by Lesley Scott
In the crime-riddled city of North Carleston, many unusual things can happen.
Caught in a trap!
by Lesley Scott
In North Charleston, a violent crime-ridden city, I was the only female animal control officer in the police department. At the time I was in my twenties and I didn't look the part of an animal control officer. Yet, I was good with understanding animals and resourceful. Solving problems was my specialty. I did look funny, I'll admit, driving a big heavy duty truck I had to climb in and out. I was constantly teased about being so petite. I weighted ninety seven pounds with long chestnut hair, hardly enough to be intimidating.
I didn't let my size become a disadvantage, and developed my own style of dealing with the most difficult problems. One of my many duties was to trap feral dogs running loose and wild. The trap, being home made out of plywood and chain link fence, had it's list of problems.The trap was made about eight years ago at that time, and the inmmates used scrap material. It worked well enough, and could contain most of the largest and wildest dogs.
The ownerless animals were usually defensive and unpredictable. I was sometimes sore and often bruised, pulling a dog out that was trying to escape. I sometimes had no choice but to put myself at risk. The entrance, made from a piece of plywood, heavy and chewed, did the trick. The door dropped down when the dog took the bait. I caught many wild and uncontrollable dogs in that trap.
Capturing the wild dogs didn't come too easy; the difficult part was pulling them out of the trap with a choke stick when I arrived at the dog pound. It took all of my strength, but I could drag the wild dogs out of the trap and hold the animals down as the euthanasia shot took effect. The chore, very much unpleasant, could not be avoided. It is interesting to know that 98 percent of dogs and all cats were put down each month in 1986 in Berkeley County.
The dog trap, used and chewed, smelled foul--- like dead chickens and nasty mange, body fluids and other unpleasant odors. I used my leverage and somehow transferred the heavy trap to the front of the dog cage in the bed of the truck. I used bungie cords to secure it to the back of the truck. Though the cage may be unoccupied, it was difficult to put the trap on my tailgate. But I was young and strong, and tilted the end of the trap on to my tailgate and pushed hard to slide it into the bed.
Handling wild animals, feral or domestic, could be a dangerous challenge. However, any animal that put up a serious fight with me and my choke stick lost the fight. Almost always, the angry and large or the poor homeless animal would fight until he or she passed out cold. That made them easier to euthanize. Isn't that horrible!?
After the trap was empty, I promptly drove back to the North Charleston Police Department, and managed to pull and push the empty old trap into the parking lot, near the police crusers. It needed a lot of cleaning because the feral dogs made such a nasty mess. I didn't use rubber gloves. It was easier to wash my hands when I finished the scrubbing.
After I used the hose, I squeezed into the trap to clean it better with a brush. Somehow, I accidentally touched the greasy old bent nail that served as a trigger. I frowned and groaned as I heard the front door slide down and closed tightly. "Oh Hell." I muttered. Here I was, unable to crawl or break out of the sturdy and stinky trap. The the police/fire department parking lot being empty because in the middle of the day, left me worried about when I would be rescued.
I called out for help, but for no use. But here I was, stuck in the police parking lot in the middle of the day, no one around to hear my pleading and the heat continuing to rise. What a hot day in August as I waited in the parking lot, cramped in the trap for at least an hour. I had to go to the bathroom, and really needed to get out of that nasty trap!
A fireman, going on duty, heard my weak, pleading voice begging for help. It took him about a minute to see where the voice came from. I started laughing when the nice fireman pulled up the door and I crawled out of my trap. I asked him not to tell anyone, and gave him a big hug.
I think I heard every joke the cops and firemen could come up with that day. Now, I understand why dogs captured in my cage are bouncing around and attempting to bite. I used the hose from then on when cleaning the old trap. Now, I knew better than to crawl inside of the cage. I was going to make sure someone was around and stay out of traps. In reality, I am probably the only fool that would crawl into a dogtrap.