ABOUT HSPO

//ABOUT HSPO
ABOUT HSPO2018-11-17T16:06:43+00:00

In Pennsylvania humane societies and SPCAs have the authority to employ Humane Society Police Officers who are trained and court appointed to enforce one section of the PA Crimes Code: Section 5511, which deals with cruelty to animals.

Act 205 of 2004 sets out the training and other requirements to be a Humane Society Police Officer in Pennsylvania. As the person who organizes the mandatory training programs for PA Humane Officers I receive calls every week from people who want to find out how to become an animal cop. They have seen the shows on Animal Planet and they think that this is the career for them.

RESPONSIBILITIES OF HSPOS

  • Serve as police officers to enforce the cruelty laws under authority granted by state statute 22 Pa.C.S.A. Chapter 37
  • Investigate cases of animal cruelty, neglect and dog fighting
  • Rescue animals who are abandoned or mistreated
  • Appear in court to prosecute animal abusers
  • Make home visits to ensure that our pit bulls are adopted to become members of a family, and never to become fighters
  • Are sometimes the first on the scene when women, children, or seniors are being abused in the home
  • Work to make sure that pets and people are safe in our community

Do You Want To Become An Animal Cop?

In Pennsylvania humane societies and SPCAs have the authority to employ Humane Society Police Officers who are trained and court appointed to enforce one section of the PA Crimes Code: Section 5511, which deals with cruelty to animals.

Act 205 of 2004 sets out the training and other requirements to be a Humane Society Police Officer in Pennsylvania. As the organization which organizes the mandatory training programs for PA Humane Officers we receive inquiries from people who want to find out how to become an animal cop. They have seen the shows on Animal Planet and they think that this is the career for them.

We offer several cautions. You cannot be a free lance Humane Officer, working for yourself and enforcing the laws wherever you see a problem. You must work for a humane society or other similar animal welfare organization before you can become a humane officer, and you must be approved by the local County District Attorney and the Courts. Positions in the field are limited. Some humane officers are volunteers, others are part time and few are paid well enough to justify a change from another career. Humane Officers cannot enforce their own personal standards of animal care, but must enforce the law as it is written. That means leaving behind the dog tied to a doghouse, as long as the doghouse is sound and sturdy, or the cat that has kittens every time it comes in heat. The job requires people skills, as well as knowledge of animals.

The training is not restricted to people who are already employed by a humane organization, but it is costly both in time and money and few who take the training on their own ever find employment as a Humane Officer.  The program is offered once a year in the spring.  It is in 2 parts. Each part is 5 days long and has its own test. Tuition for both parts costs about $1300, plus whatever your accommodations and meals cost.  (The first week is held in Harrisburg; the second week is held near Penn State.)

Most organizations seeking a Humane Officer hire someone first and then have them trained at the organization’s expense. With that in mind, the best route to becoming a Humane Officer is to develop a relationship with your local humane society. Ask if they will be hiring a Humane Officer, let them get to know you as a volunteer or an employee in another position and take it from there. Information about training programs will be posted on this site. You can also find contact information for humane societies and copies of Section 5511 of the Crimes Code as well as Act 205 of 2004.