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
Animal control officer Kathy Labrada maintains a "death file" — a set of photographs of family pets that were hit by cars or mauled to death by other animals. It's not a morbid curiosity that inspired her collection, but rather a desire to maintain her resolve in the face of conflict. When she returns DALs — dogs at large — to their homes and issues the requisite $150 fine, pet owners often argue that they shouldn't have to pay. They may insist that their dog "just got loose this once" or has never been a danger to anyone. But Kathy knows the truth: "They don't see what we see. They don't see them run over in the middle of the street day after day after day." So, she takes digital photos of the remains with her ASU-issued camera and keeps them in a file for her reference. "It keeps me mad," she explains, "it keeps me driven."
Caring for animals is in Kathy's blood; she grew up raising horses, and spent 10 years as a veterinary technician before joining the ASU two years ago. Although Kathy is one of the few part-time ACOs on staff at the ASU, her dedication to the job is more obvious than most: She doesn't take a lunch break, she's always neatly squared away in her uniform, and she even keeps her pretty auburn hair cut very short so she can better deal with the stifling heat and mess that comes with the territory.
Kathy Labrada Photos
|powered by |
| Next (1)