How to Become a Humane Society Police Officer

Research the requirements to become a humane society police officer. Learn about the job duties, and read the step-by-step process to start a career as a humane society police officer.

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Do I Want to Be a Humane Society Police Officer?

Individuals employed as officers or investigators by humane societies investigate cases of animal neglect and abuse, as well as enforce laws protecting animals. These types of workers have many of the same job duties and requirements as animal control officers, but focus on animal cruelty investigations. Duties require a combination of office and field work. This job requires physical and emotional fitness to carry out field work where the humane society police officer can come into contact with animals and people of all dispositions and experiencing all kinds of crises. The schedule can include on-call, evening, weekend and holiday work. There is a risk of illness and injury from vicious or sick animals, as well as from exposure to physical hazards when conducting on-site investigations.

Job Requirements

A high school diploma, experience working with animals and some postsecondary training are usually required for employment. Individuals interested in becoming humane society police officers may obtain training through state humane society associations, national animal control associations, community colleges or technical schools. The following table outlines the common requirements to become a humane society police officer.

Common Requirements
Degree Level Postsecondary certificate*
Degree Field Animal cruelty investigation or animal control*
Experience Experience working with animals and the general public may be required by employers*
Key Skills Active listening, critical thinking, good judgment and decision-making, strong public speaking skills, ability to cope with high-stress situations involving animals and their owners**
Technical Skills Ability to examine animals for injuries or malnutrition, animal handling and care skills**
Additional Requirements Valid driver's license*; ability to work weekends, evenings and holidays*; ability to work independently**

Sources: *CareerBuilder.com/Monster.com job postings from December 2012, **O*Net Online

Step 1: Gain Experience Working with Animals

Individuals interested in becoming humane society police officers may first want to work with animals to see if this is what they want to do as a career. A year of experience working with animals may also be a required by employers. Aspiring humane society police officers may volunteer or seek part-time employment at local animal shelters, humane society centers or veterinary offices to gain experience. A position that also requires interacting with the public can be helpful.

Step 2: Obtain Education in Animal Cruelty or Animal Control

There are several ways to obtain training to become a humane society police officer. For one, individuals may pursue certificates in animal control at community colleges and technical schools. These programs, which typically include 40 hours of instruction, provide the basic training needed to work as an animal control officer for local government agencies. Coursework includes instruction in cruelty investigations, which is a main job function of humane society police officers. Other topics covered could include animal law, animal handling and behavior, breed identification, report writing and courtroom preparation.

Individuals may also consider programs offered by national and state associations focused on animal control, such as the National Animal Control Association and the National Animal Cruelty Investigations School. These programs are also typically 40 hours long and cover similar topics that community college and technical school programs do. Some state associations, such as the Texas Animal Control Association, also offer animal control training.

Step 3: Seek Employment

Individuals should contact humane society offices in various cities to determine whether they have police officers and if there are any job vacancies. In the meantime, they may seek employment as animal control officers. According to December 2012 job postings for animal control officers on CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com, employers included city governments and police departments.

Some employers sought applicants with high school diplomas, experience working with the public and the ability to obtain certification in animal investigation within a year of hire. It was important that applicants have a clean record regarding criminal convictions and unlawful drug use. Some employers required that applicants be age 21 or older, and both full- and part-time positions were typically available.

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