By CHRISTIN COYNE
On a normal day, Weatherford animal control officers don’t have an easy job but two ACOs tackled a particularly grueling task over the icy weekend to ensure the nearly 200 animals in the city’s care were warm and fed.
Joe Davis and Marcus Reddington, who are typically out catching dogs on a normal day, slept at the Weatherford Parker County Animal Shelter over the weekend, working from about 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day to keep the dogs, cats and several goats and donkeys alive and healthy.
“You cannot leave this place unattended,” Davis said. “The dogs have to be fed and watered every day.”
It typically takes three or four kennel technicians working eight-hour days to care for the average 150 dogs and cats at the shelter, according to Dustin Deel, director of Animal Services. The shelter also had an additional 50 cats in its care from a seizure that occurred Nov. 27.
Each day, the men fed and watered the animals, chipped ice from the kennel areas, cleaned their quarters, and made sure the animals had clean blankets and sweaters to keep warm.
The two must have done 100 loads of laundry over the weekend, Reddington said with a laugh.
Davis, who has been an animal control officer for nearly five years and lives in Poolville, spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at the shelter before going home Monday afternoon.
Reddington, who has worked at the shelter for three years and lives in Weatherford, found himself iced in at his home and had to catch a ride to work with Weatherford police which, despite vehicles equipped with chains, also had difficulty accessing the shelter. Reddington spent Sunday night at the shelter, as well.
The first night, Davis said he slept on the wooden bench in the shelter lobby before Weatherford police managed to get cots to the men, who camped out in the offices.
They were also on call for any animal-related emergencies over the weekend, at one point responding in a vehicle with four-wheel drive to a call on Tin Top Road to deal with loose livestock.
The men also made sure one worried dog owner was able to locate and pick up her missing pet at the shelter.
“This could not have been accomplished had it not been for the dedication and caring hearts of the City of Weatherford’s animal control officers,” Deel said. “They are truly in the business of saving lives.”