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Old 07-13-2009
Gotrek Gotrek is offline
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Default Looking for some advice.

Hey everybody I'm looking for a little advice and I think this might be the place to ask for it.

I have been around this site for awhile now, mainly because this is something I've wanted to do for a number of years now. Unfortunately, it is not easy to jump into animal control as a career, especially financially. But I still want to do it, even though it is a tough career chioice. First of all, I had a question that I wonder if anyone would be willing to answer. Has anyone here ever given up something to be involved in animal control? Like a stable career, location, anything? Just curious really. I feel that this is almost a calling, and without sounding too strange, I would be willing to give up a few things if I knew that this is something I wanted to do, and at least in my own small way, make a difference.

I have tried to get into the local county (Palm Beach County, Florida) Animal Care and control division off and on, but I have no real work experience with animals, just my own personal experience and knowledge. That makes me a less than outstanding candidate. I have the option to take the state Animal Control Officer certification course next week, and I'm hoping that will get me an edge towards getting a job. But I was wondering if I should wait till I get a job before taking the course? It is a few hundred dollars and I would be giving up some time at my work to go for this course. Does anyone have any suggestions towards waiting, or is this a good idea for someone who reallys want to get into the field?

Any advice or converstaion would be very appreciated and welcomed.

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Old 07-13-2009
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shawnee2630 shawnee2630 is offline
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Location: Northern Cali
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Before I got into animal control, I was the security manager at the most popular and upscale nightclub in the city, I wore slacks and a tie, shined shoes and my social life was through the roof. I made more money working fifteen hours a week from 9p-2a then I do now with overtime. I could still go back to it, I did clubs for 7 years and was the security manager at three different clubs so I have a good rep in this area, I still think about going back from time to time. But everytime I do, another call comes in for a animal that needs my help and I just can't leave it behind. That is the difference, for me its not the money I make, it is the difference I make in peoples and animals lives...

I would recommend volunteering before anything, gives you some sense of the way a shelter works, sometimes it is not appealing and that may change your mind either way, it will also help with your animal experience.

When I had my second panel interview, they asked me "so your going to give up being the cooler at a nightclub, where basically your hanging with your buds and have women all over you to pick up dead animals and step in dog **** all day" and I didn't even hesitate when I said yes, that's how you know your a animal control officer, thats what this job is...sacrafice
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Old 07-13-2009
Giga-posting ACO
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Roselle Park, NJ
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Regarding working with animals, we all make sacrifices. When I went off to vet. school, I was engaged. I was battling the diagnosis of a seizure disorder as well. I was put in a situation where I had to decide between becoming a vet. or getting married because my fiance did not want to wait until I finish school; the school did not believe in students being in a committed relationship since this would distract us from school. Needless to say, I chose my career over the guy. If he was not willing to wait for me to finish school, then he would not understand my getting up in the middle of the night to meet ACOs when needed, or do any other emergency work.

As far as financial sacrifices, veterinary medicine is one of the worst paid professions there is. If you are Board certified, you make good money but you are stuck doing the same work every day; you deal only with the sick or injured animals. Any time you see a young animal, it has a problem.

So in my case, I gave up dating/guys and financial gain in order to do what I really wanted to do; namely, work with animals. If given the choice again to follow this path or an easier path, I would still have chosen this path.
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Old 07-14-2009
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mzk10 mzk10 is offline
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Location: Northern Florida
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If you can afford the FACA class, take it. It will give you an edge in this time of budget cuts. Florida state law says ACOs are required to be certified, so agencies have to pay to send employees to training (plus pay travel, 5 day's lodging, per diem,etc). When I was trained 4 years ago it cost my agency nearly $1000 and someone had to cover my shift for the week. From the manager's point of view: if you and someone else are equally qualified, but you can save the city XX dollars by already being certified, you get the job. It also shows that you are dedicated. I know Jacksonville (my previous employer) wasted thousands of dollars a year by sending employees to be certified only to have them quit or transfer agencies months later.

Other tips: volunteer when and where ever possible. Walk dogs, wash bowls, collect donations, clean cages, etc. Does the shelter or the local humane society have a volunteer program? Try to go a few hours every week. It looks good on a resume and shows dedication. Or check your local vet hospital, see if they can use a part-time kennel attendant. The pay stinks and the job is dirty, but it'll get you some experience. You'll aslo see if you can handle the noise and smell. Contact your local American Red Cross. They have a Pet First Aid class that's fun, inexpensive and looks good on a resume.

Double check your resume. Just because you don't have a lot of "animal" experience doesn't mean you're not qualified. A LOT of our job is dealing with people. Highlight any customer service, management, leadership or enforcement-type skills. How about jobs that required thinking on your feet or creative problem solving? I was able to show my future boss how building bombs in the Navy gave me skills necessary for this job (working under pressure, following orders, multi-tasking, etc).

Good luck. Also, learn to budget. This is not a high-paying job, especially in the state of Florida.
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Old 07-14-2009
Gotrek Gotrek is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2008
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Thanks so much for the replies thus far.

I have been trying to volunteer at some of the nearby shelters but, unfortunately due to time restraints because of current work and classes I'm taking now, I just don't have enough time to devote. But I have spent some time at some shelters behind the staff areas to get a feel for the environment so I have a bit of an idea what I would be in store for.

I think I'm really gonna take the class because as mzk10 said, it would save the county some money on training and show them that I do mean business and this is something that I want to do.
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Old 07-14-2009
assweetasbrandy assweetasbrandy is offline
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Location: Kentucky
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Talking I Love my job!

I was a foreman for Three Chimneys Farm here in KY. Pay was better of course and the job was really a nobrainer after 16 yrs working with horses. Course like many here...I wanted...really needed something more! I am now completely broke with truck payment past due and bills up to my eyeballs. But I wouldn't go back to the farm. I mean it was a good job and the people were great for the most part. But being an ACO is really my true calling! I wouldn't go back to life before...I'm having WAY TO MUCH FUN!!!
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