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Old 08-11-2008
vegan2011 vegan2011 is offline
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Default Question from future wanna be ACO.. :D

Hi, I was considering becoming an ACO and am glad i found this place because it seems really helpful.

I've always wanted to work with animals, and wanted to be a vet for a very long time, but decided I wanted to be more pro active and have more of a direct involvement. Even when I see a dog walking on the street I'll try to see if they're friendly to try and catch them because all too often on my way back home I would see they got hit by a car.

ANYWAY,I had a few questions. I'm very big on the ethical treatment of animals (not PETA crazy or anything, but I've always loved animals, more so than most humans I know. ;P ) So I know I would have to do euthanasia, which is going to be extremely sad, but I realize it has to be done. But I heard from someone that wild animals that are caught near/in people's homes, though they may be perfectly healthy, are often times put to sleep and not re-released some where. I was wondering about people's experiences with this.

Also, I wondered about education and experience. I am going to change my major for my junior and senior year to hopefully either animal science or animal health. I also plan on volunteering at an animal shelter this school year, and for all future ones, and to volunteer with wildlife rehabilitators during the summer (because I also want to be a wildlife rehabilitator).

I want to move to Cali eventually (hopefully for my junior/senior year) and want to live/work there permanently. A lot of jobs required peace officer training or officer training. I'm wondering if this is a common requirement?

Anyway, sorry for the long post, thanks for any help.
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Old 08-12-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegan2011 View Post
But I heard from someone that wild animals that are caught near/in people's homes, though they may be perfectly healthy, are often times put to sleep and not re-released some where. I was wondering about people's experiences with this.

Also, I wondered about education and experience. I am going to change my major for my junior and senior year to hopefully either animal science or animal health. I also plan on volunteering at an animal shelter this school year, and for all future ones, and to volunteer with wildlife rehabilitators during the summer (because I also want to be a wildlife rehabilitator).

I want to move to Cali eventually (hopefully for my junior/senior year) and want to live/work there permanently. A lot of jobs required peace officer training or officer training. I'm wondering if this is a common requirement?
We only euthanize sick or injured wildlife and we don't trap nusiance wildlife, that's left to the private pest control companies. If someone does catch a skunk for instance, we can relocate it a short distance away, but normally everything has to be let go where it was caught. We might respond to rattlesnake calls if they're keeping citizens trapped in their house, but again, we only relocate it, we wouldn't put it down. I work for an SPCA that does countywide animal control via a contract with the county, some government agencies do things differently and I'm aware of more then one that routinely euthanize healthy wildlife.

I think any animal related education you can get won't hurt your chances of getting hired. In California the type of experience needed to get an animal control job varies greatly from agency to agency. I think if you're starting out at the bottom, six months to a year working with animals in some way or another is a good start, however, most usually require you to take some peace officer training once you get hired, or in some cases, before getting hired. Most government agencies require you to go through some sort of civil service type testing or oral boards before getting hired and in return, you usually get paid a lot more then if you were with an SPCA for example. There are some positive things for working for an SPCA though, the low euthanasia rate being one of them for example, although some government agencies have really low euthanasia rates too.

Good luck,

Jeff
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Old 08-12-2008
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Awesome! But you must be a very strong person as the people you are dealing with day to day will not be the happest. You have to take the good with the very bad in this job. I suggest you do as many ride alongs as possible and volunteer at your local shelter.

Cheers
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Old 08-12-2008
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Alot of people have no idea of the stress involved with this position do a lot of research make sure this is what you want to do. Euthanasia is very heard to deal with sometimes. you have to learn to handle it because if you join a small community department you may put down a couple days a week and only a few animals you get into a large department you may put down every day dozens of animals a day this job isn't for everybody. as far as the wild animals most states have regulations capture and release of wild animals. What catch a raccon or bob cat that violated some ones home and release and take the chance of it happing again. in ohio you catch a wild animal you have to euthanize the animal. good luck

sean
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Old 08-12-2008
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Being an animal lover is important, but you have to like the two-legged variety, as well (or at least be able to tolerate them enough to work effectively with them) because you will deal with as many of them as you do the four-legged types--if not more. You will be asked to educate those who you know will not listen, enforce rules with those who think they are above them, and try to placate complainants who have just been told you cannot resolve their problem for them. If being able to handle animals is the #1 job requirement, being able to handle people is a close 2nd.
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Old 08-12-2008
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It sounds like you are on a good path to planning your future. Animal COntrol law and procedures vary form state to state, but what I have noticed on this forum we do not differ very much and we all have the same passion.
Check with the Cali organazation you are interested in. It never hurts to ask questions as to what they require for employment.
We always look for animal experiance but are not afraid to trane the right person.

Our shelter releases the wild that we contain, unless injured or sick. Granted we do not trap wild life but occassionaly we get a call relating to the wildLife snakes skunks, racoons... Game and Fish handle our Wild life in our area.

You have come to the right place All of my forum frineds have good advise and we have all bee where you are at. I love the advise of the ride along,It is priceless to see what an ACO does eachday..

Leah
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Old 08-12-2008
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Consider looking at some criminal justice style classes as well. Information on criminal procedures, crime scene investigation, basic law and the like are all good ones to consider.

As you look at the Animal Shelter, see if they or the police department offer an intern or ride-a-long program. This hand's on experience is invaluable.

Consider HSUS, the ASPCA or the ACO association in your state. You be able to sign up to attend seminars or training at a reduced or subsidized rate as a student. This networking gives you the chance to meet other professionals in the field and learn from some of the best speakers in the field.

You are always welcome to review stuff here. As you've seen the members are always willing to help train our future fellow officers. What area of the country are your in?
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Old 08-12-2008
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Texas is under a rabies quarantine, and we can only release high risk wildlife within 10 miles of where it is captured. I catch a lot of raccoons, who are high risk, but also are really prone to distemper around here. If it has visible signs of distemper, it is euthanized, otherwise I take is as far as the 10 mile limit will let me and release it in an undeveloped area.

Coyotes are my big problem. They are not easy to trap, and the last one I trapped was young, and pristine. The zoo and the nature park wouldn’t take it because of the rabies risk, and if I released it within 10 miles of the city it would have been right back, so I had to euthanize it. After 21 years on the job, and thousands of euthanasias under my belt, it still puts a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye to do a coyote.
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Old 08-12-2008
vegan2011 vegan2011 is offline
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Thanks for all the answers.

Though I'm not the fondest of the human species I'm def. able to adapt and get along, or at least pretend to, with many people that I wouldn't want much to do with otherwise. I deal with lots of people that I don't agree with animal wise on a regular basis, many of my friends at school hunt. And I just get along with people pretty easily.

I know putting down a cat or dog that is healthy will be extraordinarily difficult, but there is just something that seems more difficult about it if its a healthy wild animal to me.

I am going to try and take some law involved electives, but thats just one more problem with my school now, it isn't much of an option, until I hopefully transfer.

Right now I'm in NY, but have no plans of living here permanently.
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Old 08-12-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vegan2011 View Post
I know putting down a cat or dog that is healthy will be extraordinarily difficult, but there is just something that seems more difficult about it if its a healthy wild animal to me.
Why?

Anyhoo..Welcome to the board. You will learn alot. Many people with different views, opinions and thoughts..but we are all here for the same thing. The Animals!!

Speaking for the voiceless and giving them justice.

Sunny
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