In California, humane officers play an important role in animal protection. Appointed and employed by Societies to Prevent Cruelty to Animals (SPCAs) and humane societies and confirmed by superior courts, humane officers may exercise the powers of a peace officer to uphold our state's animal protection laws. Prevention, detection, and investigation of all forms of animal abuse, as well as apprehension of suspected abusers, are all key components of an humane officer's job. Most humane officers are authorized to make arrests and serve warrants for crimes against animals and some humane officers are authorized to carry firearms.
Sometimes humane officers collaborate with officers from other humane societies and SPCA's, animal care and control agencies, police and sheriffs departments, and other law enforcement agencies. For the most part, humane officers enforce animal protection laws in the county in which they are appointed. However, in certain circumstances, they are authorized to work in other counties.
What to learn more about humane officers? Check out our Humane Officer FAQs below.
Are you a prospective or current humane officer looking for a required form for appointment, continuing education, or ongoing weapons training? Click here.
Humane societies/SPCAs are required to notify the California Department of Justice when a Superior Court confirms the appointment of a humane officer by submitting a Copy of the Order Confirming Appointment. There are three options for submitting the Order:
California Department of Justice
P.O. Box 903417
Sacramento, CA 94203-4170
ATTN: Humane Officers Compliance (H127)
During each three-year period following appointment, a humane officer is required complete 40 hours of continuing education related to the powers and duties of a humane officer. The training may be provided by Cal Animals ( an accredited post-secondary institution, or a law enforcement agency. Many humane officers receive this training by attending our Animal Care Conference or the Animal Law Enforcement Training Academy at Marin Humane and San Diego Humane Society. Check our Trainings page for current offerings.