Tuesday, November 10, 2009

R. I. P.

In the post for Oct. 10, “No rest in peace,” I wondered what happens to the bodies of dead animals removed from roads in town. Now I have specific answers from Chris Buck, Lawrence Township’s animal control officer (ACO) for the last 21 years.

For deer, the biggest animal, it depends on what kind of road the body is found on or near – municipal, county or state. A private vendor is authorized to pick up and dispose of the bodies of deer on or near municipal roads. He bills the township for the service. Workers with the Dept. of Transportation pick up deer bodies from county and state roads.

Lawrence’s ACO picks up the bodies of birds, raccoons and other wildlife. The bodies are double-bagged, placed in a dumpster and eventually wind up in a landfill. (Interesting to note that with injured, sick or orphaned birds or wild mammals, the birds are taken to a township resident who handles them; mammals go to the Wildlife Center on Route 29.)

The bodies of dogs, cats and other animals who may belong to someone are checked for ID (collars, tattoos or micro-chips); when there’s ID, Buck contacts the owner. Bodies without ID are each are placed in a bag (with descriptive info on the outside) and stored in a freezer that Lawrence and Hopewell share. Then if people ask about an animal companion, the body can be turned over if desired.

After a fixed time, bodies go to Pet Meadows, Hamilton, for cremation and the township is billed.

Case closed – with thanks to Chris.

(Note: This blog has occasionally mentioned helpful people in the world of animals. There are more to come, starting soon with a sketch of Chris Buck that will include what her job as an Animal Control Officer entails.)

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