LifeLine is extremely proud of the Fulton and DeKalb County Animal Services Officers (ASO’s)! We’d like you to get to know one of our Fulton County Animal Service Officers, Jim Harvey.
The ASO’s wear so many hats. They rescue animals in danger, go to court on their behalf, catch stray animals and so much more. They not only help animals, they also help our community by providing resources to help them keep their beloved pets.
Whether they’re rescuing a kitten stuck 50 feet underground or freeing a panicked deer from a pool, Animal Service Offices are our heroes.
In honor of National Animal Care & Control Appreciation Week, we interviewed FCAS Field Supervisor Jim Harvey. We hope his responses, below, will help you learn more about what ASOs do and why we call them heroes.
Why did you become an Animal Services Officer?
A little over four years ago, after spending close to 37 years in real estate and finance, I felt a calling to do something more with my life. I learned about LifeLine Animal Project through a friend of my wife, and I began to research the organization. I became very interested when I learned LifeLine received the contract to manage Fulton County Animal Services and Enforcement. The thought of helping to save animals, investigating animal cruelty and working to assist the animals and citizens of Fulton County was a tremendous draw for me. Consequently, I applied and was accepted as an Animal Control Officer trainee. Now, over 4 years later, I am both an Animal Control Officer and a Field Supervisor. And it is the most rewarding work of my career.
What is the best part of your job?
Working on behalf of the public to save animals that are in dire circumstances. To that end, I recently earned my certification as an Animal Cruelty Investigator. It is very rewarding to investigate cruelty allegations on behalf of the animals and work to get justice for them. Although this work often involves seeing difficult things, it‘s worth it when I’m able to positively impact a mistreated animal. Similarly, I sometimes come across pet owners who really love their animals but cannot afford pet care. And to be able to provide those owners with the assistance they need to keep their beloved pet, is very fulfilling.
What is one of your favorite stories about helping a pet?
My favorite heartwarming rescue was with a dog that I named Mowgli. A citizen called and reported an abandoned dog in terrible shape on a dirt road in South Fulton. I arrived at the location and looked around and, at first, I didn’t see anything. However, I eventually saw an animal in the forest, about 100 feet from the tree line.
Based on the condition of the animal’s fur, or lack thereof, I thought he might be a mangy coyote. So, wIth my catch pole in hand, I gently yelled out, “hey buddy, are you doing ok? “ Mowgli held his ground, but then let out the saddest and longest howl that I have ever heard. I slowly moved closer to the forest line and began throwing treats as far as I could towards him. He responded immediately, still howling, and started to make his way to me.
I ran to my truck, filled a bowl with dog food and went back to the forest line. Next, I shook the bowl and set it down on the ground. Mowgli made a dash for the bowl, and was standing only a few feet from me. He ate as if he hadn’t had food a very long time. It was then I saw that Mogli was not a coyote at all, but most likely a Dutch shepherd. He was skin and bones and suffering from severe hair loss, which the vet later confirmed was mange.
When he was finished eating, I laid my catch pole down and pet him. After that, Mowgli let me put a leash around his neck and load him into the truck. Then he looked at me with an expression in his eyes that I can only describe as love and gratitude.
Our wonderful rescue partners soon whisked Mowgli off to get all the medical attention that he needed. As he was not chipped and nobody ever showed up to claim him, he ultimately went up for adoption. And if a good samaritan had not reported Mowgli to us, he would have probably died alone in those woods.
Can you tell us a fun fact about yourself?
At 14 years old, I played a tennis match against Peter Fleming who later went on to win several Wimbledon doubles titles with the great John McEnroe! I did not win a single game, but I fondly remember winning a point here and there!
Do you have any pets?
I have two dogs and one cat, and all of them are rescues. One of my dogs is a personal rescue by me off the streets of Atlanta. I love them all so much!