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Animal control expert: Trump’s use of ‘dogcatcher’ as an insult is ‘degrading’

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A veteran animal control supervisor is calling President Trump’s jab that Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) “couldn’t get elected dogcatcher” both “degrading” and “divisive.”

“Of course the word ‘dogcatcher’ is always getting on those in my profession’s nerves,” Robert Leinberger Jr., the vice president of the National Animal Care & Control Association, told ITK shortly after Trump’s tweet Tuesday.

Trump railed against Corker — one of his fiercest critics in the Senate — in a series of tweets Tuesday morning, writing:

“It’s so old-school,” Leinberger said of the term “dogcatcher.” 

While some communities throughout the country might use the word, Leinberger said, “It’s incredibly rare, because the common one is ‘animal control officer.’ That’s the modern version. That’s what the preferred name is.”


An animal control officer almost never gets elected to the position, according to Leinberger, whose association, according to its website, works to “preserve the human/animal bond by insisting on responsible animal ownership.”

“To be elected dogcatcher — that’s silly, really. That’s just a degrading thing,” the Richmond, Va.-based animal control pro said.

“You can’t even be elected dogcatcher, because dogcatchers were considered the low end of the spectrum, low-class, so to speak. The role used to be people from low social class, criminals, felons, etc. back in the day,” Leinberger said.  

“Obviously this field and this profession has evolved, thankfully, and we’re much more modern. Just like schoolteachers, veterinarians, doctors, lawyers — it’s a profession now. People have to go through training.”

Saying while he can’t speak for the entire association, Leinberger — who’s been in his job for 26 years — said, “We disagree with that term because to many of us, to our organization, it is not a proper representation of what we do. It’s a divisive term. It’s somewhat derogatory thing to say.”

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