Twenty-five Humane Law Enforcement officers join SDHS
San Diego County now has 25 more Humane Law Enforcement officers rescuing pets, investigating animal cruelty, issuing citations and arresting offenders. SDHS increased its contingent of round-the-clock watchdogs following its commencement of animal services in six more cities: Carlsbad, Del Mar, Encinitas, San Diego, Santee and Solana Beach this summer.
Those officers—and the 19 others who were already patrolling the county in their white-and-blue vehicles—will respond to thousands of calls each year.
“We’re really excited to take on the new challenge of six additional contracts,” says the unit’s operations captain, Danee Cook. “We had to hit the ground running, and we already made it through the busiest week of the entire year”—the week of July 4, that is, when fireworks spook many pets.
HLE officers attend 80 hours of state-mandated training, plus another 160 hours required by SDHS on topics
ranging from rattlesnakes and the powers of arrest to defensive tactics, like chemical sprays and stun guns. After training, new officers spend a month with a field training officer before heading out on their own. Officers also undergo wildland fire training so they can operate behind fire lines, and are similarly prepared to enter other emergency and disaster situations, like the West Alpine Fire in Alpine this July, which burned more than 500 acres.