Burrillville’s Courtemanche-Brissette named Shelter Worker of the Year

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BURRILLVILLE – Deputy Animal Control Officer Kerry Courtemanche-Brissette has been recognized by an organization that honors those who go “above and beyond,” in caring for homeless animals.

Handsome Dan’s Rescue named Burrillville Animal Control’s Courtemanche-Brissette the 2019 Shelter Worker of the Year. The award is given out annually to an employee of a Rhode Island-based shelter or animal care facility.

Courtemanche-Brissette was nominated for the award by several anonymous parties, including a former colleague.

A North Smithfield native, she was hired for the role, which operates under the umbrella of the Burrillville Police Department, in 2004. She is one of only two full-time employees at the recently renovated Clear River Drive facility.

Courtemanche-Brissette is certified by the American Animal Cruelty Investigations School in canine and feline CPR and investigative body condition scoring. She received a commendation for her work from the town in 2008.

Burrillville’s deputy ACO was also nominated for the award last time Handsome Dan’s, a non-profit that assists with the placement, care, shelter and training of canines throughout Rhode Island, gave out the honor.

That year, Nicole Ferrara of the Cranston Animal Shelter was ultimately chosen.

The organization put out a new request for nominations in October. and in announcing the news, on Tuesday, March 31, noting that Courtemanche-Brissette received several mentions.

One, from an anonymous former colleague, stated, “Kerry has always been very dedicated to her profession. I can see that she strives to provide the best she can for the animals in her care and her community. I could always count on her for advice in a difficult situation. Kerry truly does amazing work for her town.”

Nominees for the award may not work in a supervisory or management role, as Handsome Dan’s aims to honor workers who often go unnoticed.

“Often unseen and underpaid, these folks care for homeless, defeated, and abandoned animals,” the call out for nominees noted. “It takes a lot out of them, the cleaning, the paperwork, and most importantly the heartbreak that comes with the job. Yet they return to work each day to offer a kind hand and smile to animals who have no one else.”

In naming Courtemanche-Brissette this week, the group noted, “Just a few months ago I met Kerry after her shift at an emergency with a dog she was trying to save, who was found in awful shape. We worked together to get this dog the best care available. We have several stories just like this about Kerry.”

A second nominating party explained, “She is a true lover of all animals, big and small. She goes way beyond what is expected of her.”

The honor comes with a plaque and gift basket valuing $300.

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