Ohio police officers are not trained to deal with animal calls, but Brookfield police get a lot of them, said Police Chief Dan Faustino.
Dogs, cats, bats, snakes, raccoons, horses and cows are some of the animals police have had to contend with over the years, he said.
That’s why Faustino would like to buy equipment to help his officers more safely deal with smaller problem animals, especially those that might be rabid.
Faustino told the township trustees May 29 that said he was spurred to want to address this problem after one of his patrolmen got blood from a rabid raccoon splattered on him, and he had to go through a series of rabies shots.
The call came in May 18 from the 7100 block of Stewart Sharon Road, where a raccoon with an apparent head wound holed up in a garage.
Because of the apparent injury, the animal’s slight aggressiveness and the fact that children and other animals were around, police decided it needed to be put down, but they couldn’t shoot it in the garage, said Patrolman Cody Dean.
Dean clubbed the animal with a baton, but, in doing so, he was splashed with blood on a hand, an arm and his face.
A trapper collected the animal, which was sent for testing. The test results came back on May 23 positive for rabies, Faustino said.
Dean had to undergo a series of shots, four on day one and one on three separate days over the next two weeks. The shots are no longer given in the stomach, Faustino said, but remain painful enough.
“That identified a problem that we have,” Faustino said of the call. “They don’t call the fire department; they don’t call the road (department), they call us for those animals.”
Faustino looked for a safer method of handling a situation such as Dean was in and settled on catch poles.
“It’s a noose thing on a longer pole, so you don’t have to get close to it (animal),” said Trustee Dan Suttles, noting Warren Fire Department carried them when he worked there.
Faustino said he was looking into buying eight at $80 a piece, one for each car he has for road patrol, but thought it might be better if the fire department could carry them and respond at the police department’s request. That way the township would only have to buy a smaller number of poles.
“For the safety of my guys, I’m going to have to look,” Faustino said. “We’re not dog wardens, we’re not animal control officers, but we’re generally tasked with that.”