Animal Treatment Investigator: Job Description, Duties and Outlook

Sep 19, 2019

Often employed by local or state governments, animal treatment investigators handle cases of animal abuse and respond to witness concerns about issues involving maltreatment, inadequate food and cruelty. There is no education requirement for this career, although some states require cruelty investigators to be certified. Many animal treatment investigators receive training or certification through the American Humane Society and other similar organizations.

Essential Information

Animal treatment investigators go to the aid of animals that are being abused, neglected or harmed in other ways. Investigators question witnesses and animal owners to determine if the animals should be taken away to a shelter for care. This career typically does not require any formal education, though some states require certification or training through the American Humane Society.

Required Education None
Other Requirements Certification or training through organizations such as the American Humane Society required by some states
Projected Job Growth (2018-2028)* 6% increase for animal control workers
Median Salary (2018)* $36,330 for animal control workers

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Animal Treatment Investigator Job Description

Animal treatment investigators, often called animal control officers, respond to complaints about animal abuse. This may include reports about things like animals confined in cages or pens without enough food and water. Sometimes reports of cruelty involving dog-fighting or cock-fighting are received.

Animal cruelty investigators generally work for local, county and state governments. These professionals may be required to undergo specialized training for the job. Some states mandate that animal cruelty investigators be certified in order to enforce the animal cruelty statutes of the state.

Aspiring animal treatment investigators may also consider working for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Humane Law Enforcement division. These individuals are empowered to conduct cruelty investigations in some states. Prospective candidates may check with their state boards for more specific information.

Animal Treatment Investigator Duties

When animal cruelty investigators receive animal cruelty reports, they may begin their investigations by searching out the facts, talking to the witnesses and accumulating evidence to file a report. Depending on their findings, they may then take charge of abused animals and relocate them to animal shelters. These professionals may also schedule veterinary treatment for mistreated animals and euthanize those that are too ill or injured to recover. During the process, animal treatment investigators may prepare documents needed to prosecute cases of animal cruelty and testify in court.

Animal Treatment Investigator Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that employment of animal control workers was expected to grow as fast as the national average from 2018-2028. According to the BLS, the continuing realization that animal abuse and human abuse are often linked should lead to better funding for animal shelters and increasing coordination between shelters, law enforcement and social service organizations.

Specific duties of an animal treatment investigator often involve interviewing witnesses of animal abuse, preparing reports based on accumulated evidence, euthanizing injured animals, testifying in court and taking animals away from abusive owners. Employment through the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals' Humane Law Enforcement division is a potential career choice for individuals wishing to enter this field, as is employment with local or state governments. No formal postsecondary education is required for this career, though some states may require specialized training or certification.

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