By the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control
On the second week of April, we celebrate National Animal Control Officer Appreciation week. The week is an opportunity to show appreciation and gratitude to animal control officers (ACOs) who make a difference in animal’s and peoples’ lives every day.
Briana Aguilar is an ACO I from the Lancaster Animal Care Center (ACC). She joined DACC in January 2017 after four years working as a veterinary assistant. Officer Aguilar loves being an ACO because she feels fulfilled being there for the animals. She loves being their voice and advocate because she feels she understands them. She finds it rewarding to be able to educate people and make a difference in animal’s’ lives. Helping animals is something she looks forward to every time she comes to work, and she prepares herself to make sure she is ready to take on the daily challenges of an ACO’s day in the field.
As fate would have it, August 11, 2021 was not just another workday for Officer Aguilar. It started with her feeling a little tired that day and she briefly considered taking the day off. After a brief hesitation she mustered enough motivation and, like clockwork, reported to work her morning field shift. Upon arrival, she was informed that she had a pending emergency call for a cat. Nothing could have prepared her for the news… The emergency call was for a kitty, a very large kitty! The kitty was a mountain lion in a residential neighborhood inside the Lancaster city limits!
Once she arrived at the scene, she was met by Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies asking for her guidance on how to proceed. Officer Aguilar bravely and systematically assessed the situation, read the mountain lion’s body language and thought, “This is a big cat. What would a cat do in this situation?” She logically evaluated the site and took the initiative to put together a plan with the deputies. She noticed that the mountain lion was hiding in bushes nearby and explained that the bushes were giving the mountain lion a place to hide and to not disturb it. The area where the scared mountain lion was, was cordoned off so the lion would not be threatened and try to escape. She remained close enough to prevent it from running off and potentially causing havoc in the busy streets nearby.
Officer Aguilar was able to monitor the mountain lion and protect public safety until officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) arrived and safely tranquilized it. However, the CDFW officers did not have a vehicle to transport the mountain lion. Officer Aguilar was tasked to safely transport the mountain lion to a safe location where it was returned to nature.
“Officer Aguilar is an example of the compassionate animal control officers who protect animal and human safety with kindness, bravery, and professionalism,” said Marcia Mayeda, Director. “We salute the brave women and men who have made this their chosen profession and recognize the important contributions they make every day in our communities.” One never knows what it is in store while working as an Animal Control Officer. Officer Brianna Aguilar rose to the occasion of being an animal advocate and an animal control officer, making a difference that fortunate day!
About the author: The Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control is one of the largest animal control agencies in the United States. Its six animal care centers, including a location in Lancaster, serve unincorporated Los Angeles County and 49 contract cities with a combined total population of over 3 million residents.