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Martinsville’s Stone wins Humane Society award
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Martinsville Animal Control Officer E.C. Stone is shown with a dog named Snowflake. Stone recently was presented the Humanitarian Award for 2013 by the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies. (Contributed photo)

Friday, April 12, 2013

Martinsville Animal Control Officer E.C. Stone recently was awarded the Humanitarian Award for 2013 by the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies.

“This is huge,” Stone said of the award and surprise nomination by the Martinsville-Henry County SPCA. “It was quite a shock and quite humbling at the same time, especially once I found out what the award meant. It was an honor just to be nominated, let alone being recipient of the award that is given to only one animal control officer each year,” he said.

The award was presented during a recent ceremony in Virginia Beach, Stone said.

“This is one of the biggest honors that can be given to an animal control officer,” Stone added.

The award is given to an animal control officer who has established a positive relationship and maintained the safety and health within the community, made a significant impact on improving the image of the animal control profession in the community, and demonstrated overall excellence in the performance of his job, according to a release from the federation.

As the only animal control officer in the city, Stone said his duties include maintaining the city animal shelter, investigating animal cruelty cases, picking up stray dogs and cats, and accepting owner-released animals.

Each weekday, Stone and an inmate clean the pound. He said he also must “keep up with all the paperwork” and other routine projects, such as painting, as needed.

He works with Carol Berlauk and other staff members/volunteers in the SPCA “to get the dogs and cats that we pick up adopted,” Stone said.

He considers it his duty to work to try and save animals “instead of just taking and putting animals down when their time is up. I try to give them a good fighting chance” and has held some dogs in the pound for “more than two months while trying to get them adopted.”

His relationship with the SPCA began as a working one, and “it has developed into a friendship,” Stone said. “I can’t thank the SPCA enough.”

Also, Henry County Animal Control officers Chris Price and Scott Semones taught Stone a lot when he first was assigned to the post. The Henry County officers “are kind of my go-to people when I have questions. They’ve always been there to help me” in the position that he said he considers a “learning experience.”

A self-described animal lover, Stone said he has four dogs, one cat and a horse. “I’ve always had dogs,” he said, and added that he asked for the animal control position as a result.

“After I got it, I thought, ‘this is where I should have been all the time,’” he said. “It’s still police work. I still investigate, and I still make charges,” but he now does that “from a more of a humane” standpoint.


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