How to Become an Animal Control Officer in California

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Animal control officers, also known as humane law enforcement officers, perform basic health examinations and administer First Aid on all animals including domestic, farm, laboratory, and zoo animals. An officer's primary objective is to investigate. He will investigate acts of cruelty or abuse, hoarding houses and puppy mill farms, and fights with animals. California humane law officers have several duties, a few of which are patrolling areas, rescuing animals, making arrests, and euthanizing animals, if necessary. During natural disasters, animal control officers rescue and care for lost or stray animals. Any animal presenting danger to themselves or others will be taken by animal control.

  • Obtain a high school diploma or GED and a California driver's license. Maintain a clean driving record as well. And be prepared to undergo an extensive background check and a psychological examination.

  • Attend the Basic Animal Law Enforcement Academy or Humane Academy. The Academy includes 80 hours of study. It is usually spread over 10 days, Monday through Friday during business hours. Check the nearest academy for dates and times. This includes 20 hours of animal care and 40 hours of California humane laws. Tuition and uniform fees apply and will vary between academies. Fees generally do not include meals or lodging. You must be at least 18 qualify for the academy.

    The final decision on whether a course satisfies the training requirements rests with the California Superior Court charged with confirming the appointment.

  • Be willing and adaptable. A humane officer should have good verbal and written communication skills. The ability to communicate effectively with the public, coworkers, and volunteers demonstrates the capability to work well with others. It is important to be highly motivated toward the welfare and humane treatment of all animals. Maturity and good judgment show a professional mannerism that is desired in the workforce. The animal control officer must be able to lift 50 pounds from ground to waist and must be able to work effectively under pressure and without close supervision. Ideally, the officer should be computer literate with some keyboard skills.

  • Find a job. Typical hours for the animal control officer are irregular. Working weekends, holidays, and being on standby are common. Dealing with unruly, vicious, and dangerous animals is always a possibility. It is the job of the officer to protect and keep animals safe and treat them as humanely as possible.

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  • Photo Credit dog image by Michal Tudek from Fotolia.com
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