Learn How to Work with Abused Animals

If you are an animal lover who wants to work with abused animals, you'll need physical strength and a compassionate nature. You may also need communication skills in order to educate the public on the humane treatment of animals. Schools offering Animal Care degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Working With Abused Animals

If you're interested in working with abused animals, some of the most popular career options include the following:

  • Animal Shelter Worker
  • Animal Enforcement Officer
  • Animal Rescue Organization Worker
  • Veterinarian/Veterinary Technician

Important Facts About Working with Abused Animals

Similar Occupations Nursing Assistant/Orderly, Medical/Clinical Lab Technologist/Technician
Work Environment Commonly on-call in a stressful environment
Job Outlook 10% (vet assistants and caretakers) to 30% (vet technologists/technicians)
Required Education Varies depending on the career

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Animal Shelter Workers

If you are willing to perform hands-on work with abused, neglected and abandoned animals, you may enjoy working in an animal shelter. As a shelter worker, you can expect to feed, groom, bathe and exercise animals. Your job duties may also include cleaning cages, as well as watching and monitoring injuries and illness.

You'll need the physical strength to lift and restrain animals and the ability to cope with the stress of seeing injured and euthanized animals. Be prepared to work long hours, late shifts and holidays in order to provide ongoing animal care. According to PayScale.com, animal care technicians earned a median annual salary of $32,114 in 2015.

Animal Enforcement Officers

As an enforcement officer, you may have to witness animal suffering and abuse first hand. Animal enforcement offers investigate reports of abused and abandoned animals in homes, pet stores and kennels. You may also rescue hurt or neglected wildlife, livestock and laboratory animals. Most enforcement jobs are offered through the state or county government. As an enforcement officer, you are authorized to issue citations and arrest animal abusers.

Animal Rescue Organizations

Running an animal rescue is a career for animal lovers with an entrepreneurial spirit. You can expect to work closely with abused animals and supervise their daily care. You may even keep rescued animals in your home. You may need administrative, marketing and fundraising skills to help manage and promote your organization.

Animal rescue operators come from many educational backgrounds, and some have may have gained animal care experience in shelters, kennels and veterinarian offices. You may choose to operate a pet adoption agency and find homes for abused animals. Or, you could open an animal sanctuary to provide a safe haven for farm animals, wild animals or endangered animals.

Veterinarians and Veterinary Technicians

Working in a veterinary office provides the opportunity to work directly with animal abuse cases. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), veterinarians are required to report abuse or neglect, as well as educate pet owners on humane treatment and care of animals (www.avma.org). Veterinarians or veterinary technicians can get involved in animal cruelty cases, either through normal treatment of patients or at the request of the court or law enforcement officials.

Skills Needed to Work With Abused Animals

In addition to physical strength and emotional stability, most animal care workers are animal advocates and need excellent communication skills. If you are comfortable with public speaking, you may educate school children and community members on cruelty prevention and pet responsibility. As an enforcement officer, you can expect to educate in the field as you encounter animal owners.

If you like to organize special events, you may help raise funds for a shelter or animal rescue operation. Shelter workers and adoption counselors educate pet owners about spaying, shots and other animal care issues.

Education and Training to Work with Abused Animals

Animal enforcement officers may need an associate's or bachelor's degree in law enforcement. Requirements vary by state and certification may be required. Previous work as a police officer or park ranger may help you get a job in this field. You will also need to become educated on animal protection laws and regulations on rabies and quarantine. Firearm training may also be necessary in some states.

Animal shelter work typically requires a high school diploma or equivalent. You may consider volunteering at a shelter to gain experience. A promotion to shelter manager or director will increase your salary, but you'll need additional education and training through an animal welfare or animal studies undergraduate program.

Veterinarian technicians will need a minimum of an associate's degree from an AVMA accredited program and will have to successfully pass a credentialing examination. Veterinarians training comes from a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program and once completed, these professionals will also need state licensure.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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