Getting Started in the Animal Control and Protection Field

Getting Started in the Animal Control and Protection Field
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Module 1
Recorded on: 2021-06-29
Unit 1 Slide Deck: Getting Started in the Animal Control and Protection Field
Unit 2 Transcript: Getting Started in the Animal Control and Protection Field
Unit 3 Workbook: Getting Started in the Animal Control and Protection Field
Unit 4 Recording: Getting Started in the Animal Control and Protection Field

If you love animals, you might have considered work in the animal control field. But what does it really entail to have a successful and fulfilling career in animal welfare services? What qualities are needed and what should you expect? Bryan Harkey will share in this webinar what you need to know to get started in working in this profession.

Bryan Harkey is the Field Operations Manager for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Animal Care and Control Division where he oversees the entire section’s operations including hiring and training new Animal Care and Control Officers. He’s been with the department for more than two decades where he started as an Animal Control Officer. Throughout his tenure, he’s been involved in various initiatives and deployments and worked in numerous animal cruelty cases.

Specifics of this course include:

  • A backgrounder of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s Animal Care and Control Division’s jurisdiction, organizational structure, and operations.
  • Animal Control Services: What it is, a brief history, its duties and job requirements, and the common framework of these organizations.
  • The three branches of animal control that work together, the functions within the three branches, and the typical (yet varying by jurisdiction) set up of personnel for each of the sections.
  • The five-point focus of an animal control program that serves as the profession’s mission and role in terms of public health and safety, law enforcement, education, protection and intervention, and collaborative efforts between related agencies.
  • A rundown of the different agencies that animal control/service typically work alongside with and the types of work, collaborations, and coordination that happen between them.
  • The salary range expected in a career in animal control/service.
  • The education and training requirements to have a job in animal control/services and advance through the ranks in this profession.
  • The varying advancement and professional development opportunities available within the profession that an individual may take in their career.
  • A holistic understanding of the animal control field by looking into both the pros and cons that come with the work such as:
    • The fulfillment that comes from helping and protecting both animals and people.
    • The potential backlash from pet owners and the public for unpopular decisions, positions, or actions.
    • The challenging nature of the job and the stress and compassion fatigue stemming from the demands of the job.
    • The pride of being in a professionalized career with advancement opportunities.
    • The trauma and pain of having to administer euthanasia.
  • Top tips to land an animal control/services job that highlight the importance of:
    • An innate caring and passion for animals.
    • Getting to know the agency you want to be a part of and the people you’ll potentially work with by volunteering.
    • Preparing for an interview through research of the agency, its vision, mission, and goals.
    • Willingness to take continuing education related to the job to develop your skills and knowledge.

Questions raised by the webinar attendees were on:

  • Convincing leaders and stakeholders about the need for additional or specialized manpower.
  • Challenges one may face when moving from one animal control job to another especially in different jurisdictions.
  • Whether ACOs are sworn or civilian employees.
  • The varying organizational structures of animal control/services units.
  • Personal skills and qualities that are deemed useful in the animal control/services field.
  • The most difficult aspects of the job.
  • Animal control/services agencies’ stand on tattoos and other body modifications on employees.
  • Recommended specialized training and certifications and becoming an expert witness in cruelty cases.
  • Pre-employment background check and trainings.
  • Challenges posed by the animals’ owners to ACOs.



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Resources and Handouts



Audience Comments

  • “He was very clear about how you need to thicken your skin, to make clear decisions. I also liked that he stated that you wear many hats in this job. Thank you so much.” — Dawn
  • “Basically everything, everything that needed to be covered was covered and I walked away gaining more knowledge and though I’m at the back of the line so far, I feel one step closer to having this career and being there for the animals that are crying out for help, and love.” — Justin
  • “The webinar was great — very informative. I really enjoyed it, the presenter was awesome!” — Morgan
  • “Great information and presentation. Very relevant information and slides. The presenter was knowledgeable and professional.” — Sonja



** This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care and Control Association and may be eligible for Continuing Education Units. Please consult your local certification processes for additional details. Current NACA Members who attend will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo.
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