Should I Become a Humane Society Police Officer?
Individuals employed as officers or investigators by humane societies investigate cases of animal neglect and abuse, as well as enforcing laws protecting animals. These types of workers have many of the same job duties and requirements as animal control officers, but they focus on animal cruelty investigations. Duties require a combination of office and field work.
This job requires physical and emotional fitness to carry out field work, since humane society police officers can come into contact with animals and people of all dispositions and experiencing all kinds of crises. The schedule can include on-call, evening, weekend and holiday work.
|Degree Level||Post-secondary certificate|
|Degree Field||Animal cruelty investigation or animal control|
|Experience||Experience working with animals and the general public may be required by employers|
|Key Skills||Active listening, critical thinking, good judgment and decision-making, strong public speaking skills, ability to cope with high-stress situations involving animals and their owners; ability to examine animals for injuries or malnutrition, animal handling and care skills|
|Salary 2014)||$32,560 per year (Median salary for animal control workers)|
Sources: 'CareerBuilder.com/Monster.com' job postings from December 2012, O*Net Online, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2014)
Step 1: Gain Experience Working with Animals
Individuals interested in becoming humane society police officers may first want to work with animals to see if this is what they want to do as a career. A year of experience working with animals may also be a required by employers.
Aspiring humane society police officers may volunteer or seek part-time employment at local animal shelters, humane society centers or veterinary offices to gain experience. A position that also requires interacting with the public can be helpful.
Step 2: Obtain Education in Animal Cruelty or Animal Control
There are several ways to obtain training to become a humane society police officer. For one, individuals may pursue certificates in animal control at community colleges and technical schools. These programs, which typically include 40 hours of instruction, provide the basic training needed to work as an animal control officer for local government agencies. Coursework includes instruction in cruelty investigations, which is a main job function of humane society police officers. Other topics covered could include animal law, animal handling and behavior, breed identification, report writing and courtroom preparation.
Individuals may also consider programs offered by national and state associations focused on animal control, such as the National Animal Care & Control Association (NACA) and the National Animal Cruelty Investigations School. These programs are also typically 40 hours long and cover similar topics that community college and technical school programs do. Some state associations, such as the Texas Animal Control Association, also offer animal control training.
Step 3: Seek Employment
Individuals should contact humane society offices in various cities to determine whether they have police officers and if there are any job vacancies. In the meantime, they may seek employment as animal control officers.
Some employers sought applicants with high school diplomas, experience working with the public and the ability to obtain certification in animal investigation within a year of hire. It was important that applicants have a clean record regarding criminal convictions and unlawful drug use. Some employers required that applicants be age 21 or older, and both full- and part-time positions were typically available.
Step 4: Continue with Training Options
Officers may continue and advance their training by taking advantage of opportunities offered by professional organizations. For example, NACA offers specialized training courses in euthanasia and chemical immobilization. These courses are offered separately, but can be discounted if you should decide to enroll in both workshops. Another option could be attending one of NACA's annual training conferences. Course topics at the 2015 conference included emergency rescues, sheltering and decontamination, as well as creative capture methods.