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Becoming a Cruelty Investigator

Working at the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) isn't just about adopting out cats and dogs and the occasional guinea pig or rabbit. There's a lot more to the job than that. Just ask Constable Dean Edmonds. He's a Special Provincial Constable who probably hasn't had a dull day in his 26 years on the job.

If Dean's not finding homes for animals all day, what does he do? "I'm the superintendent. I supervise all aspects of shelter operations, (like staffing, report writing, accounting and general supervision of shelter and road staff,)" explains Dean. "I enforce sections of the criminal code relating to cruelty to animals." That means if you're abusing your pet, Dean has enough authority to have you charged. As a Special Constable, he can also search your home.

After arriving for work Dean coordinates staffing shifts. He also deals with a lot of complaints from the public. "I coordinate, receive and attend calls pertaining to animal cruelties and delegate actions taken by pet owners to improve the health and living conditions of their pet." His day isn't over yet. "I involve myself in the adopting of animals to the public and counsel potential animal adoptees on how to care and control pets." Dean also attends animal emergencies, like if a dog has been hit by a car. You might have even heard Dean on the radio or seen him on TV talking about general animal welfare.

For Dean, the best part is relieving the distress of animals. The worst part is the ignorance he sees in some people regarding their lack of concern or passion for their friends - cats and dogs and other pets. Dean's been trained to deal with almost everything he encounters. He took several SPCA related courses about animal care, animal husbandry (husbandry means the breeding and caring for domestic animals) and he also has a Justice Institute Certificate for Special Constable.

If you're interested in a job as a cruelty investigator the pay starts as low as $13.50/hr CAN. A Special Provincial Constable, like Dean, makes around $50,000 a year. His advice to kids who want his job is "remain calm and professional. Retain sensitivity and compassion for animals, but realize you are acting in a professional capacity at all times. Keep an objective outlook."

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