The Humane Law Enforcement division is the animal control division for the ASPCA. The HLE investigates 400 to 500 cases of animal cruelty each year and even has a show on the Animal Planet channel called Animal Precinct. However, the HLE only has jurisdiction in the state of New York. All other branches of the SPCA use either contract animal control officers or have their own division of humane law enforcement.
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The education needed to be an entry-level Animal Control officer is flexible and highly dependent on the specific municipality. A degree in criminal justice, criminology or veterinarian technology would be beneficial but in some areas a high school degree with on-the-job training may be adequate. However, any knowledge of anti-cruelty and animal control laws, standards of care and typical animal diseases would benefit the applicant regardless of education.
Animal Control officers must obviously have a love for animals. However, to be successful, officers must learn to distance themselves from the animals to avoid becoming overly attached. AC officers must learn to communicate effectively and work well in a bureaucratic setting. Prior experience as a park ranger, police officer or peace officer will benefit applicants as well.
Working for the SPCA
To become an animal control officer the ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement agency recommends contacting state and local animal organisation and animal control offices for area-specific information. Local law enforcement agencies might have contact information and may even offer animal control training programs as well. The National Animal Control Association has a three-level training course and a yearly training summit as well.
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