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Animal rescue officer

Our Animal rescue officers (AROs) provide critical support to our inspectors, working tirelessly to alleviate animal suffering by responding to reports of animal cruelty, neglect or injury. They collect and rescue sick, injured or stranded animals, ensuring they are taken to a place of safety.

The role of an ARO is both rewarding and challenging, with no two days ever the same. Our AROs make a real difference in the lives of animals and their owners through education and sharing knowledge. They deal with difficult situations and need to stay calm, professional and focused, while being resilient.

If you share our values and want to create a world that's kinder to animals, we want to hear from you. Previous animal handling experience is not necessary as your induction will involve a 19-week blended training programme which will include, for example, how to safely handle animals, dealing with difficult situations and assessing risks.

steve bennett

What an ARO does

The ARO role is critical to the RSPCA as it allows us to respond to reports of alleged animal cruelty and neglect, and rescue sick or injured animals. A key part of this role is people and communication skills - as an ARO you will prevent or reduce the incidence of animal cruelty and neglect through proactive interactions with the public, sharing knowledge through education and advice to owners.

There are not many careers that allow you to pursue your passion while making a real difference in the world. As an ARO, you get to use that passion every day to address animal welfare needs, bring comfort to suffering animals, and create opportunities for them to have better lives. If you have a deep love for animals and a desire to make a positive impact, a career as an ARO could be perfect for you.

The role can be hugely rewarding in terms of making a real difference in animals' wellbeing 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.

Steve Bennett, Chief Inspectorate Officer

What's expected from an ARO

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 challenging conversations and ensure the best outcome is achieved in often high-pressurised situations.

Out and about

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 lofts 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.

You'll get wet!

Occasionally, the position demands working on flat water, alongside towpaths, sea cliffs, and 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!

Comfortable to work autonomously?

It's important we share the realities of the role. You'll be on the road for a high percentage of the day and we never know what will meet you behind a closed door.

While you are part of a wonder team, as an ARO you will predominantly work alone, in unfamiliar areas night and day, and manage confrontational and emotionally disturbing situations.

To support in these circumstances, we provide Solo Protect remote monitoring along with team based wellbeing support.


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