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How to Become an Animal Control Officer in New York

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Animal control officers ensure the proper care of animals and enforce laws pertaining to the treatment of animals. In the state of New York, many of these officers work under the ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement (HLE) Division, which services the entire state but focuses mainly on New York City. Every month, HLE officers investigate 400 to 500 cases of animal cruelty. To work for the HLE Division, you must be a New York resident and be eligible for certification as a New York State Peace Officer. Proper education and job experience will help you stand apart from other applicants, too.

Establish New York residency. You have to be a resident of New York to work for the HLE Division. You must establish domicile (permanent residence) in New York to qualify for residency.

Finish high school. To become an animal control officer, you should hold a high school diploma or GED equivalent.

Attain a bachelor's degree in animal science or criminal justice. Although not a requirement to become an animal control officer, possessing a degree in one of these fields will set you apart from other applicants. Most four-year colleges and universities offer majors in animal science and criminal justice. Some accredited online colleges also offer these courses. Alternately, you can obtain training to become a veterinary technician, which will also prepare you for a career in animal control.

Work or volunteer at an animal shelter, animal hospital, veterinarian's office or kennel. Acquire first-hand experience working with animals and learning how to care for and treat them. Obtaining this experience will set you apart from other applicants who wish to become animal control officers, too.

Apply for a job as an HLE officer. Forward your resume to: hr@aspca.org. From time to time, the HLE Division will have job openings for qualified candidates.

Apply for other animal control positions in New York state. Contact New York state's Animal Control Association to inquire about job opportunities in the state. Conduct a job search on sites like CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com to find animal control jobs in your area. You may have to work part-time initially before a full-time position opens up.

Tip

Make sure becoming an animal control officer is right for you. Animal control officers often work under stress and witness the consequences of animal cruelty every day. Volunteer at an animal shelter or your local humane society first to decide if you want to pursue this career.

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About the Author

A native of Washington, D.C., Caroline Tung Richmond has worked as a freelance writer since 2007. Her articles have appeared in both print and online publications such as the "Baltimore Sun," "Highlights" and Travels.com. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Brigham Young University.