Animal Control

What is an Animal Control Officer?

Animal Control Officers typically work for a municipality and are charged with responding to calls for their services. An Animal Control Officer’s duties include capturing stray animals, investigating reports of cruelty to animals, investigating reports of dog fighting, managing a compound or shelter for animals and arranging the adoption or disposing of any confiscated animals. Animal Control Officers may also work with local health departments, police and other law enforcement agencies on matters dealing with animals. Other responsibilities may include:

  • Respond to complaints from citizens
  • Track animals in all environments, at all times of day or night
  • Explain bylaws to violators
  • Try to reach an understanding and obtain compliance with violated bylaws
  • Enforce bylaws by issuing orders to correct problems
  • Arrange for action to be taken when orders are not followed (removing animals from homes)
  • Enforce bylaws with tickets, summonses and subpoenas
  • Prepare related legal documents
  • Appear in court and give testimony

The typical day will involve listening to complaints from community members, documenting those meetings and following up on the issues. If there is in fact a bylaw violation, animal control officers will take whatever measures necessary to remedy the situation. Some animal control officers patrol public areas, watching for violations. The job permits for work outdoors, as well as travel throughout the community.

What type of education is required?

The required background for an entry-level position as an Animal Control Officer is somewhat flexible and varies by region and municipality. While a high school diploma with on-the-job training may be adequate, a relevant associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a field like law enforcement, criminology or veterinary technology will surely help start a career as an Animal Control Officer. Relevant background or coursework includes knowledge of anti-cruelty and animal control laws, standards of animal care, typical animal diseases and treatments and fundamental rules of criminal procedure.

What is the expected salary?

Entry Level Salary is $12,750 a year with an average salary of $38,430.

How can I prepare myself for a job as an Animal Control Officer while at NC State?

A student interested in becoming an Animal Control Officer could begin by taking classes relating to animal science or law enforcement such as the United Kingdom: Introduction to Animal Behavior and Veterinary Physiotherapy (ANS 395), Animal Nutrition (ANS 230), and animal management courses. Another option is to pursue a minor in Law and Justice which can gain a student more experience by taking law enforcement related classwork.

What kind of experience is required?

Prior knowledge with law enforcement policies and experience in animal behavior is preferred. Some animal control agencies may require completion of additional animal control training programs or on-the-job-training. Experience with assessing animal behavior and handling animals is beneficial.

Where can I find more information?

Visit the National Animal Care & Control Association’s website to learn more about careers and online animal control courses-

Career Opportunities

There are many opportunities available with the animal control and service. The National Animal Care and Control Association has a breakdown of the careers within this sector.