Animal Police Career Information and Requirements

Animal police officers require little formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and training requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

If you're interested in serving the public as an animal police officer, you can gain experience through on-the-job training or obtaining a certificate. Animal police officers have many responsibilities and duties and are an asset to the community.

Essential Information

The men and women who work as animal police, also known as animal control officers, safeguard animal welfare and protect the public from potentially dangerous pets or wildlife. While individuals who love animals may enjoy this profession, there are many emotional and physical challenges presented by the work. A high school diploma and experience working with animals are the standard requirements for entering this field.

Required Education High school diploma or equivalent
Other Requirements On-the-job training may be required; experience in an animal-related field may also be necessary
Certification Voluntary
Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)* 6% for all animal control workers
Median Salary (2015)* $33,450 for all animal control workers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Animal Police Career Information

Animal control officers (or animal police) may work for local law enforcement or other local agencies. Their job is to ensure the safety of both people and animals and enforce any local, state and national animal laws.

Animal officers may respond to complaints about animal nuisances, strays, neglect or rabid animals. They may be in charge of transporting injured or deceased animals and euthanizing strays or sick animals that have been left at animal shelters. Familiarity with animal welfare laws and regulations is a job requirement, since animal police may be called upon to inspect kennels or other commercial animal establishments for humane and sanitary conditions. They may also be involved with helping individuals or businesses obtain or maintain licensure. Animal officers, who may attend hearings and other legal proceedings, may prosecute animal cruelty and neglect cases.

While there may be great satisfaction in a career helping and protecting animals and people, animal officers also must deal with many unpleasant job tasks. They may have to deal with irate members of the public or pet owners who are cited or whose pets are impounded. Animal officers may be subject to attacks from fearful or rabid animals and may have to work long or impromptu hours when there are emergency situations.

Job Outlook and Salary Information

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of animal control workers was predicted to increase 6% from 2014-2024, which is equivalent to about 900 new jobs. As of May 2015, the median annual income for animal control workers was $33,450.

Additional Options and Requirements

A high-school education is often sufficient to join an animal police unit. Although training in law enforcement and safe animal handling may be provided on the job, experience in the field is preferred. Individuals considering joining the animal police may want to first work at a local animal shelter, veterinary office or other animal business.

The National Animal Control Association (NACA) provides certification for those in the profession. This certification requires completion of two levels of training and is required by certain states. NACA also provides Euthanasia Certification, Chemical Immobilization Certification and Bite Stick Certification.

As a member of the animal police, your job is to protect against animal cruelty, pick up homeless animals, and control any nuisance or unhinged animal, among other duties. Jobs are growing at a 6% rate for the next decade, according to the BLS, which could make this a good fit for your future career.


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