Classes can be customized to fit the needs of your department.  

Please contact us about creating your customized workshop.

Class Catalog

DSHS Approved

Basic Animal Control Officer Course

16 hours 


This basic ACO class is designed to be an entry level class to help the new incoming ACOs be prepared for not only the state exam, but their day to day duties as an ACO.


Topics covered will include:

DSHS Basic ACO Manual (Basic Chapters)

Animal Identification (Basic) (1/14 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

Animal Capture & Handling (Basic) (1/14 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

Animal Transportation (Basic) (1/14 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

Animal Impoundment (Basic) (1/14 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

Disposition of Animals (Basic) (1/14 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

Controlled Substances (Basic) (1/14 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

Shelter Safety (Basic) (1/14 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

Animal Health (Basic) (1/14 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

Rabies (Basic) (1/14 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

Records (Basic) (1/14 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

Communication Skills (Basic) (1/14 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

HSC Chapter 821 (9/17 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual), TAC 169.81-169.84 (1/14 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

HSC Chapter 822 (9/17 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual), TAC 169.131-169.132 (9/17 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

HSC Chapter 823 (9/17 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

HSC Chapter 826 (9/17 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual), TAC 169.21-169.34 (1/14 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

HSC Chapter 828 (9/17 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual), TAC 169.102 (9/15 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual) TAC 573.77 (9/17 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

HSC Chapter 829 (9/17 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

TPC Chapter 42.09-42.105 (9/17 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

Miscellaneous Animal Control Laws (9/17 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

HSC Chapter 481.067, 481.111, & 481.181 (1/14 Rev Version DSHS Basic Manual)

Advanced ACO

24 hours 


This Advanced ACO class is designed to be an extension of the Basic ACO class to help more seasoned ACOs move forward in their careers.


Topics covered will include:

DSHS Advanced ACO Manual (Advanced Chapters)

Animal Identification (Advanced)

Animal Transportation (Advanced)

Animal Disposition (Advanced)

Occupational Safety (Advanced)

Health (Advanced)

Rabies (Basic)

Records and Forms (Advanced)

Sanitation and Disease Control (Advanced)

Public Relations (Advanced)

Additional Topics:

Public Relations

Building Community Relationships

Texas native wildlife identification

Wildlife capture & handling

Review of TPW codes

 Compassion Fatigue for the ACO  

8 hours 


In this class, students will be given definitions and statistics for crisis interventions, methods of trauma that an animal welfare worker is exposed to, and various cases will be discussed.

This class will discuss depression, and suicide rate information among animal control workers.

We will focus on the psychological health and wellbeing of the animal control officer and their families by providing health and wellness information and resources.

The class will spend a large portion of the time learning how trauma will negatively affect not only the officer but the family as well but provide information on how to survive and thrive.

This course is taught by Cathy Bustos, with That Peer Support Couple, LLC. Cathy has been involved in multiple critical incidents in her career as an officer and the spouse of an officer. She recently retired as a Support Services Lieutenant at Cedar Park Police Department where she oversaw the Animal Control and other units. She is certified in Group and Individual Critical Incident Stress Management and an approved Instructor with The International Critical Incident Stress Foundation.

 Rabies Case Investigator 

16 hours 


This 16 hour course will focus on the importance of quality rabies investigations! Students can expect to be able to understand the TX rabies laws as well as how to apply the basics of the laws to any difficult or complicated case they may come across in the field.

During class, we will not only review and study the laws, but will go through the step by step of every type of rabies investigation and learn how to navigate obstacles and 'curve balls' that may come up. A case investigation practical will be completed by each student in class and each student will be given a packet of sample investigation paperwork that can be customized to fit into their department needs.

This class is perfect for anyone starting out in animal control & rabies investigations or for more seasoned officers looking to refine and improve their investigations!

Students will need to bring either a current copy of the Basic ACO manual, a copy of our law book, or print outs of TX Health & Safety Code 826 & TX Administrative Code 169.

 Animal Control Administrator  

16 hours 


This class is suited for seasoned ACOs looking to complete their administrative level, as well as shelter managers or directors tasked with supervising an animal control field services division. This course is also ideally suited for persons who are tasked with managing an animal control program who have no prior animal control experience. As happens frequently, the animal control program will be handed to someone who has never worked in this field, has more than one unit under their supervision, or both.

During the two day class, we will review all the main laws animal control officers have to navigate in their daily job duties. We will examine the rabies virus and how it affects communities in Texas as well as the laws dealing with it. Finally, we will discuss the differences in what non-sworn personnel are able to do and how to effectively build and manage an animal control program.

