What is the role of an animal control officer?

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An animal control officer is an employee of a city or county who responds to calls from the public regarding wild, dangerous animals, or animals in distress. These officers either work directly for the local government, or are contracted by the local humane society or shelter. They function to prevent cruelty to animals, and to keep stray animals from being injured by cars or attacking humans. An animal control officer typically works with the police, health departments, and parks and recreation boards, as well as other organizations to confine animals, or investigate animal bites to humans.

Animal control officers are called to pick up stray animals, which their owners can reclaim for a fine from the local shelter. The extent of an animal control officer’s authority depends on the agency they work for; if the officer is also certified as a law enforcement officer, they have the full authority of any other member of the police force.

Another role of an animal control officer is to adopt out the animals at the shelter. These animals, if picked up as strays, are held for seven days. After a week’s time, the officer may allow a rescue to pull them from the shelter and put them up for adoption. A good animal control officer will work with reputable local rescues to help move the animals out of the shelter.

Animal control officers are charged with the humane euthanasia of certain animals in the shelter, but a quality officer will try to avoid euthanizing an animal at all costs by finding it an adoptive family. Most euthanized animals are terminally ill, dangerous, or mortally wounded.

An animal control officer is the public’s means of removing dangerous, stray and homeless animals from their community.

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