St. Joseph animal control responds to almost 10,000 complaint calls on dogs every year. The department says the city and rural counties have the same complaints--dealing with stray and vicious dogs. Animal control officers Steve Norman and Ellen Starks leash a roaming rottweiler. "We received a complaint the dog was running loose. The residents were afraid to approach it because the dog was growling and acting aggressive. Somebody probably would have been bit," Norman says. Meet romaing dog`s owner. Jaime Thomas knows her dog`s rottweiler-doberman mix is considered aggressive by nature, but she says her dogs are nurtured to get along with people. "She`s too scared to bite anybody, I mean she`s like a big baby," Thomas says. But animal control officers say it`s better to be safe than sorry. The City of St. Joseph employs seven full-time animal control officers, who often work around the clock responding to stray and vicious dog complaints. "We always have people available for emergency calls. We even have officers all night long due to the number of calls we get after hours," Rick Smith, St. Joseph`s Animal Control and Rescue manager, says. "Our budget here is roughly $600,000 a year." But many rural counties don`t have that luxury. "We have a problem in our small towns. They have an ordinance, but they have no way to enforce it because they don`t have the money to hire the special prosecutor it takes, they don`t have the money to run the license, because if you`re going to follow the ordinance, you have to follow all of the ordinance," Daviess County Sheriff Kevin Heldenbrand, says. Amith has been in the animal control business for 27 years. He says regardless of a community`s size, the need for control is evident. "If they don`t have animal control or law enforcement officers enforcing ordinances and laws, chances are, people are probably taking the law into their own hands, which means those animals are probably being mistreated, shot, killed, and things of that nature," Smith says. Smith says owners must be held accountable for their animal`s actions. He says he feels fortunate to make it through a year without a serious dog-bite injury, or even death, in our area. Smith says every animal owner should be educated about properly handling their animals.