Animal Control Officer Line of Duty Deaths
Animal Control Officer Line of Duty Deaths



The following list of Animal Control Officer (ACO) and other Animal Control related Line of Duty Deaths (LODD) in the United States is something I've been compiling and researching since 2002. The National Animal Control Association (NACA) Memorial Wall, which was dedicated in 2011, only lists those LODD from departments that were a part of NACA when the LODD occurred. Given that NACA was only founded in 1978, no LODD prior to that year are included on the Memorial Wall. When NACA was doing research on LODD for possible inclusion on their Memorial Wall, I actually sent them all my research and some names on that Memorial Wall are there because of the research I've been doing.



Color Code: Green is ACO/Dog Catcher, Blue is Police/Sheriff, Red for Firefighter, and Gray for Other/Civilian


February 1886, Newark, NJ - Alderman dies from malignant carbuncles reportedly received while handling putrid meat given to dogs at the dog pound

March 1886, Newark, NJ - Poundkeeper dies of hydrophobia, was bitten on the hand in January, however, the autopsy was not 100% conclusive as to the cause

January 1888, Albuquerque, NM - Dog Catcher dies of rabies, however, a coroner's inquest disagreed

December 1888, St. Louis, MO - Police Officer dies of rabies, was originally bitten in September

February 1894, Sumter County, AL - Deputy shot and killed by a 14 year old boy while impounding a cow, the boy was was hung and shot by a mob of citizens shortly after the shooting

May 1895, Faribault, MN - Police Officer dies from rabies after being bitten while attempting to capture a stray dog two months earlier

October 1897, Atlantic City, NJ - Poundkeeper dies of hydrophobia, was confined in the city jail

August 1898, Oakland, CA - Poundkeeper shot and killed when resident thought they were stealing corn from their vegetable garden

November 1900, Oakland, CA - Poundmaster dies in hospital days after being shot in the hip during an altercation

April 1906, Sandusky, OH - Police Officer dies of rabies after being bitten by stray dog he captured and brought to the station

September 1906, Cincinnati, OH - Dog Catcher dies of rabies, was bitten on hand by stray dog months earlier

September 1907, Harrisburg, PA - Patrolman dies in hospital three days after being knocked down by a loose cow

September 1908, Wildwood, FL - Constable shot and killed during a dispute over a local Doctor's dog, the Doctor was arrested, but not charged

June 1909, Memphis, TN - Humane Officer shot and killed by foreman at a construction site while investigating overworked animals

December 1909, Guthrie, OK - Dog Catcher accidentally shot and killed when his revolver discharged

July 1911, Butler, PA - Dog Catcher beaten to death with a baseball bat after impounding a dog

January 1913, Bluefield, WV - Police Officer shot and killed by the owner of a cow after it was rounded up and taken to the pound

October 1913, Washington, D.C. - Police Officer dies as a result of experimental rabies treatment after being bitten trying to shoot a stray dog

January 1915, Indianapolis, IN - Patrolman accidentally shot and killed by his partner while they were dealing with a vicious dog

January 1916, Wood River, IL - Police Officer dies of rabies after being bitten while trying to shoot a stray dog

December 1916, New Castle, PA - Dog Catcher dies of hydrophobia, was locked up in jail cell awaiting transport to hospital

June 1917, Hamilton, OH - Dog Catcher shot and killed trying to impound three dogs that bit a person

July 1922, Outside of Houston, TX - Dog Catcher shot and killed by 14 year old boy during a dispute over a dog

December 1922, Quincy, MA - Patrolman dies of rabies after being bitten while shooting and killing a stray dog that was about to attack a child

March 1923, Chicago, IL - Police Officer dies of rabies one month after being bitten by a stray dog

April 1926, Columbus, OH - Dog Catcher accidentally shot and killed when his revolver fell to the ground and discharged

March 1927, New York City, NY - Patrolman dies of rabies after being bitten by an injured stray dog he tried to help two months earlier

September 1927, Miami, FL - Police Officer accidentally shot and killed while taking his friend's gun away after the friend missed when trying to shoot his sick dog

March 1928, Fayette County, GA - Dog Catcher dies of hydrophobia, captured a stray dog and was bitten on the hand

April 1936, Gainesville, FL - Police Officer dies of rabies after being bitten rounding up unlicensed dogs

December 1937, Gaffney, SC - Police Officer shot and killed after a fight that started over a dispute about a dog at a local cafe, other Police Officers shot and killed the suspect

