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What does an Animal Cop do?

By Jacob Queen
Updated May 17, 2024
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An animal cop has the job of enforcing local and federal laws about animals. This can involve everything from capturing stray animals to dealing with abuse allegations or dangerous animals. The job requires knowledge of law enforcement, all the relevant animal laws for the jurisdiction, and a good knowledge of animals, particularly different kinds of pets. Usually, an animal cop will need decent people skills to deal with the emotions of owners and those who file complaints. Animal cops are also known as animal control officers, and some people may even use the older term "dog catcher" to describe the position, although that falls far short of describing the whole job.

Many people would consider animal abuse to be one of the more serious responsibilities of an animal cop. Sometimes people become angry with their animals and beat them or force them to live in unacceptable conditions. An animal cop may have to intervene in many of these cases and protect the animal by taking it away from the owner.

Sometimes the abuse that people inflict on their animals is unintentional. For example, a person may run out of money and be unable to feed his dog. In many jurisdictions, this isn't considered a crime, but the animal still might need to be rescued, and an animal cop will often be tasked with the job.

Dogs or cats also run away from home sometimes, and this can lead to all sorts of problems. If left uncared for, stray animals may starve or become dangerous to people. An animal cop is often required to pick up these animals and take them to animal shelters.

One of the more dangerous jobs for animal cops is dealing with dogs or other animals that pose a threat to people. This could range from dogs that bark or growl menacingly at neighbors to actual cases of dog attack. In order to deal with these threats, an animal cop may bring various tools, including long poles with loops on the end for keeping dogs at bay called catch poles. They also use protection sprays and sometimes even firearms for emergency situations.

In some areas, an animal cop may be required to deal with wild animals that wander into places where they don't belong. This could include everything from raccoons to bears that come into cities and eat trash. The cops will often handle these cases by tranquilizing the animals and taking them far away from civilization.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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