Occupational health and safety among officers who enforce animal laws in the Province of Alberta (Canada): An examination of the risks and rewards

dc.contributor.advisorRock, Melanie
dc.contributor.authorRault, Elfriede Dawn
dc.contributor.committeememberAdams, Cindy L.
dc.contributor.committeememberSpringett, Jane
dc.description.abstractWorldwide, laws exist to protect animals and to stop them from becoming public threats or nuisances. The officers who enforce animal laws precariously straddle justice and health systems. Nonetheless, these officers rarely receive recognition as skilled professionals, neither in the realm of public health nor in justice. Furthermore, their work is poorly understood in society, and within the academy. My research examined how officers who enforce animal laws perceive the risks and rewards associated with their employment, with a focus on occupational health and safety. To help with mitigating risks to this workforce, I worked closely with two professional associations in the Province of Alberta, Canada. Two tragic events, the death of an officer in the line of duty in 2012 and an assault on an officer in 2014, informed my entire study. Designed as an action research project, this qualitative ethnographic case study included in-depth interviews with officers and managers; intensive participant-observation; first-hand observations in courts of law; and an analysis of legal texts and government policies. Over the course of this study, I engaged in robust knowledge translation and mobilization activities alongside officers to advocate for improvements to their working conditions. My findings suggest that the enforcement of animal laws can contribute to public safety and community well-being. Officers spoke about the societal benefits of their work with pride, yet they consistently felt unsafe and devalued. The main findings with respect to officers’ health and safety were resource inadequacies, insufficient information, poor patterns of communication and intelligence sharing, and a culture of normalized disrespect in the law enforcement hierarchy. Significant opportunities exist in Alberta, and beyond, to improve the working conditions for officers who enforce animal laws in particular, as well as municipal bylaws and provincial statues more generally. Operationally, there is a need for greater inter-agency collaboration within and outside the justice system, consistent intelligence-sharing with other law enforcement agencies, a robust operational safety training program, improved communication with dispatch, and consistent access to personal protective equipment and defensive tools. In the academy, greater attention should be given within criminology as well as in public health to animal laws and their enforcement.en_US
dc.identifier.citationRault, E. D. (2019). Occupational health and safety among officers who enforce animal laws in the Province of Alberta (Canada): An examination of the risks and rewards (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from https://prism.ucalgary.ca.en_US
dc.publisher.facultyCumming School of Medicineen_US
dc.publisher.institutionUniversity of Calgaryen
dc.rightsUniversity of Calgary graduate students retain copyright ownership and moral rights for their thesis. You may use this material in any way that is permitted by the Copyright Act or through licensing that has been assigned to the document. For uses that are not allowable under copyright legislation or licensing, you are required to seek permission.en_US
dc.subjectOccupational Health and Safetyen_US
dc.subjectAnimal Lawen_US
dc.subjectPeace Officersen_US
dc.subjectBylaw Officersen_US
dc.subjectLaw Enforcementen_US
dc.subjectPublic Healthen_US
dc.subjectQualitative Researchen_US
dc.subject.classificationEducation--Social Sciencesen_US
dc.subject.classificationCriminology and Penologyen_US
dc.subject.classificationOccupational Health and Safetyen_US
dc.titleOccupational health and safety among officers who enforce animal laws in the Province of Alberta (Canada): An examination of the risks and rewardsen_US
dc.typedoctoral thesisen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineMedicine – Community Health Sciencesen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Calgaryen_US
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophy (PhD)en_US
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