Effective today, July 1, your beloved Animal Control Officers will don a new title: Animal Protection Police Officer. County officials, working in conjunction with state delegates, have authorized the title reclassification, which expands the officers’ current role to include full law enforcement scope and authority.
Animal Protection Police Officers will continue to investigate all calls for service and reports of animal welfare and injured wildlife. Previously, the officers were limited in their ability to obtain criminal charges pursuant to an investigation. The new state law allows them to prosecute criminal statutes pertaining to all animal welfare laws and criminal law.
The public may not notice a big change as the uniforms, badges, patches and vehicles will look the same, with the exception of the words “Animal Protection” replacing “Animal Control” on their badges. But for the officers, the expanded role facilitates their ability to investigate and prosecute for animal neglect and abuse cases and better serve Fairfax County residents.
The new Animal Protection Police Service officers will receive additional training to enhance their knowledge and skills in Virginia laws and police-related topics; however, Fairfax County Animal Control Officers have always been hired and trained under the same guidelines, policies and practices of Fairfax County Police and Sheriff’s deputies. We look forward to welcoming our more highly specialized Animal Protection Police Officers and providing a higher level of service to our community.