How to Be an Animal Control Officer
By Eric Hammer
If you love animals, then you may well want to look into becoming
an animal control officer. As an animal control officer, you
will have a multi faceted job which involves a variety of different
responsibilities, including enforcing laws relating to animals,
visiting pet stores and zoos and of course collecting animals
off the street which may be lost or wild.
In other words, an animal control officer actually wears a
number of different hats throughout her day and she is responsible
needs to be able to handle all of these jobs cogently. You also
need to be comfortable working with people as they will often
be quite distraught when they contact you to ask about a particular
animal that may have taken up residence in their back yard.
However, for all that an animal control officer must know
a great deal about many different things, the job is not considered
to be particularly glamorous or exciting. The work is often hard,
with long hours working outdoors. However, if you happen to enjoy
working with animals, then none of that is likely to matter to
How Much Can You Make?
According to education Portal, the average salary for an animal
control officer as of 2011 is $29,370 per year. This number can
of course go up or down depending on experience and where you
happen to be working.
Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities
Remember that as an animal control officer, your primary job
is to enforce the law when it comes to all kinds of animals.
This means you may occasionally find yourself in confrontation
with people keeping illegal pets such as venomous snakes or alligators
in their homes (yes, people really do keep both of these kinds
of animals as pets, not realizing or fully appreciating that
they are quite dangerous).
You will also need to know how to deal with a wide variety
of different kinds of animals as you may be called on to pick
up a stray dog one day and an escaped lion from the zoo the next
day. Therefore, you need to have a solid education in how animals
think and react so that you know how to handle them safely out
in the field.
Finally, as an animal control officer, you need to enjoy working
with animals but not be so attached to them that you have trouble
letting go. Sadly, a part of your job may be to put animals to
sleep if they are too sick to be cared for or if homes cannot
be found for them. Therefore, it's important that, while you
care for animals, you can be dispassionate enough to realize
that they are animals and not people.
Qualifications / Requirements
The requirements for animal control officers vary from state
to state and from locality to locality. Some areas will hire
an animal control officer who has nothing more than a high school
diploma while others will require a bachelor's degree in criminology,
veterinary medicine or some other related field. It is rare however
for an animal control officer to need to take a master's degree
Start by contacting your city civil service department and
asking what the requirements are for becoming an animal control
officer. Then, try and talk to some people who are already on
the job and ask them what they recommend doing in order to get
a job in your city. This is important as the rules in each city
are different and there are also often unwritten rules which
you won't find out about unless you speak to others who are already
in the profession.
Check out these helpful resources to learn more about becoming
an animal control officer:
Dog Channel: How to Become an Animal Control Officer
- A good basic introduction to what it takes to become an animal
Animal Control Association - A national organization dedicated
to working with animal control officers all over the country.