Jack Jones' office is an
Hanging on one wall, his
military commendations and photos, along with a framed
collection of Kansas City, Kan., police badges he's
collected in his 42-year career with the department.
On the other side of his office is a collection of
Native American art and animal statues.
The contrasting mix of the
room shows a strict enforcer who is compassionate
toward others - two qualities needed to be a
successful animal-control director.
"The most important part
of my job is ensuring we have safe neighborhoods for
people and for companion animals," said Jones. "The
most satisfying part of my job is when someone comes
in and adopts an animal and I see them a year later
and they tell me how that animal became a part of
their family, I know that they just didn't get an
animal, but a companion."
Jones, 72, lives in
Edwardsville, and is a native of Oklahoma. Raised by
his grandparents on their horse farm, he feels his
formative years helped establish his passion for
animals. He also had an interest in guns, so he
decided to join the military police when he enlisted
in the Air Force.
Jones served in Korea,
Japan, French Morocco, England and France during his
13-year military stint, and then, at the urging of a
friend, settled in the Kansas City area. He joined the
Police Department and served as a civilian police
adviser in Vietnam. When he returned, he rose in the
ranks from patrolman to captain by the time he retired
"In 1986, they asked me to
come back when the Police Department was getting ready
to take over animal control," Jones said. "I've now
served under every police chief we've had since 1960."
He also worked for animal welfare for the state for
Jones manages 14 people in
animal control when the department is fully staffed,
and he is responsible for enforcing animal-control
codes, picking up stray and wild animals and their
ultimate adoption or disposal.
"The part I dislike about
my job is having to destroy animals due to the lack of
responsibility shown by citizen owners who don't
provide proper care for their animals," said Jones.
Jones feels the solution
to the problem of unwanted animals in the city begins
with educating the public about the animal
overpopulation problem. He regularly talks with
neighborhood groups and goes out into the community.
"When someone tells me
they want their animals to breed so their children can
see the miracle of birth, I tell them to come into the
shelter on a Tuesday or Thursday so they can see the
tragedy of death," Jones said.
Jones has implemented
educational programs and translated most of the
literature at animal control into Spanish. He also was
part of a mayor's task force that helped push a new
law requiring pet owners to have their animals
spayed or neutered. The animal-control department has
recently brought the euthanasia rate down from about
70 percent to 50 percent. Jones said he would like to
see that number go lower and he expects it to continue
to drop, as more people are educated.
Police Chief Ron Miller,
who has known Jones for more than 30 years, said
Jones' military and police training, mixed with his
values, has been a good fit for animal control.
"He was a police
commanding officer when I was a young patrolman," said
Miller. "He's very knowledgeable in a variety of areas
and is a man of integrity. He's dedicated to law
enforcement and public service and he's a person who I
listen to. I'm glad to have him working for us."
Jones said when he is not
working, he likes to go out by himself and fish. "I
like the quiet," he said. Jones has competed in and
won several bass tournaments, but said sometimes he
likes to fish for crappie and catfish.
His favorite hole is Lake
Overholster outside of Oklahoma City. Jones also still
likes to collect guns and one of his most prized is a
John Wayne Coach shotgun.
But Jones feels his
greatest accomplishment has been the opportunity to
work as a police officer.
"Being able to serve on
the Police Department for 23 years and assisting many
people is an accomplishment," Jones said. "Just being
able to help people."
Jones describes himself as
an "old dog catcher," and said his ultimate goal would
be to be able to eliminate the need for an
animal-control department. But he knows that's
impossible and he doesn't have any immediate plans to
retire again soon. "When you retire and sit around on
your porch, you get old," Jones said. "I'm old, but I
don't feel old and you're only as old as you feel."
Jones lives with his wife,
Carolyn. They've been married for 33 years. He has two