City Employee Spotlight for March - Karon Johnston

March 12, 2019

Karon Johnston is the City Spotlight for March

 
   Johnston has been the City of Jacksonville’s Animal Control Officer since May of 2016. She is nationally certified through the National Animal Care and Control Association. Her office has recently moved to the Public Safety Complex Building. Before her current role, she was a Veterinary Technician for 25 years, working in large and small animal, wildlife, exotics and shelter medicine. She worked at Animal Medical Center for thirteen years, Calhoun County Humane Society, and Greenbrier Animal Clinic. 
 “I’ve pretty much gone full circle in my animal skills,” says Johnston. According to Jacksonville Police Chief Marcus Wood, “Karon Johnston is an absolute wonderful Animal Control Officer. She goes above and beyond to serve the citizens of Jacksonville in their animal control needs. Animals are lucky to have an advocate such as Karon looking out for them.”
    Johnston was born and raised in Foley, AL. She is a 1990 graduate of Foley High School. She then attended Falkner State University. She is the daughter of Charles and Rosemary Johnston and has three sisters and one brother. Johnston resides in the Golden Springs community with her four cats, four dogs and two chickens. When asked about her hobbies, Johnston replied “Anything outdoors.” “I’m a nature nerd. I enjoy hiking, riding horses and going to the beach. I also like practicing yoga. I actually used to teach a class at the YMCA.”
    Johnston’s duties as Animal Control Officer include anything that has to do with animal safety, patrolling the city for any stray or loose animals, returning them to their owners, educating the community on how to be more responsible pet owners, protecting the city from wild animals, keeping animals from harm, and attends court on all animal laws within the city; anything that breaks Federal, State or City animal law.
   Johnston’s veterinary medicine background came in handy last year during the March tornadoes. “We had about 25 misplaced pets, says Johnston.” “With my knowledge and friendships with area vets I was able to assess the animals on scene and get them the help they needed and safely return them to their families.”   According to Jacksonville City Clerk Toni Rispoli Fanning, “Karon Johnston has an excellent rapport with the citizens of our city. She works hard to educate them regarding proper animal care and goes above and beyond to ensure the humane treatment of the animals she has contact with.  Karon worked tirelessly during the aftermath of our March 19, 2018 tornado to reunite the storm victims with their pets which is a perfect example of her dedication and how she has made herself an irreplaceable member of our city team.”
   Johnston talks about the most favorite part of her job. “I just love reuniting animals with their families and seeing the smiles on their faces when I bring them their lost pet; it’s very rewarding.” When asked about future plans Johnston replied, “Just keep doing what I do. I love my job and the people of Jacksonville. I really like the ‘hometown feel’ here. I enjoy talking with people and educating them on how to be better pet owners. I’m so thankful to the city of Jacksonville for allowing me to expand my training and to follow my dreams.”
  Thank you, Officer Johnston, for creating a safe environment for our community’s pets and families to live.

   It is no surprise that Karon Johnston’s occupation involves animals. Her love for animals started at a very young age. “I have always loved all types of animals; they are my passion, says Johnston.” “I lived next door to a veterinarian growing up and I used to love helping him out with the animals during the summer. For as long as I can remember I knew I wanted to work with animals. I have a knack for catching wild animals and taming them. I worked at a zoo in high school and it wasn’t unusual to have a baby lion cub running around our house. My dad is a retired State Trooper, so I was interested in that profession as well, but I decided to take the animal route. Animal Control Officer has taken on more of the law enforcement role and is not just a “dog catcher” position anymore. I work with the police department concerning all animal issues. Things have changed throughout the years with this profession. There is a higher standard expected than in years past. For instance, people are now held accountable for their actions against animals, animal cruelty is a felony.”