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It's a Living

Animal control officer helps residents, animals safely coexist


A call came in to the Lower Makefield Township Police Department. In a panicked voice, an elderly woman reported a squirrel was running loose in her house. But removing wildlife on private property is outside the scope of the Animal Control Officer. The woman would have to call a private wildlife removal service at a cost of $400, money the senior didn’t have, living on a limited income.

Luckily for her, the Animal Control Officer was Jamie Fazzalore, who volunteered to go to the woman’s house on her own time. Once there, she closed off every door and window but one. The squirrel exited, but only after managing to run across a mantel without disturbing any of the delicate figurines the woman had on display.

Jamie has always loved animals. All through high school at Pennsbury, she planned to be a veterinarian. But the length of time in school required drove her to get her degree in business instead, and she worked as a buyer and designer of jewelry for 25 years.

Still, she managed to find a way to work with animals by volunteering at the Aark Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education Center, where eventually she joined the board of directors.

There’s a proverb, “What is for me, will not pass me by,” and one day, the Police Chief of Lower Makefield Township asked if she knew anyone who might be interested in taking the job of Animal Control Officer. Jamie said she was interested.

The chief had his doubts this would work out. It takes more than loving animals to fill this position effectively, a job that calls for you to go out any time of day or night, in any weather, and to risk being bitten by a terrified stray, something that has happened to Jamie on several occasions. But from her very first day, Jamie loved the work. Fifteen years later, she still loves it.

In addition to looking for lost pets and dealing with animals that pose a danger to the public, Jamie’s mission is to show people how to peacefully coexist with wildlife. Often people moving into rural areas from the suburbs don’t know what to do when they come upon a baby animal in their backyard. Jamie offers advice on those little creatures we are most likely to find on her ACO website.

First rule: Make sure the orphan is really orphaned. Mom only comes back to feed her offspring twice a day.

Second rule: Make sure the helpless looking baby is too young to take care of itself. For example, a bunny, even a very tiny one, with eyes open and ears up, is capable of living on its own. As for a lost or found pet, notify the police department first.

In her eight years on the job, Jamie has accumulated a wealth of stories.

On July 4, 2015, she got a call about an escapee from a petting zoo. “Who’s up for capturing an emu?” she asked her teenage sons who jumped at the chance.

They found the emu in a field. Her sons threw a net over it and Jamie tackled it to the ground, placing handcuffs on its ankles, possibly the only emu arrest in the history of animal control.

Another time, a woman called in about her daughter’s lost Yorkie, a gift from the girl’s deceased father. Soon after, a neighbor called about a “rat” in their bushes. Yorkie and owner were soon reunited.

My favorite story of Jamie’s concerns an orphaned fawn running around in a parking lot. Its mother had been killed by a car. Since AARK no longer accepts fawns, Jamie put the word out in Lower Makefield. Did anyone have a doe with a baby visiting their yard regularly? Someone responded and Jamie brought the orphan over. Two days later, the mother walked off with two babies instead of one. Proof that even animals are willing to adopt!

Recently, Jamie’s son has taken over management of Homestead Wildlife Control, her company that specializes in the removal and relocation of wildlife when it’s too much for owners to handle.

Jamie is now a licensed real estate salesperson at Berkshire Hathaway, starting yet another career. You go, girl!

Are you making a living doing something unique? Has your career taken a sharp turn in the direction of your dreams? Tell us about it in an email to Put “It’s a Living with Lisa” in the subject line.

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