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The challenges of an animal rescuer are many. He must understand animals and how to handle them when they're frightened, abused, injured or defensive. He must be able to handle himself when confronted by angry pet owners. He must also understand the law and when an act of animal abuse can be prosecuted. Rescuers both protect people from dangerous animals and protect animals from uncaring people. The salary a rescuer earns depends a lot on his location.
In 2010, 15,040 animal rescue workers were employed across the nation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average salary they received was $16.35 an hour, or $34,020 a year. The lowest-paid 10 percent averaged $9.48 an hour, or $19,720 a year, while the highest-paid 10 percent averaged $24.93 an hour, or $51,840 a year.
Salary by Industry
The top-paying industries for animal control workers in 2010 were professional, scientific or technical businesses, which paid an average of $22.09 an hour, or $45,940 However, the biggest employers were local agencies, which hired 13,400 animal rescuers that year, says the BLS. The average local agency pay was $16.53, or $34,380. State agencies paid an average of $18.33 an hour, or $38,120 a year.
State by State
California employed more animal rescuers in 2010 than any other state. The 2,110 working there averaged $22.70 an hour, or $47,220. Maine reported the highest concentration of workers per square mile, where the pay was $11.17 an hour, or $23,230 a year, and Nevada was the highest-paying state, where the average salary was $23.53 an hour, or $48,930 a year.
The Dallas-Plano-Irving metropolitan areas of Texas hired more animal rescuers than any other metropolitan region in 2010, the BLS notes. The average pay there was $16.51 an hour, or $34,340 a year. The best-paying metro areas were Las Vegas and Paradise, Nevada, where rescuers took home $25.61 an hour, or $53,270 a year. South Central Kentucky reported averages less than the national one at $10.02 an hour, or $20,840 a year, as did Natchitoches, Louisiana, at $11.03 an hour, or $22,940 a year.