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Chinchilla Finds Home As Police Pet

A female chinchilla named Roy helps relieve stress for people at the Galt Police Department.

A female chinchilla named Roy helps relieve stress for people at the Galt Police Department.

woman holding chinchilla
Via Lodi News-Sentinel/YouTube 
Lead Dispatcher Mary-Frances Tassano explained how Roy the chinchilla joined the department.

If you visit the dispatch and communications room of the Galt Police Department in Galt, California, you might hear some interesting noises that have nothing to do with dispatch or communications. They would be coming from the cage of the department’s workplace pet, Roy the chinchilla. 

A recent article in the Lodi News-Sentinel spotlighted the department’s unique pet, which lead dispatcher Mary-Frances Tassano told the paper might be the only pet chinchilla among dispatch and communication centers; others have adopted cats as workplace pets.


The chinchilla came to the department when dispatchers visited the Sacramento County Animal Control in 2013 to bring a memorial for animal control officer Roy Marcum, who died a year earlier in the line of duty. The chinchilla had just arrived at animal control from an abusive situation and needed a home. After obtaining permission to get a pet, the dispatchers welcomed the chinchilla and named it Roy. They later learned that Roy was female, but kept the name, which honored the fallen animal control officer.

Roy has proven to be a draw for almost everyone who spots her cage, and the news article notes that she is a great stress reliever for the dispatchers, who work in shifts throughout the day and night.

Chinchillas, which are rodents, originated from South America and have been in the pet trade in the United States for decades. They are known for their plush, dense fur and the need for taking dust baths, but they are not known to be pets who like to be held. Roy must be an exception, because several of the images from the news article show her being held.

This is the first I’ve heard of a chinchilla workplace mascot. Do you know of any interesting small mammal workplace pets? Leave a comment!

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