Careers with Animals
If you're interested in working with animals some day, there are numerous possibilities for you! You may want to work directly with animals, educate people on animal issues or help animals find good homes. When most people think about working with animals, they automatically think about veterinarians. Being a veterinarian is a great career, but there are many other animal-related careers that you may not be aware of:
Animal Cruelty Investigator
Cruelty Investigators are Class III Peace Officers who are commissioned by the State Bureau of Animal Protection and are employed by the Dumb Friends League. If you've watched the television show, Animal Precinct, on Animal Planet, then you've seen Cruelty Investigators at work! (Note: This show takes place in New York City, where these officers have full police powers- Class 1.) Investigators serve as the law enforcement representatives for the League in the prevention of cruelty and neglect to companion animals and equines. They conduct investigations and assist in providing animal welfare education/awareness to the general public in accordance with city, county, state and federal laws. They issue compliance notices and summons for cases in violation of the law. They're also responsible for maintaining evidence and court documents for cases requiring prosecution. They interface with the Bureau of Animal Protection, Animal Control, law enforcement and prosecuting agencies.
This person assists a veterinarian with all aspects of health care. They give medication to animals, prepare animals for surgery, analyze laboratory results, handle emergency first aid treatment, and clean and feed the animals in their care. They need to have a Bachelor's degree in biological science, such as biology or zoology, or an Associate degree in Veterinary Technology. They also should have excellent communication and people skills and be able to work as part of a team. The League currently employs eight veterinary technicians who play a vital role in treating and caring for the animals.
For more information about a career as a Veterinary Technician, visit the Bel-Rea Institute of Animal Technology web site.
This person helps match potential adopters with the right pet. They interview people who want to adopt; provide adopters with information about different animal breeds, the care of animals, training and medical issues; introduce animals to potential adopters; help adopters choose the right animal for their lifestyle; and type adoption information into the computer. They need to have a minimum of a high school diploma, good customer service skills, an understanding of animal welfare issues, excellent communication and people skills and be able to work as part of a team. Adoption counselors have an extremely important role at the League as they work diligently to place pets into new loving homes.
This person provides humane care of sheltered animals by feeding, cleaning and maintaining kennel facilities and providing information regarding animal care and department services. They work directly with the animals, which is very rewarding! They provide the animals, in the kennels and surgery department, with adequate food and water on a daily basis and in a timely manner. They observe animals to ensure proper feeding and report any signs of illness or behavioral problems to a supervisor. They assist in stocking food and supply bins as needed. They examine, vaccinate and tag animals evaluated for adoption. They update animal records in the computer. They clean and sanitize animal kennels during morning cleaning for disease control. They conduct routine "spot" checks and cleaning throughout the day. They maintain cleaning equipment to ensure proper functioning and safety for use. And most importantly, they maintain a clean and safe environment for the animals and the public at all times.
Animal behavior is an important concept to understand because behavior problems oftentimes result in the relinquishment of a pet. At the Dumb Friends League we have various types of positions in our Behavior Department that work with animals and people. Puppy and adult dog obedience classes are taught to the public to help them learn how to train their dogs using positive reinforcement. Our Dog and Cat Behavior Helplines are toll-free phone numbers that any dog or cat owner can call with their pet concerns - seven days a week, 24 hours a day. Calls are returned during regular business hours by specially trained employees and volunteers who are dedicated to helping people understand why pets do what they do. In addition, we have a Head Start program for some of our shelter dogs. Dogs that are nine months to two years of age that have not been socialized properly around people or have not received any training prior to arriving at the League can often appear unappealing to prospective adopters. So, to help them learn "good manners" - and to give them the physical and mental stimulation they may need - we give these dogs preliminary obedience lessons. Learning "sit" and how to walk well on-leash are just a couple of the things that canine adoptees can enjoy learning through positive reinforcement, like petting and treats. In turn, the chances for these dogs of being adopted by new, loving families are increased!
Grooming pets is a wonderful and fulfilling career! You have the ability to make an animal look and feel clean and beautiful. You will feel especially good if it's an animal that has a very matted coat and has developed health problems as a result. Groomers can work at animal shelters, vet clinics, in retail pet supply stores and also in private practice. At the Dumb Friends League, groomers brush, bathe, and trim hair and nails of shelter animals to enhance their appearance, behavior and health. They provide constant humane care and handling of animals being groomed. They observe the health of animals and report any symptoms requiring medical attention or behavioral evaluation. They ensure the availability of grooming supplies and preparation of monthly reports on groomed animals. They clean and sanitize equipment used between animals groomed to prevent spread of disease. They maintain grooming equipment to ensure proper functioning and safety for use. They comply and adhere to the Pet Animal Care Facility Act (PACFA) as it pertains to grooming of animals. And they maintain a clean and safe environment for the animals and staff at all times.
For more information on other animal-related careers, please call (720) 241-7132.