FAPAA supports the inclusion of Animal Control Officers into the list of Career Service Classes eligible for Special Risk Retirement under the Florida Retirement System. This is consistent with support from the National Animal Care and Control Association (NACA) policy statement that animal field service professionals (animal control, animal protection, etc.), should be considered and treated as first responders. The Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Systems define first responders as “individuals who in the early stages of an incident are responsible for the protection and preservation of life, property, evidence, and the environment”. Animal Control Officers and other animal field services professionals meet this definition.
Animal Control Officers routinely engage in situations involving unknown hazards from dangerous animals, engage in situations of animal cruelty or other abusive situations which may require assistance from law enforcement. Animal control officers provide assistance to both law enforcement and firefighters in cases and situations involving animals and meet all the arduous employment demands worthy of special risk class status.
Florida Statute 121.0515 Special Risk Class establishment recognizes the essential functions of persons employed in work positions who perform work that is physically demanding or arduous, or work that requires extraordinary agility and mental acuity, and that such persons, because of diminishing physical and mental faculties, may find that they are not able, without risk to the health and safety of themselves, the public, or their coworkers, to continue performing such duties and thus enjoy the full career and retirement benefits enjoyed by persons employed in other membership classes and that, if they find it necessary, due to the physical and mental limitations of their age, to retire at an earlier age and usually with less service, they will suffer an economic deprivation therefrom.
FACA supports legislation that would result in the classification of animal control officers and other animal field services professionals into the Special Risk Class of the Florida Retirement System.
To help facilitate future legislative conversations, FACA is now asking you that you help us document the dangers of the Animal Control Officer profession. If you or a co-worker were seriously threatened, assaulted and/or injured by another human being, or even if you were seriously injured by an animal, please take a few minutes to document the incident by clicking HERE now.