EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

October 1, 2012

Rarely a dull day for Plaistow animal officer

Animal control officer rarely has dull day

Brian Farrell hears it all — loose rabbits, the report of a boa constrictor on the run, even one call about some "baby dinosaurs."

And that's just fine with Farrell, who grew from the little boy who rescued wildlife to the on-call animal control officer for Plaistow and Danville.

Farrell, 27, also works part-time as an on-call assistant in Hampstead.

He said he entered the field because he "always had a passion for animals, always wanted to help animals."

"As far as I can remember, I was rescuing snakes and frogs, and rescuing little chipmunks from my cats," Farrell said. "I wanted a job that involved animals, protecting animals and helping people. I don't think I can sit in a cubicle and feel like I was making a difference."

Most of the calls he gets are about stray dogs. Occasionally, he gets a call that stays with him forever.

Take, for example, the woman who thought she had found some "baby dinosaurs."

"What she discovered was baby possums that got rejected by their mother," Farrell said.

Farrell, who said he's a "snake guy," was excited when he received a call about a boa constrictor on the loose in Plaistow.

But when he arrived, he saw was a crowd of people around an Eastern milk snake, a reptile commonly found in the area.

"A lot of people aren't in tune with the types of animals that are around," he said.

Farrell started working in Plaistow and Danville in May. Before that, he was an assistant animal control officer in Hampstead.

When responding to a call, he is paid hourly — $15 in Plaistow and Danville, and $12 in Hampstead. He also works for his father on the side.

His hours as an animal control officer vary by the week, he said.

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