Ann Harford, right, receives a proclamation on Oct. 13 at Donald Small School from Bath City Council Chairwoman Mari Eosco, thanking Harford for her service to the Bath Police Department. Harford retired after 27 years as the department’s animal control officer in April, but due to the pandemic, the city had to postpone the ceremony. Courtesy / Bath Police Department

BATH — If anyone can speak to how long Ann Harford has been committed to animals and public service, it’s Bath Police Chief Michael Field.

“I’ve actually known Ann since I was a teenager,” he said.

Harford, 66, retired in April after serving the department for 27 years as its animal control officer, but at the time the coronavirus pandemic prevented any kind of acknowledgement. Last week, the department finally had a chance to say “thank you” in person at a small ceremony of recognition on Tuesday.

Harford grew up in Bath and graduated from Morse High School in 1973, according to the department. She earned an associate degree with “medical secretary” listed as a major from what was then Husson College in 1975.

Field said Harford took over in 1994 for the previous animal control officer, who happened to be Field’s father, Wesley Field. Field said he was with the department when Ann joined and has always appreciated her dedication. He called her “a big piece of our department and important piece of our department.”

Technically, Field said, she only worked for 20 hours a week, but Harford didn’t let the time clock dictate her work schedule, as evidenced by her being named the city’s employee of the year three times throughout her career.

“She gave a lot more time than that, there’s no doubt about it,” Field said.

Along with her department job, Field said Harford also used to manage what is now called Midcoast Humane in Brunswick and she worked as a veterinary technician at the Coastal Veterinary Clinic in Wiscasset.

Field said Harford’s love for animals was part of the reason she served the department so well. He called her “a very compassionate person. That’s her number one trait.”

On Oct. 13, the department recognized her in a small ceremony at the Donald Small School, where City Council Chairwoman Mari Eosco read a short proclamation thanking her for her service.

Eosco said Harford recently came to the rescue when Eosco’s dog went missing in February. The dog was found, safe and sound, in Woolwich, and Eosco said Harford had been very helpful.

Eosco said she remembered her joy at the time at finding her dog at a car dealership and sensed that Harford was happy to help.

“That was a moment where she felt good about the job that she has,” Eosco said.

Harford declined to be interviewed for this story, but Eosco said her shyness says something about her character.

“I think she’s just very humble about the job that she’s done for so long,” she said.

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