On the scent of a story

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October 23, 2005|By AMY DAVIS | AMY DAVIS,SUN PHOTOGRAPHER

The shadow of Baltimore City animal control officer Robert Hudnall loomed over a backyard in the 2300 block of Aiken St. - home to two pit bulls. Hudnall was investigating a serious attack on another dog in a yard two houses away. That dog was euthanized because of the severity of the injury. The landlord of the house where the suspect dogs were kept was fined and the pit bulls ordered removed.

It was all in a day's work for Hudnall, who ranges across the city rescuing abandoned or abused dogs, cats, snakes and other pets. He also picks up sick animals, and tries to educate pet owners and capture wild animals reported as dangerous or a nuisance.

I decided that Hudnall's work might make a good story for The Sun after talking with him about his work when he rescued a young opossum that had taken up residence under my prized hydrangea bush.

Hudnall graciously allowed me to tag along as he worked. Later, Sun reporter Tyrone Richardson joined us.

I soon realized that Hudnall's job and mine as a photojournalist have a lot in common. We both find that people skills are just as important as technical proficiency in handling a variety of unpredictable and stressful situations. Our jobs take us into challenging situations, and some very sad corners of city life.

"You are their voice . . . I have a passion for helping those who can't help themselves," Hudnall said of his work with animals.

amy.davis@baltsun.com

More photos at baltimoresun.com/animalcontrol

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