Animal Control Officer: What Is It and How to Become One

There are over 11,580 animal control officers in the US. They’re the unsung heroes of the community that keep all residents safe.

You may have seen them giving a lecture about animal care. When they’re not educating, they’re on the lookout for animals who are abused, abandoned, or stuck. They have the experience to take them to a new habitat safely.

If you’re interested in a rewarding career in this field, read on to learn what an animal control officer does and how to become one.

What An Animal Control Officer Does

Animal control officers were once known as dog catchers, but their role has expanded since then. Today, they have several duties that go beyond the scope of capturing dogs. Their work focusing on keeping communities and the animals in them safe.

It’s an animal control officer’s job to capture and relocate dangerous animals like snakes or coyotes that enter a home. If you want to learn about the most common entry points that these creatures use, read more here.

The officers’ duties also extend to animal rescue. They must find and save abandoned, abused, stray, or trapped animals.

They investigate animal cruelty cases and issue citations and warnings to suspects. Once the cases goes to court, they may be called upon to give their expert testimony.

The job also makes them an integral part of their community. They give educational seminars to provide information about basic animal care, rescue, and other important subjects.

Many animal control officers are on-call and could be sent to perform these duieis at any moment. They also spend a lot of their time on patrol looking for cases of dangerous or abused animals.

How to Become an Animal Control Officer

You’ll need to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED to become an animal control officer. A college degree in animal or criminology-related fields makes you an even more desirable candidate. Many states require you to complete a certification course.

You’ll also need several skills such as emotional stability, interpersonal skills, and physical ability and stamina. You should be knowledgable in several areas, including:

  • Animal care, first aid, and nutrition
  • Humane animal rescue techinuqes
  • Public relations
  • Cruelty investigation
  • Law enforcement

Previous animal experience is helpful but not required. This could include working or volunteering as a vet tech, animal trainer, wildlife reahbilitor, or shelter manager.

Where to Learn More

Dog catchers once had a negative reputation, but their role has expanded since then. They now have the title of animal control officers, a job that deserves respect. They do more than take away strays; they work on abuse cases, relocate dangerous animals, give educational lectures, and more.

You’ll need physical ability to endure long days and the interpersonal skills to work with the community if you want to become one. You may also need to complete a certification course to learn basic law concepts and animal care and rescue skills.

Read the rest of our content for more information.