City hires animal control officer


As a child, Ellie Haynes decided she wanted to be a police officer or veterinarian. Turns out, she got the best of both worlds.

Haynes started Monday as Madisonville Police Department’s only animal control officer. She replaces Ami Nash.

Originally from Alaska, Haynes moved to Texas several years ago so her mother could attend college. She met her husband Kenny at Blinn College, where she was studying biomedical science and minoring in business.

“Animals have always been my passion,” she said. “I was doing biomed because I wanted to open a vet clinic.”

Prior to accepting the job with Madisonville PD, Haynes stayed home with her 9-month-old son Titan and 11-year-old golden retriever Annie.

Having worked as a ranch hand apprentice and dog trainer previously, the job posting for an animal control officer was like a dream come true, Haynes said.

“I always like a challenge,” she said. “[MPD] Chief [Herbert] Gilbert was looking for someone who was comfortable with animals, and that definitely suits me.”

The job involves picking up strays – some of which may be dangerous – and working with local kennels and veterinarians. Haynes has done vaccinations in the past and said that many of her friends and neighbors look to her for guidance with their pet care.

“I’m excited to learn the ropes and help people,” Haynes said. “Some people need to learn how to take care of their animals – and once they learn how, most are happy to do it.”

Because Haynes’ husband is a tow truck driver, they have a police scanner on at their home all the time. She said she’s heard numerous reports of stray livestock, so she thinks that may be one of her top calls.

“That would just be a matter of getting them back where they need to be,” she said. “Most cattle will want to go away from you, so if you position yourself properly, they’ll go to the right place.”

Although the job does not require her to be a licensed peace officer, she will report directly to the chief or supervisor on duty. She will ultimately receive training to become a licensed animal control officer.

“The chief has asked that I build a relationship with the community,” she said. “If they have any concerns about what’s going on in their neighborhood, they can let me know.”

The training process will involve riding with an officer who will teach her the local streets and the PD computer system.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Haynes said. “I want to get to know the people in the community, and their animals, and help them out.”