January 1939, New Brunswick, NJ - Dog Catcher dies of rabies in the hospital, was originally bitten in November

October 1944, Wheaton, IL - Poundmaster dies in hospital several days after his vehicle left the road and crashed into a tree near the dog pound

October 1944, Titusville, PA - Dog Catcher accidentally shot and killed by stray round fired by a policeman trying to shoot an aggressive dog

May 1946, St. Paul, MN - Dog Catcher dies after being struck in the head by a board after impounding a dog

July 1947, Kirksville, MO - Dog Catcher accidentally shot and killed by his own shotgun while removing it from his truck

January 1948, Everett, WA - Poundmaster dies after being exposed to cyanide gas while preparing to euthanize dogs

January 1957, Trumbull, CT - ACO struck and killed by a passing vehicle while tending to an injured dog

December 1959, Delaware County, IN - Patrolman dies in motor vehicle accident responding to a call where a child had been bitten by a dog

November 1960, Tulsa, OK - Police Officer dies six months after being shot at the city animal shelter after a dispute over a dog

January 1964, Winona, MN - Dog Catcher dies in motor vehicle accident while responding to a call, was hit head on by another vehicle

February 1968, Lodi, CA - Poundmaster dies from a medical condition, unsure if work related or not

July 1972, Los Angeles, CA - Highway Patrolman dies after being struck by a ricocheted round fired by a Sheriff's Deputy attempting to euthanize an injured horse

August 1972, Welch, WV - Dog Warden shot and killed after his weapon was taken away from him while serving a warrant

August 1978, Pasco County, FL - ACO dies in motor vehicle accident, had only been on the job a year

August, 1980, Lexington, KY - ACO struck by a car while tending to an injured dog and dies the next day, the dog also died

September 1985, Rapid City, SD - Patrolman struck and killed by a vehicle while removing a dead dog from the road

February 1986, Denison, TX - ACO and a Police Officer were shot by an escaping prisoner in the police department parking garage in January, ACO later died from his wounds

November 1987, Outside of Chicago, IL - Off duty ACO struck and killed by a vehicle while tending to an injured dog

August 1988, Indianapolis, IN - Patrolman dies nine days after being shot in the back while on a complaint about suspects dog running loose

October 1988, Sioux City, IA - ACO struck and killed by a passing vehicle while removing a dead animal from the highway

May 1990, McConnellsburg, PA - Three firefighters die from the exhaust of a portable gas powered pump during the removal of a dead animal from a well

November 1990, Homer, NE - Firefighter dies during cat rescue, was shocked by electrical lines then fell sustaining fatal injuries

May 1992, Scottsdale, AZ - ACO collapses at work from an unknown medical condition, dies a few days later

February 1993, Pismo Beach, CA - Firefighter dies of a heart attack after rescuing an animal from a cliff

July 1993, Irving, TX - Police Officer struck and killed by a drunk driver while setting out flares around a dead cow in the road

August 1993, San Mateo, CA - Humane Officer dies of heart aneurysm while on duty

December 1993, Oakland, CA - Police Officer and two others killed in a shootout while trying to impound a dog

August 1996, Addison, VT - Firefighter suffers heart attack after his barn catches fire, he evacuated his horses then collapsed and died after the first engine arrived on scene

August 1999, Prairie Village, KS - ACO falls out of tree and dies during parrot rescue

October 1999, Gulfport, MS - ACO dies of cancer and was given burial w/full honors, unsure if cancer was work related

March 2000, Chattanooga, TN - ACO dies after being exposed to carbon monoxide in euthanasia room

July 2000, Crandon, WI - Police Officer shot and killed responding to a neighborhood dispute over a dog

March 2001, Biloxi, MS - ACO struck and killed by a train while chasing a dog

August, 2001, Pierce City, MO - Police Officer accidentally shot and killed removing his shotgun from its case while on a call for a loose dog

July 2002, Hazel Park, MI - Police Officer shot and killed while on a call for a loose dog, she was able to shoot suspect before dying (First LODD after I became an ACO and her death became the impetus for my research ~ Webmaster)

November, 2002, Wayne County, NC - Sheriff's Deputy dies after being struck by a vehicle while moving an injured deer he had dispatched out of the road

July 2004, San Jose, CA - 12 year old boy dies after the vehicle he was in was struck by a drunk driver, his parents had pulled over to try to capture a loose dog on the highway

March 2005, Portland, ME - ACO dies of heart attack after catching a dog he chased for three hours

