AACIS training benefits NC ACO

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Bobby Mangum of Person County Animal Services experienced an immediate benefit from the American Animal Cruelty Investigations School (AACIS) Professional Animal Cruelty Investigator course by immediately on the role as the animal cruelty investigator for Person County, North Carolina.

Mr. Mangum successfully completed the forty-hour training course in cruelty investigations and body condition scoring for canine’s and felines in mid-July of this year.

The full article from the Courier Times follows:

Animal Control Officer Takes on New Role as Cruelty Investigator
by Bill Wilcox
Staff Writer for The Courier Times

Animal Control Officer Bobby Mangum will be replacing Officer Michael Fuquay as animal cruelty investigator at Person County Animal Services (PCAS), after Mangum completed an in-depth course on animal cruelty investigation.

PCAS Director Ron Shaw said that Fuquay has done a good job for the last six years as cruelty investigator, but he likes to switch around the duty between the two animal control officers every few years.

Mangum attended 40 hours of classes last week in Raleigh to prepare for his new duties, even though the law only requires six hours of training. He earned two certifications after attending classes offered by the American Animal Cruelty Investigations School (AACIS), based in Pensacola, Florida. The certifications are for Professional Animal Cruelty Investigator and AACIS Investigative Body Score Conditioning, which involves giving an animal a score based on body condition.

Shaw said that animal cruelty investigator is an added duty to being an animal control officer.

He’ll be the one getting warrants, and seizures, and things like that,” Shaw said, “and going up to the magistrate’s office and actually charging them to have the deputies do that they have to do in some cases.”

But Mangum said he will try talking to people first about their pets, educating them, before issuing citations.

“Basically I’m here to educate more than I am here to charge people,” he said, “to make them understand what is right and what is wrong.  I would say about 80 percent of the people do what they are supposed to do and the other 20 percent don’t, and those are the ones you have to continue to educate or go forward with charges for neglecting their animal.”

He sees his role as looking after the general welfare of animals in the county, making sure their basic needs of food, water and shelter are met.

“If someone sees a dog out in 90-degree heat without water, they need to call that in, because that is part of a cruelty issue because a dog is supposed to have access to water 24/7,” he said.

“I’m more for teaching people what to do and what not to do, but there are going to people who are going to neglect and that is when I would have to take action,” he said.

Shaw said neglect is a big gray area, at least in the minds of the public.

“Some people would say if you kept a dog in a pen all the time, and didn’t let him come out and walk him and do exercise, that would be neglect, or if you didn’t love the dog enough that would be neglect,” he said.  “That’s not within the criteria of the law.  If we took that to court, we would lose.”

Mangum said true neglect would be depriving a dog of food, water, or shelter or treating the animal inhumanely.  Likewise, if the animal is infested with fleas and ticks or exhibits severe weight loss, this can trigger an investigation.

By state statute, cruelty to animals is a Class 1 misdemeanor and is defined as: “intentionally overdrive, overload, wound, injure, torment, kill, or deprive of necessary sustenance,” with punishment at the discretion of the court.  Additionally, maliciously torturing, maiming, cruelly beating, poisoning or killing an animal can be prosecuted as a Class H felony. Not all states consider animal cruelty a felony offense.

Mangum initiated the call to bring the Florida animal cruelty investigation course to Raleigh and he said he is glad they came because it provided the in-depth training he was seeking.

“They covered how to go through a cruelty investigation, what to look for, basically how to handle your cases,” he said.

PCAS responds to about 100 reports of animal cruelty and neglect a year, Shaw said. About 25 percent of those turn out to be real cases that go to court.

Mangum was born and raised in Person County, graduating from Person High School in 2000. His previous animal related experience was working in a Duke Animal Research Facility for three years. He started working as an animal control officer at PCAS in 2012.  He said he has seen some owners make great strides in how they treat their animals and this is very gratifying.  As he takes on his new duties as an animal cruelty investigator, he said he will stay focused on education first and citations second.

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