To the Rescue

If you have ever lost or found a pet, or just notice a wild animal that’s sick or injured, you can call Naperville’s Animal Control. Officers with the Animal Control Unit at the Naperville Police Department spend everyday picking up strays and helping injured animals.

Two kittens may be able to find a loving home thanks to the officers. About a week ago, they found the kittens living under a porch. Saving kittens is just one example of the work the officers do. On any given day officers can go on anywhere from five to 20 calls.

“The call could be for a stray dog, a sick cat, an injured raccoon,” said Joanne Aul, Animal Control Supervisor, Naperville Police Department. “Sometimes we’ll get the guinea pigs, the rabbits, the cockatiels. Once in awhile we’ll get those exotic animals such as the big snakes. We’ve even had an arctic fox here.”

When the officers find an animal they bring them to the Animal Control Facility and see if they can find an owner, or if it is micro chipped. If no owner is found within seven days, they will bring the animal to a nearby shelter.

But not all animals the officers find are domestic. Naperville has quite a range in exotic wildlife.

“Everything from your basic raccoons and skunks,” said Aul. “But there’s also mink in the area, and maybe a migrating bird. If we find anything that is sick or injured and we think they can be rehabilitated, they will go over to Willowbrook Wildlife Center.”

Working with wild animals can be a dangerous job for the officers, but the danger doesn’t worry them. Afterall, it’s a love for animals that attract the officers to their job, and sometimes they even form a bond with the animals they save.
“We just have to be aware there’s only so many animals that we can keep at our houses,” said Aul. “Some of them we know they’re better off in a shelter, or with a new family, but you wouldn’t be doing this job for a number of years if you didn’t care.”

At the end of the day, the officers can go home feeling proud that they have helped an animal have shelter for the night, or maybe even find a new home where they can be loved.

The Naperville Animal Control Unit is available to pick up animals on Monday through Friday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. If you find an animal that needs help during the off hours, you can call the Police Department’s non-emergency number at (630) 420-6666.

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