Animal cops, also known as humane investigators or animal control officers, investigate reports of animal abuse and educate the public regarding animal safety and health.
A high school degree or equivalent is generally required to begin a career as a humane investigator. Certificate programs and formal training are beneficial due to the legal implications and safety requirements of this physically demanding and often emotionally draining career. Students can learn how to properly work with animals, some of which may seem dangerous, as well as how to respectfully communicate with the animals' owners.
Programs generally last up to one year, and some online courses may be available.
Animal Cop Certificate Programs
The National Animal Control Association (NACA) notes that animal control officers interact with the public four times as often as others in the field of law enforcement (www.nacanet.org). Investigators may also need to act as experts in cases that go to court. Due to this high level of public interaction, the curriculum of these certification programs focuses on public speaking topics as well as law. Classes may include the following:
- Animal law
- Report writing
- Courtroom preparation
- Constitutional law
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates that the job growth for animal care and service workers will grow at a faster than average rate of 11% from 2014 to 2024 (www.bls.gov). Additionally, the BLS reported that an annual median salary for animal control workers was $33,450 in May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
Those looking to explore the enforcement of laws against animal cruelty, neglect and abuse further may consider going into law enforcement. Degree programs, such as the Associate of Science (A.S.) in Animal Management, are available and some police departments designate officers with the proper training as animal control officers.
Animal cop training may involve earning a certificate that teaches aspiring animal control officers about laws involving animal cruelty and neglect and how to safely handle animals and communicate effectively with the public. Graduates interested in continuing their education can pursue degree programs in animal management in order to become law enforcement officers.