Working with animals : Career Outlook: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
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Job Opportunities in Animal Care & Control
Submitted by Laura Lanza, Calcasieu Parish Animal Control and
Protection Department, Lake Charles, Louisiana. Laura
developed this information to distribute to high school students who
participate in career day. If you know someone interested in
the challenging field of Animal Control, then read on!
The challenges and rewards of a job in Animal Control are
extensive. The field of Animal Control is one of the fastest
growing professions in the country. The days of the "dogcatcher" and the
"pounds" are quickly disappearing forever! Animal Control
Officers and other employees in the field of Animal Control work and
strive to serve the public as the frontline of defense to
protect the health and safety of humans and animals.
The 5-point focus of an animal control program is:
- Public health.
- Public safety.
- Law enforcement.
- Protection of pets and people with education and intervention.
- Agency interaction in communication and cooperative endeavors.
The National Animal Care & Control Association sums it up perfectly:
"Animal Control is a program that effectively treats the symptoms
while seeking to eliminate the causes by compassionately
using the tools of education and enforcement."
Job Opportunities in Animal Control
Animal Control Officers
Rabies Control/Bite Investigators
Animal Care Technicians
Animal Care Attendants
Clerks I & II
Secretaries I - II - III
Data Processing Clerks
Minimum wage - up; increases usually available based upon
specialized training. (Varies by geographical area. Also depends upon
the size of the community and their commitment to modern animal control
programs and whether the animal control department is privately run as
a humane society with joint service contracts for animal control or a
governmentally operated department)
Greatest opportunities range in upper-level trained positions
(management and investigator levels can earn potentially $50,000 -
$85,000 in metropolitan areas; $30,000 - $45,000 in mid-sized
communities; $12,000 - $24,000 in small communities).
Minimum high school or GED for entry-level positions; college
degree in a field of study related to the nature of the job is
preferred (or some experience to compensate). Most positions require
ongoing specialized training (i.e.: certified euthanasia technician,
certified in chemical capture, National Animal Control Association
certification, etc.). Employment usually requires mandatory drug
screening, background checks, and a valid driver's license.
Areas of Academic Interests:
Business, math, science, biology, English, zoology, electives,
humanities, sociology, health, psychology, computer sciences, etc.
Animal Control is one of the fastest growing professions in the
country. This area involves public health and safety (rabies and other
zoonotic diseases, animal bites, etc.) and law enforcement (local,
state and national laws pertaining to animals).
Smaller communities are usually limited in positions and
advancement opportunities. Small cities sometimes operate as one or
two-person departments. Mid-sized and larger cities offer the most
variety and opportunities for advancement within the Animal Control
Employees entering the Animal Control field in the 90's, that remain dedicated and committed to
professionalism, have the potential to be "administrators" in the future.
Pros and Cons of Working in the Field of Animal Control
The ability to protect pets and people.
There is a joy to adopting animals to loving, responsible people who have planned for the lifetime commitment to a pet.
There are opportunities to rescue animals from cruelty
situations and prosecute the individuals who often torture & abuse
It is gratifying to assure that impounded animals are being
provided the proper and humane care at the shelter, until the pet owner
reclaims them or until they are (hopefully) adopted.
There is an inner peace to know that if no one will care for the
surplus, unwanted, diseased, and even vicious animals, your concern
will guarantee they are provided a humane and dignified death when
there are no other alternatives.
Animal Control work is NEVER dull, and the challenges are never-ending!
Unusual animal calls offer a variety of work and provides an excitement to meet the unexpected challenges.
When good programs are developed to change outdated systems, it feels good to know your efforts made a difference.
There are friendships that develop with people all over the
country from your work efforts that can last a lifetime, because you
genuinely understand each others jobs.
There is scientific data that has proven pets are beneficial to
human health. It is a great feeling to match a perfect pet to the right
Animal Control employees in the 90's have benefited from the efforts of those preceding us; they
professionalized this field of work into careers we can all be proud of!
It's frustrating to know you often satisfy the person making a complaint but make the pet owner angry when you do your job.
The general public often does not understand the need for animal
control enforcement until it is their child that is bitten by a dog or
their pet is attacked.
Pets evoke tremendous emotions in people so Animal Control
workers often observe otherwise "decent" people, at their very worst in
attitudes and conduct when the officer impounds their pet or issues
them a citation.
Many people still do not believe, or won't accept, the realities of pet overpopulation and blame
Animal Control for killing animals, instead of those who create the problems.
People want to own animals but often don't want to accept the
personal & financial responsibility of pet ownership, then blame
others when there are problems.
Animal Control employees are often expected to do incredible
feats and have expert knowledge without receiving adequate training,
compensation or recognition.
Animal Control workers suffer tremendous stress from the verbal
and physical abuse from citizens, depression from animal euthanasia,
and are susceptible to communicable diseases and serious injuries from
both animals and humans.
A long-term commitment in Animal Control requires tremendous dedication to the animals and the public.
Some positions require a willingness to work long hours and be
"on-call" at night, weekends and holidays to answer emergency calls for