Wednesday was a quiet day on the streets of LaGrange for animal control officer Chris Bussey.
But that’s not always the case.
The day before, he rescued a German shepherd from a house where the woman who owned the dog wasn’t giving it adequate food or shelter, so much so that a veterinarian said the dog’s growth was stunted.
“I didn’t even know that could happen,” he said.
Small but happy, the dog greeted Bussey from a pen at the LaGrange Animal Shelter on Wednesday morning.
Bussey was an animal lover before he took the job with the city five years ago.
“I moved here to go to school to be a firefighter,” he said. “I needed a job with insurance.”
Bussey had been an animal control officer for about a month in Columbus, so the city snatched him up. He’s dealt with dogs, cats, numerous amphibians and even the occasional kangaroo.
“The most interesting call I have been on is when a kangaroo got loose from the carnival on Commerce Avenue,” he said. “Luckily, by the time we got there, the carnival workers had got it back where it needed to be.”
He also helped rescue a deer from inside a tank at the city’s wastewater treatment plant. Another animal control officer had the honor of putting on waders and getting inside the tank with the deer.
“That was one time where being the big guy had its advantages,” he said.
When he’s not answering specific calls, Bussey rides around his designated patrol area making sure pit bulls are in their proper pens and registered, in compliance of city ordinance. The city passed an ordinance several years ago requiring the breed to be registered.
Surprisingly, he has yet to be bit on a call, although there have been times where he’s expected it.
He and fellow officer Anna Donaldson went to Auto Zone a few weeks ago to the report of a snake. Employees had put a box over the snake was, and surrounded that area with boxes in an attempt to keep it contained. In spite of those efforts, it was out when Bussey and Donaldson arrived.
“We were just picking up boxes and looking, and I was thinking, ‘This is a recipe to get bit,’” he said.
They spent 30 minutes looking for the snake without success, but without bites, either.
“I’d prefer my first bite to not be from something venomous,” he said.