BURLINGTON, Ky. (AP) - A northern Kentucky county has been able
to put more animal control officers on the street after partnering
with a local junior college to let students gain practical
experience toward veterinary training.
The partnership between Boone County Animal Shelter and Brown
Mackie College Northern Kentucky added enough help to allow animal
control to add a second shift of officers, officials at the shelter
Animal control officers respond to animal-related complaints in
"The externs and the students assist us in the everyday care
duties as well as intake processing, vaccinations, microchips and
testing," Beckey Reiter, shelter director, told The Kentucky
Enquirer. "My assistant vet technicians can then help with
administrative duties and that frees up the officers that had to
work in here. It has a triple effect."
Last year, 1,462 animals were picked up by animal control
officers. In addition, 1,321 dogs, 1,172 cats and 266 "other
species" were received at the shelter.
Brown Mackie, a private junior college with 24 locations in the
United States, started the two-year associate's degree program in
2008 and recently graduated its first students. It has also
received its provisional accreditation from the American Veterinary
Students must have a combination of classroom time and hands-on
experience to graduate, so the program helps fill degree
"It is very beneficial to us," said Julie Tucker, a
veterinarian and clinical coordinator for Brown Mackie. "They
provide us with a great facility and, of course, the animals to
A veterinary technician is the equivalent of a nurse for humans,
"They not only assist doctors with whatever we need them to do,
but they run the pharmacy, they do the lab work, they prep animals
for surgery, radiology. They do just about everything," Tucker
said. "They also have to learn to handle all different types of
Doing field work at a shelter also allows the students to deal
with incidents of abuse and neglect that they are less likely to
see in a private practice.
"It takes a special person to be able to deal with abused or
neglected animals on a daily basis," Tucker said.
Michelle Carrigan, 34, of New Richmond, Ohio, said the field
work at the shelter has been invaluable to her education.
"I put a lot of volunteer hours in here when I first started
the program and there were things that they were working with me on
here before we got to it in class," Carrigan said.
The veterinary technician program at Brown Mackie has about 150
Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)