How To Become an Animal Control Officer

Photo of police dog

If you love animals but you do not want to be a veterinarian or a zookeeper, consider a career as an animal control officer. Essentially, the job of an animal control officer is to protect animals from people and vice versa. However, they also conduct inspections of pet shops, grooming kennels and circuses to ensure that animals are being taken care of properly. Then, there is the administrative side of their duties such as working with other law enforcement officers and agencies and keeping records.

Each state in the United States has different criteria for choosing an animal control officer. If you are decided on becoming an animal control officer, you can use the following general guidelines below to get into the profession. 

Work around animals. You can either volunteer at the local animal shelter or animal control facility while you are in high school or in college. You can also seek employment in a veterinarian's clinic, an animal grooming kennel, or an animal boarding facility. This is important because an animal control officer is required to have at least six months experience doing animal control duties in a public or non-profit organization. If you do not have that, then you should have at least worked for a year in a veterinary office or animal grooming facility and your taska should have included the care and handling of animals.

Take a college degree on criminal justice or animal science. One of many duties of the animal control officer is to enforce and interpret animal regulations, laws and ordinances. An animal control officer also investigates minor animal cruelty cases. A degree in criminal justice would go a long way to ensuring that you can carry out these tasks of an animal control officer. The degree would also come in handy when you are working with other law enforcement officers in major cases of animal cruelty. 

An animal control officer is also tasked to provide basic animal disease recognition services. In addition, an animal control officer needs to address any question that the public has on the age, breed, characteristics, care and treatment of animals. If you have a degree in animal science, it would be easy for you to attend to such concerns and identify animal diseases.

Keep yourself updated on laws and regulations concerning animals in your state. As mentioned above, an animal control officer is responsible for interpreting and enforcing animal regulations, laws and ordinances. You have more chances of getting a job as an animal control officer if you know the latest legal news about animals.

Keep yourself physically fit. An animal control officer also conducts animal rescue operations. You will be better able to carry out this aspect of your job if you are physically fit to handle animals. 

The job of animal control officer is not always as easy as you would glean from the descriptions mentioned above. By following these guidelines, you will be in a better position to handle the duties and responsibilities of an animal control officer.


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