. He usually finds out who the owner is and gets back to them before they have to go to our housing,” Hedger said.
The City contracts with Oak Grove Animal Clinic to house lost animals who cannot be immediately reunited with their owners.
“We have a 5 day standard hold. After that period, we work with a number of rescues who help with foster homes and adoptions,” Tuttle said.
Pet owners are required to license their pets annually with the City, and those registration tags can be helpful if a pet is found by animal control. Pet owners are also encouraged to microchip their pets and update the registration annually..
“We try to stress that with everyone, because it makes the process so much easier to get the animal back to their owners quickly. Often, a stray dog or cat manages to wriggle out of or lose their color and ID tags, so the microchip is the last line of defense to identify the animal,” Tuttle said.
Tuttle monitors social media as well, but sees the tool as a mixed blessing. It is sometimes helpful when trying to locate a pet owner, but both Tuttle and Hedger warn against trying to approach or temporarily house an animal you do not know.
“My recommendation to residents who find a dog is to first call animal control. The main reason is for safety. Even a social dog could give you an issue if you try to grab it. I would suggest giving Ken a call and having him handle the situation,” Hedger said.
Grain Valley does not have any breed restrictions, but there are restrictions regarding the number of animals allowed per household. A maximum of four (4) animals above the age of 6 months are allowed.
Outside of reuniting wandering pets with their owners, Tuttle spends a good portion of his time investigating and moderating complaints.
“The biggest complaint we come across is the noise complaint or excessive barking complaint. It really is a grey area when it comes to that. Dogs bark – it’s what they do. It is more of a common courtesy among neighbors to monitor your pets and bring them in or distract them if they are excessively barking,” Tuttle said.
As temperatures rise in the summer, Tuttle also fields many calls related to dogs who are outside without proper shelter or water.
“Owners just need to be aware and plan ahead if they need to leave their dogs outside while they are at work or on an errand. Some dogs are better equipped for the climate. A double coated dog like a Husky or a Chow obviously won’t do well in the summer heat without proper shelter and plenty of water,” Tuttle said.
Tuttle emphasizes that educating and moderating disagreements is his primary goal, not punishment.
“Accidents happen. Someone leaves the gate open, or the kids forget to shut the door and an animal gets out. It is only when it becomes a routine or neglectful that we have an issue,” Tuttle said.
“I’ts not about writing tickets and handing out fines,” Hedger said. “Those are the steps we take if all other efforts have failed, but our chief role is as an educator and diplomat.”
“That’s right. There are times where my role is just to drop the tailgate down on the truck and have a discussion,” Tuttle said.
“I’ve seen Ken sit on the tailgate of the truck with two neighbors who had a long standing disagreement and by the end they were able to peacefully co-exist,” Hedger said.
To reach Officer Tuttle, call 816-847-6264 or email email@example.com.
For more information on the City’s Animal Control policies, visit https://www.cityofgrainvalley.org/departments/police/animal-control/.
Animal Control Officer Ken Tuttle patrols Grain Valley, reuniting lost pets with owners and keeping the peace among neighbors. To reach Officer Tuttle, call 816-847-6264 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo courtesy of City of Grain Valley.