With more than 800 dogs in the City of Norwich, it can be a full-time job ensuring that they don’t become nuisances to the community.
“The ultimate goal of dog control is to make the owners responsible for their dogs,” said Norwich’s Dog Control Officer Jeremy Stopford.
“If you told me 25 years ago I’d be doing this for 25 years, I would’ve called you crazy,” he joked.
Stopford allowed me to tag along with him earlier in the week as he began his afternoon dog patrol. Apart from his animal control duties, Jeremy also conducts traffic control at emergency calls inside the city, fills in for school crossing guards when needed and enforces parking rules. “Ever since we got rid of the meters, it’s a lot more work than it used to be,” said Jeremy.
Before going out for our patrol through the city, I got a crash course in dog safety and capture tactics. “I’ve been doing this for so long that basically I’ll probably know most of the dogs we might come across and 98 percent of the time all it takes is a dog treat and a gentle hand,” he said.
Jeremy showed me what might happen the other 2 percent of the time by showing me how to use a catch pole. These long metal poles have a loop of rope on one end and a pull string on the other. Wwhen you get the loop around the dog’s neck, you pull the string and lock it in. “I don’t really like to use it that often because the dogs are afraid of it and it makes them more unpredictable,” he said.