Memphis Animal Services officer receives national recognition for reuniting lost pets with owners

Published: Nov. 10, 2022 at 12:27 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Congratulations are in order for one Memphis Animal Services officer.

The National Animal Care & Control Association recognized Lawrence Higginbottom as the National Animal Control Officer of the Year.

“Everything I’m doing now in the city and the community is not going unnoticed,” said Higginbottom.

The award is presented to someone helping reunite the most pets in the field without bringing the pet back to the shelter.

This helps play a huge role at the Memphis animal shelter since the shelter has experienced overcrowding for some time.

“The reality is, we will never have enough kennels in this facility to care for all the animals in need in our community right now,” said Alexis Pugh, Memphis Animal Services Director.

In July 2022, Pugh said she noticed unprecedented intake numbers in combination with decreased outcomes -- meaning fewer adoptions and fewer pets going to rescue or transferring out.

Right now, the shelter houses over 200 dogs and 75 cats. They’d like to keep the total number under 200.

Pugh said it does help to have employees like Higginbottom playing their part to combat an overpopulated shelter.

“For Lawrence Higginbottom to get named Animal control officer of the year and for the story to be told about how he is so motivated and focused on reuniting families and that he cares about people as much as he does pets,” said Pugh. “I hope it shows the community that, the old dog catcher persona isn’t the reality of who works in animal control today.”

It’s been Higginbottom’s mission to reunite lost animals with their owners and he’s good at it.

“To see their expression and how they feel about their dog returning home good, it does something for me,” said Higginbottom.

If you or someone you know is interested in adopting a pet or looking for a lost pet, visit memphistn.gov/animalservices.

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