Becoming an Animal Control Officer

Animal Control Officers are responsible for ensuring the well-being of animals as well as responding to claims of dangerous animals that are imposing risk to human beings. They are dedicated to handle animals of all sizes and temperaments. Their duties include investigating claims of abused, abandoned or unattended animals; examining animal licenses and inspecting animal holding facilities, such as shelters or barns; enforcing animal laws and local regulations concerning public safety; capturing and impounding dangerous or stray animals using nets, nooses, or tranquilizer darts as necessary; rescuing trapped or injured animals; arranging emergency medical treatment for animals; issuing citations and warnings for animal safety; writing incident reports; providing expert testimony in court cases etc. They help to resolve disputes between individuals about animals. Some of these professionals also educate the public about animal control safety.

Work Environment

Animal Control Officers work for various government departments, parks, recreation facilities, animal rescue organizations etc. They often respond to calls from public about stray animals, suspected animal cruelty, or deceased animals. Sometimes, they have to capture or rescue animals, but other times they administer warnings or citations to people suspected of animal cruelty. They often work in irregular hours including evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Educational Requirements

To become an Animal Control Officer, the aspirants need to complete at least a high school diploma or GED. However, some employers prefer the candidates with an associate degree or bachelor’s degree with a major of animal sciences, law enforcement or related areas. The job aspirants can also obtain practical experience by volunteering at local shelters, humane societies, and other animal organizations.

Apart from academic qualification, Animal Control Officers must have knowledge of various animal species, animal behavior, animal care and nutrition, humane capture tools and techniques etc.

The National Animal Control Association (NACA) offers exam based certification to these professionals.

Job Outlook and Salary

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the projected growth rate of job opportunities for Animal Control Officers may rise 15 percent from 2012 to 2022. The average annual salary of an Animal Control Officer was $ 32,560 in May 2014.