Stray pets have a friend in local animal control officer Barbara Adams
By John Dilmore
The stray pets of Atlanta have a friend in local Animal Control Officer Barbara Adams, as do the owners of missing pets. Adams does not just round up stray animals – she can often return them to the backyards or other enclosures they escaped from, because of her knowledge of the city, and because unfortunately, many of the pet escapees are animals she’s seen before, or “repeat offenders.”
“There are strays everywhere, and I try my best to get them back to their owners,” Adams said. “They are the same ones over and over.”
She also interacts constantly with local people who are focused on getting homeless animals placed into fostering situations, and adopted into permanent homes.
“I spend a lot of time on the phone with Jamie Sharry from the (Atlanta) Animal League,” Adams said. “Every time I pick one up I call and ask, ‘Have you heard about this one missing?’
“I’ll take pictures and send them to Jamie and she’ll post them on the Animal League (Facebook) page. Or the Cass County Vet will post them as well.”
That networking, in person and online, has helped return many lost pets to their owners.
Meanwhile, Adams said the Animal League is engaged in a number of efforts to find homes for animals that don’t have a home to go back to.
“There’s a lot of them (animals) that escape and they have good reason to escape because they’re not taken care of, and the Animal League works with finding them new homes, getting them their shots and getting them spayed and neutered.
“The Animal League is actually working with a group out of Texarkana where they fly dogs, ship dogs, to North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Canada, where they don’t have a stray problem, and people want to rescue … just from a picture of a dog they’ve seen on Facebook.”
Adams took a long route to her current job with the city – literally.
“When I divorced my first husband I decided I wanted to be a truck driver,” she said. “I went to school, sold my house, sold my car, everything, and just took off and I was a professional tourist – and that’s where I met my present husband four years later.”
Barbara and her husband, Bob, eventually settled in Atlanta because it was an equal distance from both their families. She went to work as a dispatcher with the city, and later was able to transition into the job of animal control officer. The post was part-time to begin with, but became full-time last fall.
It keeps her busy, but it’s worth it. Asked what she most loves about her job, Adams said, “I’ve met a lot of good people, but I love being able to rescue the animals and give them back.”
In her free time, Barbara engages in a number of hobbies.
“I make flowers out of vegetable cans,” she said. “I paint gourds, make birdhouses, stuff like that. I build things out of recycled wood. I set up at different shows and I have a booth here in town.” The booth is at Southern Treasures, 819 Loop 59.
She and her husband Bob have two children, Hailley and Jaryn.