BURRILLVILLE – For 33 years he has worked to ensure the safety of both residents and animals in his care, but Burrillville Animal Control Officer Ronald Woods says it is time to hang up his beige shirt and blue hat.
Woods will serve his last day on the job on Friday, July 31, leaving behind a respected department named best in the state six times over the past six years.
He announced the news of his retirement in an open letter addressing residents on Thursday.
“This has been a truly challenging but also rewarding career, and I hope you will continue to support this fantastic department,” Woods said. “Together, we have made a difference, and you’ve helped Burrillville Animal Control be recognized as one of the best.”
A lifelong town resident, Woods is a nationally certified ACO with many other training certifications, according to Deputy Animal Control Officer Kerry Courtemanche-Brissette, his colleague for the past 16 years.
“During his many years of service, Ron saw Animal Control go through many changes, evolving from the days of the ‘dog catcher’ to today’s version of Animal Control and animal sheltering,” Courtemanche-Brissette said. “He was instrumental in making those changes in Burrillville and leaves us with a great program and shelter to continue keeping people and animals safe.”
A previous president of the Rhode Island Animal Control Officers Association, Woods work has been recognized numerous times by the Burrillville Police Department – which oversees the shelter – and his department has been voted “Best Animal Shelter/Rescue” in the Blackstone Valley in Rhode Island Monthly’s Best of Rhode Island Reader’s Poll six times in the past six years.
Recently, he oversaw major renovations of the Clear River Drive facility.
Woods thanked the Burrillville Police Department, past and present administrations, officers and dispatchers for supporting the work of his department over the years, along with all Rhode Island animal control officers, past and present.
The long list of those who Woods thanked for contributing to his work over the years also included the Rhode Island State Veterinarian; the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management; the Rhode Island Department of Health; the Rhode Island Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; Northern Rhode Island Animal Hospital; Salmon River Veterinary; Sweet Binks Rescue; Wildlife Rehabilitators Association of Rhode Island; the Harrisville, Pascoag, and Oakland-Mapleville fire companies; Town Hall workers; the Highway Department; the Recreation Department, town boards, the Building Department; and past and present Town Councils.
“Finally, but most importantly, my heartfelt thanks to all of the shelter volunteers that spend their time making our animals comfortable and loved,” Woods said. “You have all been a very important part of my life and I wish you all well.”
Woods especially thanked his past and present assistant for sharing his mission and goals, a sentiment echoed by those who worked with him.
“He was a great mentor and is a great friend,” said Courtemanche-Brissette. “It surely won’t be the same without him. I wish him all the best in his well deserved retirement.”
“I have truly been honored and blessed to be able to serve my community for so long doing something that I love,” said Woods. “I’m very proud to have helped this Department build into what we have today.”