Hangin’ With Officer Edith

Animal Care and Control is a tough beat, but one semi-anonymous city employee's social media accounts reveal unflagging dedication.

San Francisco is a cool town.

How cool? So cool that Animal Care and Control has a knee-slapping Twitter account maintained by a mysterious hero named “Officer Edith” (@OfficerEdith, and @officer.edith on Instagram). She’s a great follow, and if you aren’t hip to her updates, it’s your loss.

On Valentine’s Day, she posted a picture of a fat little puppy available for adoption, with the caption, “Look how big my eyes are. Look at how pink and plump my belly is. I’d never cheat on you like they did.”

And that’s just how Officer Edith gets down.

Meant to be a caricature of all people who work at shelters, sharing the highs (and lows) of the job, she keeps her true identity hidden from the public. However, I can vouch for Officer Edith’s existence and for the fact that she’s awesome. Offline, she’s a bona fide Animal Control Officer in her mid-30s, olive-drab tactical uniform and all. Although she’s usually out in the field, she was kind enough to give me a tour of the ACC facility at San Francisco’s Rescue Row, just behind the Best Buy in the Mission.

As we walk through the second-floor corridor, our first stop is the puppy room. Amid the yips and hollers of young canines, Officer Edith tells me about the challenges of her job.

“There are a couple of different issues,” she replies. “One is logistical. We have a very small crew. There are only 10 officers, and we work from 6 a.m. to 1 a.m., every single day. So that’s tricky.” Officer Edith also points out that her work can be emotionally taxing, since she’s usually encountering animals in some state of distress.

She certainly has a point in terms of logistics: In 2016, Animal Control Officers made 14,017 calls for service, impounded 4,585 animals and rescued 690 from physically distressing scenarios (such as when they’re trapped somewhere).

Turning down the hall, we come to a room that’s entirely packed with bunnies. Evidently, something of a “rabbit sting” went down the other week — it’s illegal to sell them in S.F.
— and the ACC is currently flush with floppy-eared friends, all of whom are up for adoption.

I ask about some of the stranger animals she’s come across over the years. She recounts the time she found a capuchin monkey after responding to a burglary call. The monkey belonged to the robbery victim, but it still needed to be confiscated and sent to a rescue operation in Texas.

“Also, this one time, a guy was bringing up a bag of vintage clothes from Carmel,” she says. “As he was pulling stuff out, he found a rattlesnake in the bottom of the bag. That was fun.”

Check out more stories from the Beasts and Birds of S.F.:

When Pigs (Almost) Fly
A day in the life of LiLou, the first non-canine animal to be part of SFO’s Wag Brigade.

Pets Lap Up Luxury at Wag Hotels
Meanwhile, nearby homeless languish in poverty.

The Real Fancy Feast
San Francisco-founded Nom Nom Now delivers fresh, healthy meals to pups in the Bay Area and beyond.

Pimp My Pup
Yap Stores in Ghirardelli Square makes hip and comfy threads for dogs.

The Birds, Beasts, and Snakes of San Francisco
Because humans aren’t the only creatures living in the Bay Area.

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