What Is an Animal Cop?

As an animal cop, you'd work with law enforcement to keep animals safe by prosecuting abusers, monitoring pet shops and rescuing injured or abandoned animals. You'll also keep people safe from potentially hazardous animals. While there is no specific education route to become an animal cop, you might benefit from studying animal science and criminal justice. Read more about the qualifications for this career. Schools offering Animal Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does an Animal Cop Do?

Animal cops can be employed by law enforcement agencies or nonprofit organizations. As an animal cop, you might take on alternative roles as a humane law enforcement officer (employed by the Humane Society) or an animal control officer. Your primary goal would be to protect and rescue animals from cruel circumstances or control dangerous animals that pose a threat to people. You also might be called upon to pick up stray or unwanted animals.

Depending on your job title, you might inspect pet stores, farms and other animal service businesses to guarantee the safety, hygiene and humane treatment of animals. As an animal control officer, you could handle dangerous situations, such as a wild animal attack, rabid animal encounter or wild animal escape.

According to the Humane Society University, animal cops may wear a uniform and even carry a firearm, much like regular police officers (www.humanesocietyuniversity.org). Working as an animal control worker, you would also cite people who break animal protection laws and prosecute those who commit cruel actions against animals. You also might work to provide humane euthanasia to diseased or fatally wounded animals. Additionally, your job may involve educating the community about responsible animal practices.

How Do I Become an Animal Cop?

Educational requirements for animal control workers vary from state to state. The Humane Society University states that some areas require only a high school diploma, while others may expect a degree in animal science or law enforcement. You also might want to consider college courses in veterinary technology or criminology. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) suggests training as a peace officer, law enforcement officer or park ranger (www.aspca.org). Some community colleges offer short-term training programs, some of which lead to a state credential, in animal control.

The National Animal Control Association (NACA) offers training workshops and certification courses for professionals working with animals (www.nacanet.org). These programs can be hosted by employers to train new professionals or to update skills for workers. The three workshop levels include courses in euthanasia, animal behavior, empathy exhaustion, report writing, baton usage, animal first aid, animal diseases, animal laws, crime scene procedures and animal shelter operations.

What Can I Expect from This Job?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that the average salary for animal control workers was $33,560 in 2009 (www.bls.gov). The five highest-paying states were Nevada, California, Alaska, Minnesota and Washington.

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