Book review: animal control management: a new look at a public responsibility. By Stephen Aronson. West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue University press, 2010. 400 pages.
When I requested to review this book, I thought it dealt with wildlife damage control. The cover showed a coyote and so I assumed that the phrase “animal control management” was referring to wildlife. Upon reading the book, I quickly realized that my preconception was wrong. This text delves into animal control as in dog catcher or animal control officer hired by your local community.
The back cover says Aronson was a government official at both the local and state level and had extensive experience in animal control programs. And the book proves that statement’s truthfulness. The book is quite detailed as suggested by its 400 page length. Aronson clearly did his homework and writes with the thoroughness of someone who has researched and lived the subject. You might think that this book would have no value for those involved in trapping or wildlife control. But you would be mistaken. For many of the topics relevant to animal control also apply to wildlife control, if only by analogy. For instance Aronson notes that the cost of running an animal control program is approximately 4 dollars per person per year/ so if you’re looking to provide animal control services for a community, you should be looking to charge at least four dollars per person per year in your quote. His list of questions related to budgeting is a must read for beginning wildlife control operators who too often worry about the prevailing rate rather than determining what they need to charge to make a living. Elsewhere, Aronson provides a list of people and services that you should know about in order to properly service and refer your customers.
Though much of the book deals with principles rather than concrete specifics, Aronson provides numerous case studies to provide concrete illustrations of issues (and how to handle them). Though some may be fictional they are realistic enough to be applicable to many communities across the country. If you are or hope to do work for major corporations or municipalities, a careful reading of this book will provide an abundance of tips that will reduce the likelihood of your making a big error.
If you want this book to tell you what types of traps catch poles and vehicles to purchase this is not the book for you. This text is not about the nuts and bolts of performing animal control it is about the operational level and management issues involved in running animal control services in a community. But if you want to know pitfalls of contracts, handling workers, political issues, public relations, running audits, and the nuances of legislation and regulation than this book will not disappoint.
The book is available through Amazon.com. It is a bit expensive at around $40. But for those wildlife control operators willing to spend the time in its pages the cost will be more than worth it.
About the Author
Stephen M. Vantassel is a certified wildlife control operator who helps individuals, businesses, and agencies resolve wildlife damage issues through training, writing, expert witness, and research. His latest books are the Wildlife Damage Inspection Handbook, 3rd edition and The Practical Guide to the Control of Feral Cats. He can be contacted at wildlifecontrolconsultant at gmail dot com.
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