Living. Growing. Prospering.
Douglasville, Ga. - The Douglas County Animal Services Department through the Board of Commissioners received praise and recognition at a graduation and pinning ceremony for its contribution of "Chipper" a former stray dog, who completed training at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and is now a member of the United States Customs and Border Protection agriculture canine team.
Douglas County Animal Services rescued "Chipper," a stray beagle, on April 11, 2018, in Villa Rica, Georgia. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Inspection Service, selected Chipper for training on April 16, 2018, after a thorough examination. Chipper was one of four dogs recognized who will be responsible for helping protect the United States' airports and seaports from illegal meats and plants from entering.
Attending the ceremony on behalf of the Board of Commissioners were Douglas County Animal Services Kennel Manager Vanessa Francikowski, Kennel Tech Rhonda Ray and Director of Communications and Community Relations Rick Martin. The half-hour ceremony began with an opening by newly appointed USDA Associate Director Sherry Williams at the National Detector Training Center, a 17-acre facility, located in Newnan, Georgia.
The facility holds training for all detector dogs for agriculture in the United States and often foreign countries send canines for training as well," USDA training specialist Joseph Chopko said. "Now that the dogs have graduated they will be paired with their handlers and will eventually operate at seaports and airports."
"We are thrilled and excited at this news because often people do not get to see the outcome of their support and generosity to Douglas County Services," said Dr. Romona Jackson Jones, Chairman of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners. "I believe this is a significant example of positive results when you have a hard-working staff as we do in Douglas County."
"We form a strong bond with all the animals that pass through our doors and try to provide them with the best life they could have," said Animal Services Manager Vanessa Francikowski. "Knowing that a dog that was found as a stray and nobody wanted, has now risen to the level of working for the USDA and serving the public, gives great hope and meaning to all we do here at animal services."
For more information, you can contact the Communications and Community Relations Department at 770-920-7303.
Pictured: Rhonda Ray, Jospeh Fields, Vanessa Francikowski, Rick Martin, "Chipper"