Career Development

16 Animal Control Officer Skills for Your Career and Resume

Learn about the most important Animal Control Officer skills, how you can utilize them in the workplace, and what to list on your resume.

Animal control officers are responsible for the welfare of animals and the enforcement of animal-related laws. They have a wide range of duties that require specific skills and knowledge. If you’re interested in becoming an animal control officer, learning about the necessary skills can help you prepare for this rewarding career.

Emergency Response

Emergency response skills are important for animal control officers to have, as they may be called on to respond to emergency situations. For example, if a pet has gotten loose and is lost, an animal control officer might be the first person to respond to help find the pet. In this situation, it’s important that the animal control officer can respond quickly and efficiently so that the pet can be found quickly.

Problem Solving

Problem solving is the ability to identify and resolve issues. Animal control officers often use problem-solving skills when working with animals, as they may encounter situations that require them to find solutions quickly. For example, if an animal control officer finds a stray dog in someone’s yard, they might need to solve the issue of how to safely capture the dog without harming it or surrounding property.

Animal Handling

Animal handling skills are necessary for animal control officers to have, as they may need to handle animals that are injured or sick. Animal control officers also use their animal handling skills when working with pets and pet owners to ensure everyone is safe during the interaction. Animal handling skills can include knowing how to approach an animal safely and understanding how to calm them down if they become aggressive.


Communication is the ability to convey information clearly. Animal control officers often communicate with pet owners, other animal control officers and law enforcement officials. They also need to be able to explain their actions when they catch an animal or issue a citation. This requires clear communication skills that allow them to relay information in a way that others can understand.


Observation is the ability to notice details about your surroundings. Animal control officers use observation skills when assessing situations and noticing animal behavior. For example, if an animal control officer notices a stray dog in a park, they can assess the situation by observing the dog’s body language and how it interacts with other people or animals. This allows them to determine whether the dog needs help or if it’s safe to leave it alone.

Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication is the ability to communicate with others. Animal control officers often work in teams, so interpersonal communication skills are important for working well with other people. You also need to be able to communicate clearly and understand what others say when you’re discussing animal-related issues or situations.

CPR & First Aid

Animal control officers need to have CPR and first aid skills so they can treat animals that are injured or become ill. This is especially important if the animal needs emergency care, as an animal control officer may be the first person to respond to a situation where an animal requires medical attention. Having these skills ensures that you can provide treatment to any animal in need.


Patrolling is the act of walking or driving through an area to observe and monitor activity. Animal control officers use this skill when patrolling animal-related incidents, such as a dog bite or stray animals. Patrolling can help you find animals in need of rescue, identify potential hazards and keep track of animal populations.

Report Writing

Animal control officers often use report writing skills to document their work and provide information to supervisors. They may also write reports for animal-related incidents, such as when a dog bites someone or when an animal gets lost. These reports help the animal control officer track data about animals in their area and inform them of any issues they need to address.

Defensive Tactics

Animal control officers need to know defensive tactics, which are skills that help them protect themselves from aggressive animals. This can include knowing how to use a variety of tools and equipment for self-defense, such as pepper spray or tasers. It also includes understanding animal body language so they can avoid potentially dangerous situations.

Public Relations

Public relations skills are important for animal control officers to have, as they may need to interact with the public on a regular basis. This can include educating members of the public about laws and regulations regarding animals, explaining why an animal control officer took certain actions or providing information to concerned citizens who want to know more about how their local animal control agency operates.


Empathy is the ability to understand and share another person’s feelings. Animal control officers often work with people who are experiencing emotional distress, so empathy can help them be more compassionate and supportive. It also allows animal control officers to better communicate with animals when they need to handle a situation. For example, if an animal has been neglected or abused, being empathetic can help the animal control officer find ways to calm the animal down and reassure it that everything will be OK.


Animal control officers may need patience when working with animals. For example, if a stray dog is aggressive and the animal control officer needs to catch it, they might have to wait for the right moment to approach the dog so that they don’t get hurt. Animal control officers also use patience when waiting for an animal to calm down before approaching them or trying to capture them.

Investigative Skills

Animal control officers use investigative skills to find and track animals. They also use these skills when investigating animal cruelty cases, as they need to gather evidence that can be used in court. Animal control officers may also use investigative skills to determine the cause of an animal’s death or injury. This requires them to examine the scene thoroughly and take detailed notes about their observations.

Interpersonal Skills

Animal control officers often work with people, so it’s important to have strong interpersonal skills. You may need to interact with pet owners who are upset about a stray animal in their neighborhood or explain why you can’t allow them to keep an animal they found on the side of the road. It’s also helpful to be able to communicate clearly and effectively with other members of law enforcement when responding to emergency calls.

Use of Force

Animal control officers may need to use physical force when handling animals. This can include restraining an animal, removing them from a location or performing medical procedures on injured animals. Physical strength and stamina are important for this job, as you may be lifting heavy objects or working outdoors in all weather conditions.

How Can I Learn These Animal Control Officer Skills?

There are a few ways that you can learn the necessary skills to become an Animal Control Officer. Many of these skills can be learned through on-the-job training, but it is also beneficial to have prior experience working with animals. You can gain this experience through volunteering at animal shelters or working at a veterinary clinic. If you have the opportunity to shadow or ride along with an Animal Control Officer, this can also be helpful in learning the necessary skills.


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