July 2005, Philadelphia, PA - Shelter worker killed in traffic accident after dropping off animals at an event, other vehicle went over center divide and crashed head on into the animal control truck she was driving

January 2006, Foster, CA - Director of non-profit animal rescue group and the two dogs she was transporting are killed when their vehicle is struck head on by a tractor trailer

January 2006, Alton, IL - ACO collapses and dies from a medical condition shortly after arriving for work

June 2006, Seattle, WA - ACO has heart attack and dies while on duty

November 2006, Outside of Philadelphia, PA - Police Officer struck and killed by a vehicle while moving a dead deer out of the road

June 2007, Bellmead, TX - ACO shot in the back and killed while at the shelter, suspects thought ACO saw them looking at an ammonia tank they wanted to steal

January 2008, Los Angeles, CA - Shelter worker collapses and dies while preparing for an event at the shelter

February 2009, South Boston, VA - ACO killed when his vehicle left the road and struck a tree

June 2009, Greene County, VA - Sheriff's Investigator, who was a former ACO, killed in a motor vehicle accident (Included here since he is on the NACA Memorial Wall ~ Webmaster)

October 2009, Plainfield, CT - ACO dies after being hospitalized since late September when she fell or was knocked to the ground while dealing with an aggressive dog

October 2009, Chicago, IL - ACO dies from a prior medical condition while dealing with a stray cat

June 2010, Harris County, TX - Sheriff's Deputy drowns trying to save a dog in a canal

December 2010, Durham County, NC - ACO fell off truck in April and was badly injured, upon arrival at hospital was found to have stage four cancer from which he later died

January 2011, Clark County, OH - Sheriff's Deputy shot and killed while responding to a neighborhood dispute that started out over dog defecation, suspect later killed in a shootout with other responders

March 2011, Bullard, TX - Sheriff's Deputy dies in hospital four days after being attacked by a loose cow

August 2011, Cedar Bluff, AL - ACO dies from a medical condition while loading a dog into his vehicle

May 2012, Gainesville, FL - Shelter worker killed in motor vehicle accident in front of the shelter after returning from a county meeting

November 2012, Galt, CA - ACO shot and killed after going to a house to remove animals the day after an eviction notice was posted

January 2014, Lancaster, NY - ACO found deceased at his desk after driving to the shelter to check on the animals during a blizzard

January 2014, Hardeman County, TN - ACO killed when his vehicle left the road and overturned while on the way to a call

April 2015, Swansea, IL - Wildlife rescuer struck and killed by a commuter train while trying to save an injured opossum near some elevated train tracks

November 2015, New York, NY - Former Special (Humane) Investigator dies from cancer after being exposed while helping animals near Ground Zero after the 9/11 attacks

May/June 2016, Newark, NJ - ACO shot and killed in front of his house, he was going there for a break during his late night shift (Was shot on May 31st, pronounced deceased on June 1st ~ Webmaster)

July 2017, Northampton, NY - Police Officer dies after being struck by a vehicle while dealing with an injured deer in the road

August 2017, Canyon, TX - Police Officer dies from a reaction to medication given to him to prevent an infection after he was bitten by a cat in late July

August 2017, Falcon, MS - Sheriff's Deputy responding to a shooting call dies in a motor vehicle accident after swerving to avoid two dogs that ran out into the road in front of him


Color Code: Green is ACO/Dog Catcher, Blue is Police/Sheriff, Red for Firefighter, and Gray for Other/Civilian



I know this list is incomplete. There are additional Animal Control related LODD that people have been too upset to talk about or share with me, however, the only way to make Animal Control work safer in the long run, is to share this information. I have heard of Animal Control agencies run by people who have never been in the field and don't think what their Animal Control Officers do is dangerous. I feel the only way to improve working conditions for all Animal Control Officers is to share this type of information. So if you know of any other Animal Control related LODD, please e-mail me the information for possible inclusion here.

Note: I found many animal related deaths where people died trying to save an animal, for example going into the ocean to save a drowning dog or someone who ran into a buring building to save their cats. I have not included these types of incidents since they are not considered normal Animal Control duties. Note: As of October of 2013 after months of ongoing research, due to the large amount of citizens I found that were killed helping animals, I have elected to only include those that were unusual in nature on this web site.



If you have any questions or need the sources of this information please e-mail me!

This entire web site and it's contents are copyright - Jeff Christner 2002-2017 unless otherwise noted, with special thanks to fellow researcher Winnie Kelly.

This web site was (sadly) last updated with one new LODD on August 14th, 2017.