The county of Miami-Dade, Fla., covers more than 2,000 square miles, ranging from South Beach to the Everglades. It is filled with millions of creatures — alligators, Chihuahuas, you name it — but there is only one team dedicated to animal emergencies: the men and women of Miami Animal Police. For the Miami-Dade Police Department Animal Services Unit, their city is literally an urban jungle.
Animal Control Officer (ACO)
At 8 years old, Deanna Graff remembers wrestling a baby rabbit from the mouth of a neighborhood cat. Unfortunately, the bunny was badly injured and died soon after. "It was a disappointment," Deanna says, "but I didn't give up." Sure enough, 30 years later, she's still rescuing animals, but now she has an official uniform, a county truck and an ASU-issued catchpole to help her achieve better results. "I don't approach it like a job," she says, "for me, this is what I love doing."
Deanna began working in animal hospitals nearly a decade ago and says she "was always wanting to learn more." At a hospital in South Carolina, in fact, she worked her way up from cleaning kennels to administering shots and performing other vet tech duties. Now, Deanna is one of the few animal control officers at the ASU who puts down her catchpole once a week and volunteers to help clean cages for a shift.
Deanna Graff Photos
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