Summer heat creates stink for animal control officer<BR>

There are days when Charlotte Candelaria's job really stinks.

Especially when temperatures reach 100 degrees or more and Candelaria, an animal control officer, must deal with some of the more unpleasant aspects of her job.

Tasks such as wading through animal feces to reach a neglected animal or removing a dead animal from the road and putting it into the animal control van.

But the job does have its rewards, even in hot weather.

"It makes it all worthwhile when a lost pet is reunited with its owner," said Candelaria, an animal control officer for about 23 years.

Cats and dogs aren't the only "smelly" creatures she deals with.

Two weeks ago she was called to pick up a potbellied pig that was running the streets with a basset hound.

Both the pig and the hound were taken to the Mohave County Animal Shelter.

Another time she was sent to pick up a pair of "tame" ravens who were causing a cleanliness problem.

Then there are the skunks.

"We used to handle skunk complaints, but that got out of hand.

I got sprayed all the time," she said.

"I was going home sick at night from the fumes.

We had to put a stop to that."

Another aspect of her job that stinks is having to deal with animals whose owners don't clean up after the pet.

"People need to clean up the dog mess at least once a week.

They need to clean up the feces from their yard, especially during the summer.

It is not healthy to have it in the yard and the neighbors won't appreciate the smell," she said.

There is a nuisance law against letting it pile up and violators can be cited, she said.

One of two animal control officers who work through the Kingman Police Department, Candelaria works four 10-hour shifts a week.

She often gets calls about animals that have been left in the sun without shade or water - some tied or chained to a fence or a tree.

"Animals need some kind of shelter from the sun, so that no matter where the sun moves they will have somewhere to go.

If you tie them up in the shade, the sun will move," Candelaria said.

Pet owners should also make sure pets have a fresh supply of water every day, especially in 100-degree heat.

"When setting water out, make sure it is in a shady area, and that the dog won't be able to knock it over," she said.

Another deadly mistake pet owners make during the summer months is leaving animals in a parked car, which can reach 160 degrees in a matter of minutes, even with partially opened windows.

"On hot days, pets are safer at home in the shade," she said.

"It is up to us humans to be responsible for our animals.

We know more than the animal," she said.