From military deployments to trapping raccoons – meet Lansing’s new Animal Control Officer

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animal control
Thomas "TJ" Douglas is Lansing's new Animal Control Officer. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
By Josh Bootsma

LANSING, Ill. (June 13, 2022) – On June 6, Timothy “TJ” Douglas was introduced to the Lansing Village Board as the village’s new Animal Control Officer. Douglas started the job on May 8, and has a background in animal control and military service.

Douglas fills a vacant position at the LPD most recently held by Vanessa Kincaid, who started with the department in July of 2021 but left the position earlier this year. Kincaid was the successor to longtime animal-wrangler John Witvoet.

Background and experience

Douglas comes to Lansing after three years of working in animal control in Lake County, Indiana, where he started as a field officer and later became director of the animal control department.

Prior to his time in Lake County, Douglas served eight years of active duty in the Army, and two years in the reserves. He went on three combat deployments, two to Iraq and one to Afghanistan.

“I was a bomb dog handler for my tour in Afghanistan,” Douglas said. “I loved my military service while I was in, and working with the dog was one of the things I wanted to do when I originally signed up to be in the military. … My ideal job was to be a dog handler.”

Coming out of the service, Douglas translated his animal-related skills to animal control.

The Merrillville resident said his most memorable experience so far in Lansing was corralling a family of five raccoons. He also remembers responding to a house with 17 cats and one dog during his time in Lake County.

Animal control issues can be directed to the Lansing Police Department‘s non-emergency line at 708-895-7150.

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