Animal Control Officer

How to Become an Animal Control Officer

Animal control officers are important law enforcing individuals. Animal control officers can hold jobs in health departments, police departments, sheriff’s departments or parks and recreation departments. They are responsible for enforcing and interpreting animal regulations, laws and ordinances.

Duties might include:

  • Responding to emergency calls involving animals
  • Dealing with stray animals
  • Discovering and/or Investigating animal cruelty cases
  • Discovering and/ or Investigating dog fighting cases
  • Dealing with animals in a shelter
  • Investigating incidents of human contact with both wild and domestic animals (such as bites)
  • Protecting both wild and domestic animals
  • Issuing fines or taking animal owners to court for acts such as those of irresponsibility or violence
  • Educating people about animals rights
  • Documenting all cases

Animal Control Officer Education Requirements

Requirements to be an animal control officer vary from state to state, but also vary with the types of duties the officer will be expected to perform. A bachelor’s degree in criminal justice or animal science would be a good start to becoming a qualified candidate for an animal control officer position. Experience with animals would also prove to be very useful.

Job Outlook for Animal Control Officers

Because public safety is always important, there is a continued need for animal control officers in all parts of the United States. This makes job opportunities for animal control officers quite good. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, animal control officers earn an average salary of $17,077. Salaries will vary from state to state and may depend on state budgets and funding. Animal control officers who have more experience and education on their resumes will be more likely to earn higher wages.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2008-2009 Edition