Animal rescue officer

Our Animal Rescue Officers (ARO's) Provide critical frontline support to our Inspectors alleviating animal suffering by responding to alleged reports of animal cruelty, neglect or injury, and collecting and rescuing sick, injured or stranded animals before taking them to a place of safety.  

No two days are ever the same and there’s no better feeling than knowing you’ve made a real difference in the lives of animals (and owners through education and sharing knowledge). The role is very rewarding and challenging at the same time. You will be dealing with difficult situations, so will need the ability to stay calm, professional and focused, whilst resilient. Your genuine love for animals and sense of duty will keep you motivated.

Please keep a close eye on our Social Media for our next openings - alternatively why not register for Job Alerts? This way we'll notify you as soon as the adverts for ARO are open and you can then submit your application. You don't need to have previous animal handling experience - We are keen to hear from anyone who shares our values and wants to create a world that's kinder to animals. Full training will be provided across a number of weeks.

What an ARO does

An ARO is a critical role in the Society investigating alleged reports of animal cruelty, neglect or injury and rescuing sick, injured or stranded animals to a place of safety.

It's not always about removing animals. A key part of this role is people and communication skills -  As an ARO you will proactively prevent or reduce the incidence of animal cruelty and neglect through proactive interactions with members of the public, sharing knowledge through education and advice to owners.

There are not many people who have a career that they are passionate about, being an ARO, you get to use that passion every day addressing animal welfare needs, bringing comfort to those animals who have suffered and creating an opportunity for them to have a better life.

Steve Bennett, Chief Inspectorate Officer 

The role can be hugely rewarding in terms of making a real difference in animals' well-being and educating owners who care for them. However, it's also extremely demanding and specialised. It has unique challenges, many of which may be unexpected until you gain first-hand knowledge of what is required.

Animal rescue officers are vital to our new Strategy 2021-2030.

What's expected from an ARO

Animal rescue officer © RSPCA Good with people and animals

The emphasis of the job involves working with people as well as animals. Strong interpersonal skills are essential to be able to cope with pressure and some extremely emotional and stressful situations. You'll be confident in your ability to manage quality and sometimes challenging conversations and ensure the best outcome is achieved in often high-pressurised situations.

A physical job

The physical demands of the role are intense. At times, you could find yourself working at heights, on and from ladders and roofs. Animals get stuck in tight places - you'd be surprised at how creative they can be!, so it's not uncommon to work in confined areas like a cramped loft or roof spaces, to perform rescues and other duties. 

The practical aspects of the work require the lifting, carrying and moving of equipment and animals. Dogs may weigh 30-40kg, but other animals that need help like sheep are more than 70kg - so it's a challenging job with high physical activity.

You'll get wet!

Occasionally, the position demands working on flat water, alongside towpaths, sea cliffs, and from boats on tidal and flowing water.

Our AROs need to be strong swimmers, even when wearing outdoor clothing, to make sure rescues are carried out effectively. We carry out swimming assessments early in training for all successful applicants, to ensure they can carry out this area of the role. Don't worry if you aren't currently a strong swimmer - as long as you are willing to learn before training assessments we'd still love to hear from you!

Happy with your own company

It's important we share the realities of the role - The psychological demands are challenging. Animal Rescue Officers work alone, in unfamiliar areas night and day, and manage aggressive, confrontational and emotionally disturbing situations. You'll be on the road for a high percentage of the day, often driving to unfamiliar or remote locations so you'll need to be confident and comfortable with a degree of ambiguity.

Tough enough to apply?

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