By Sharon G. Nichols, senior writer
Cynthia Blevins is more than the Animal Control Officer for Mount Dora. She is the compassionate voice for any animal which walks or flies. "I love every single animal big or small. Four legged or winged," Blevins said. "Even the snakes and lizards."
Blevins has worked with animals since she was a little girl in Ruskin. The native Floridian remembers her dream was always to help animals. So, it was natural for her to go to the police academy, pass the course and then move in the direction her heart told her--animal control.
"My first years in the field I worked for Hillsborough County. There's nothing like in the field experience. I learned more from hands on knowledge than you can imagine. Working with injured animals, rescuing dogs and cats , dealing with the laws and ordinances. It was great!"
The time in Hillsborough prepared her for her job here in Mount Dora.
"I started here around 2004,'" she said. "I've had many blessings in Mount Dora. A great group of people to work with and for, you cannot imagine."
No day is ever the same for Blevins. Each day brings its rewards, challenges, even heartache.
"There are days which I deal with animal nuisance problems and help mediate neighbor complaints about an animal." Blevins said. "And 2 hours later I'm taking a wounded bird of prey to the Avian Reconditioning Center in Apopka."
Blevins works closely with local rescue organizations and Mount Dora vets quite often. "I'd be lost without these groups help. The economic down turn left some animals abandoned by their owners. Our community has stepped to the plate several times."
As much as Blevins feels the community has helped, she still needs some help getting kennels, cages for hurt rabbits and blankets and towels.
"I never know what I'll need on some of these emergency calls," she said. "Once I got a emergency call that a large lizard was in the back of a business on 441. When I got there it was a 4 foot iguana. I ended up using a laundry basket plus 4 people to help put it on top of him -while I held his tail with my pole. Then what do you transport him in?"
Blevins has dreams that she would love for the city to do.
"I would love to do pet adoption day in the dog park and even shot clinics like other cities do to help their citizens," she said. "As giving as the city is I would like to have an emergency fund so we could waive fees to help our citizens who've been hit hard with the economy."
Cynthia Blevins the woman with a heart-- feels she has the best job in the world. "I love my job," Blevins said. "I tell people I'm the luckiest person around."
Animal Control Services can be reached t 352-735-7130.
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