Chief Toussaint Named Virginia Animal Control Officer of the Year

Posted on October 19, 2017

Virginia Beach, VA, October 19, 2017. At its annual conference today the Virginia Animal Control Association (VACA) named the Animal Welfare League of Arlington’s (AWLA) Animal Control Chief, Jennifer Toussaint, the Dr. Kent Roberts Animal Control Officer of the Year.  This award is presented annually to one officer in the Commonwealth of Virginia who has demonstrated overall excellence in the performance of his or her job.  Chief Toussaint has been with the League since 2012 and has been Arlington County’s Animal Control Chief since July 2016.

Chief Toussaint runs a small department of three to four officers and one dispatcher in addition to herself that serves a population of 230,000. Her department provides service to Arlington residents 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

One of the department’s most important activities is handling cases of bites to people from domestic pets and wildlife. The officers serve quarantines on animals and confirm rabies vaccination status to prevent victims from having to receive post-exposure rabies injections. They also prepare cases for the Virginia Commonwealth’s Attorney under Virginia’s dangerous dog code. From July 2016 to June 2017 Chief Toussaint personally prepared 12 dangerous dog cases that resulted in seven convictions, one deferred finding with mandated behavior training, one dismissal, and three pending cases.

Chief Toussaint excels at community outreach. She creates Facebook videos such as the danger of leaving pets in cars and presents at community events and at Arlington Police Department roll calls.

She has partnered with the Humane Society of the United States Wild Neighbors Program to provide a day-long training on wildlife issues to animal control officers in the region and has presented on wildlife issues at the 2017 Animal Care Expo. Chief Toussaint helped draft an ordinance to prohibit the ownership of wild and exotic animals that was unanimously adopted by the Arlington County Board in September 2017.

Jay Fisette, Chair, Arlington County Board, said:

“…[Chief] Toussaint …excels in customer service, adheres to the highest standards of honesty and integrity, and consistently shows compassion for her animal and human clients. Further, she is committed to training her officers to ensure they provide the same level of excellent service to the human and animal community.”

Samuel Wolbert, President/CEO of AWLA said:

“The Animal Welfare League of Arlington is extremely proud of our animal control team and especially Chief Toussaint.  This award reflects Chief Toussaint’s leadership and dedication to all animals, and it is indicative of the exemplary animal control services we offer the residents of Arlington County.”