Lynn’s animal control officer an animal lover too

LYNN – If you’ve paid attention to the news lately, you might think Kevin Farnsworth is a busy guy.Lynn’s only animal control officer dealt with four dog attacks in the past month on top of all the other calls he received.”It’s not an easy job,” Farnsworth said. “People don’t realize how dangerous it can be.”On Nov. 9, he successfully stopped a fight between three pit bulls in a Beacon Hill Avenue driveway as the female owner stood by in hysterics.Though Farnsworth wouldn’t mind some extra help – he says an additional officer would be nice – he still gets a kick out of quelling risky situations.”What I enjoy is that it makes me do things that I didn’t think I could do,” Farnsworth said. “Like a police officer in a dangerous situation – you gotta do what you gotta do.”Even though he is armed, Farnsworth says shooting a vicious dog is always the last option.”You’ve got to gather up experience and read the dog’s body language,” he said. “It’s all about the body language. You can usually work with them a little bit.”Being an animal lover comes with his job. Farnsworth and his wife own a Greyhound dog and two cats. Up until recently they also had two other dogs, a Doberman Pincher and another Greyhound, but both died recently of natural causes.One of their adopted cats, a male Siamese named “Mason” was discovered abandoned at the Lynn police station with a note attached. It read: “I can’t afford my cat. Can you?”The cat was found inside a box with spilled milk and was full of fleas.Farnsworth and his wife named it “Mason” because he belongs to the Free Masons.WILD ANIMALSWith over 20 years on the job, it’s fair to say Farnsworth responded to a share of interesting calls – some of them more gruesome than others.One of those calls happened about 15 years ago on Marianna Street, he said.”A guy died in his house and he had five dogs,” Farnsworth explained. “And the dogs were eating at the body for a week. It was pretty gory.”Farnsworth says one of his scariest moments on the job happened several years ago at the former Cobbet Junior High School on Essex Street.As police stood by, Farnsworth was called to diffuse two aggressive Akitas roaming around the playground full of children.”I got one and I had to worry about the other one grabbing me,” Farnsworth said.Luckily, he stopped the situation without anyone getting hurt.”I remember shaking like a leaf afterwards,” he said. “One cop looked at me and said, ‘That’s not being scared. That’s adrenaline.'”Again, he says sensing the dog’s body language can make the difference in this type of situation.”People are amazed sometimes when I get a dog on a leash,” he said.While vicious dogs have been dominating the headlines lately, that’s only one part of the wide variety of calls Farnsworth receives.He says deer sightings in Lynn are “more common than you might think.” He has handled four cases of deer getting struck by vehicles this year, including a recent case on Parkland Avenue when the animal had to be euthanized.However, that deer incident was not as memorable as one that occurred in Central Square a few years ago, when a deer wandered down the train tracks from Swampscott and jumped off the commuter rail station’s elevated platform onto Washington Street about 25 feet below.Farnsworth believes the deer population has increased in the past five years, notably in the Lynn Woods area.”With the last few mild winters, we’ve had quite a few roaming around up there,” he said.Farnsworth adds that pet owners should remember to take their animals inside at night because of the threat of coyotes.”We’ve had neighborhood cats and small dogs disappear,” he said.While the recent dog calls have kept him busy, Farnsworth says his calls for assistance are beginning to slow down, which is typical for the fall and winter months. His busy season usually starts when humans set their clocks forward in the spring and ends when we fall back in autumn.”It makes a difference,” Farnsworth said of the extension of day

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