What is an Animal Control Worker?

For those with a connection to or love for animals, a job within the animal control field can be a perfect opportunity for employment. There are plenty of different jobs within this field that encompass many different areas of animal control. Some of the jobs within this field include animal control officers and attendants, investigators for animal cruelty, dog wardens and catchers, canine service trainers and humane officers.

While not necessarily high-paying positions, there can still be great joy found within these jobs. Saving an abused animal from further harm can be a very rewarding experience.

Animal control workers complete a variety of different tasks depending upon the area of employment. In the most basic description, they help control abandoned and unattended animals, investigate the mistreatment or abuse of pets, determine if an animal is dangerous or help to remove a dangerous animal. However, there are a multitude of tasks required for this career, depending on experience and the employer.

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What does an Animal Control Worker do?

If there is suspected animal abuse, interviewing witnesses, investigating the crime scenes, collecting evidence and writing follow-up reports may be required.

The ability to use nets, nooses and possibly tranquilizer darts to subdue unruly animals is a necessary job requirement. Many times people call animal control because of stray or uncontrollable animals. Being able to quickly and safely remove them before they hurt themselves or people in the surrounding area will be part of the job.

People often call animal control because an injured animal has wandered onto their property. A worker in the animal control field will have to be able to determine the extent of injuries by examining the animal, as well as determine medical treatment.

Learning how to safely remove captured animals from the service vehicles used to transport the animals to the shelter is an important aspect of the job. Remember, the animal is scared and confused and has now been transported to a different location. Some of these animals may be injured or dangerous. It is a job requirement to be able to handle these animals in this type of situation and be able to place them in the cages at the shelter or animal hospital.

One of the most difficult and heart-breaking aspects of the job is euthanizing unclaimed or gravely injured animals. Administering the final shots that will take the animal’s life can be heart-wrenching and upsetting to say the least; however, it comes with the job. Most animal control agencies do not have the funds or capacity to house animals that no one comes to claim or are so injured that they require costly medicines or operations in order to survive.

A perk of this job is being able to supply personal care to the animals. This includes feeding, watering and giving the animals some one-on-one attention.

Again, depending upon the needs of the agency there may be other requirements placed on the workers.

What does it take to be an Animal Control Worker?

Previous work-related skills or experience may be helpful in this job field, but usually are not needed. Above all, one must have empathy towards animals in order to be successful in this field. A high school diploma is usually required and some positions within the field require additional training or a bachelor’s degree. Employees in the animal control field can require a few months to a year of training.

Aside from any schooling or training required, an employee in this field must also have certain qualities in order to be successful. Good listening skills are a must as sometimes an animal being referred to the worker is dangerous. Being able to listen and focus on the conversations related to tasks assigned is an integral part of the job. Being compassionate is also a needed characteristic as well. On many occasions animal control workers deal with people's pets and not just stray animals. Sometimes a worker will need to remove a family pet from the home, and thus have to have conversations with the owners. Good speaking skills will come into play often in this job field. Workers must be able to hold conversations on the phone as well as in person.

Many animal control agencies offer internships or job-shadowing opportunities for people interested in the field. Gaining some hours of experience may be helpful, and is sometimes required, before seeking employment.

What is the workplace of an Animal Control Worker like?

The workplace of an animal control employee will vary. Sometimes the workplace will basically be a service truck used to transport animals to shelters and hospitals. Other times the workplace may be within an office, in which the worker will write reports or field calls to and from law enforcement officers or the public about the possibility of injured, abused or dangerous animals. Depending on the area of the country, the workplace may actually be within wide open national parks where the worker will travel the perimeter as well as areas inside the park to insure that there are no unsafe situations involving animals.

Depending on what a worker is trained and certified for and where they are assigned, they may be alone for quite a large part of the day, or surrounded by different animals, or in an area where they are working closely with other people. This can vary from day to day as well as differ throughout the same day.

Sometimes the workplace will not be connected to the agency in any way. For example, in cases of abuse and neglect, a worker may be required to appear in court as well as help prepare evidence for the prosecution of those who mistreat animals. In this example, the courtroom would be the workplace for the animal control employee.

How much does an Animal Control Worker earn?

The salary will vary depending on experience, and the area in which the animal control worker is employed. Generally though, salaries will range from the mid $30,000 range to the low $40,000 range. This breaks down to about $16 to $22 per hour. Remember, this hourly rate is just a national average and could be much higher or lower. Also, keep in mind that some local government agencies may pay a higher salary and offer more benefits as opposed to a non-profit agency. Like any position, the rate of pay will increase as one earns more time and experience on the job.

Learn more about being an Animal Control Worker