 Animal Cruelty Investigations 101  

16 hours 


Are you just starting out investigating animal cruelty? Do you need a refresher course to ensure you're handling cases in the best manner possible?

 In this course, we will discuss animal cruelty investigations from call out to prosecution. Some of the topics that will be covered include the 4th amendment, plain view doctrine, seizure warrants, the adjudication process, and much more! Various situational examples will be discussed so students will be able to better determine when education is the best route or when to prosecute. Day two will end with students working mock animal cruelty case investigations so that they can hone the skills learned in class.  This course is designed to provide students with the basic skills, understanding, and critical thinking  to be able to work animal cruelty investigations from start to finish. 

 Situational Awareness and Bite Stick Training for ACOs  

4 hours 


Animal Control Officers encounter similar threats that patrol officers encounter throughout their workday. This course will make them aware of threat indicators and give them a basic introduction to the concept of officer safety. They will also learn how situational awareness and maintaining a safe interview stance can translate to defending yourself if the situation should arise.


This course will cover Texas Penal Code Ch.46 Weapons-  46.15(g) Nonapplicability and how it applies to Animal Control Officers. Hands on training for use of a bite stick will include how to safely handle a collapsible baton to include opening and closing as well as defensive stances to safely access the bite stick.  This course will also cover defensive posturing with a fixed and collapsible baton in order to deter an attack from an animal.


*This course does not include self-defense from the ground*

 Dotting T's and Crossing I's: SOPs, SOGs, MOUs, and the rest of the alphabet.

8 hours 


Policies, procedures, rules, guidelines…these all strike dread and fear into most people’s hearts, but these tedious documents can save money, careers, and lives if put together and executed properly.  This course is designed to help supervisors, managers, and aspiring leaders to evaluate, refresh, and completely rewrite their current policies and procedures.  Effective policy making creates a safe environment for staff, volunteers, visitors, and the animals in their care.  This course also covers how to work with other agencies outside of your jurisdiction to build good working relationships and produce seamless cooperation during times of disaster.  Students are requested to bring a copy of their current policies and procedures to be used during the writing exercises.

Herpetology Familiarization

4 hour CEU


With the continuing urban expansion of most Texas cities encroaching natural habitats, human encounters with native wildlife are becoming more frequent. Many animals can adapt and even thrive in the presence of humans, which will eventually lead to nuisance. Identifying some of the diets, behaviors, and habitats of some common indigenous snakes and reptiles in Texas will help explain their part in the ecosystem and how to understand their presence in residential neighborhoods.

This class will cover proper identification of indigenous snakes, lizards, turtles, and alligators, as well as cover safe capture and handling techniques. A hands-on block of instruction with live animals, including venomous snakes, is included.

As our primary goal is education, students will learn how to guide the public toward a peaceful coexistence with wildlife and will also examine how to make a residential area less conducive to wildlife invasion instead of adopting a "catch and kill" mentality.

Proper husbandry of snakes and other reptiles will be covered at an introductory level as well as animal cruelty as it pertains to herp species.

This course is taught by Tim Cole, owner of Austin Reptile Service. Tim has been keeping reptiles for over 40 years. He is an advanced level Animal Control Officer and holds a Texas Parks and Wildlife rehabilitation permit for reptiles. Tim is also a founding member of the Austin Herpetological Society as well as previous time serving on various Herpetological Societies.

Bohemian Tahitian Daneapugadoodle:

                     A breed guide

8 hour CEU


There are currently over 300 dog and cat breeds that are recognized in the US. In this class, we will spend a large portion of the class learning about the breeds that are recognized by the AKC and Cat Fanciers Association. We will have a brief review of genetics and the role they play in determining not only breeds, but how genetic abnormalities have changed the breed game.

We will also spend time discussing the role animal breeds play in court cases, both large and small. How  to make use of the listed dog breeds to ensure continuity of case investigations as well as how to keep from losing your case due to incorrect breed identification.

We will examine breed specific legislation. We will have discussion on the effects of these laws on communities and how they have changed breed labeling. In addition, we will discuss labeling breeds when they come into a shelter or rescue. Discuss the pros and cons of assigning a breed as opposed to a generic mixed breed, and how to use both to increase adoptions.


Finally, we will discuss the phenomenon of "designer breeds." The role these breeds have played in society and the misinformation it has caused in the US. 

Euthanasia Technician

Recert - 8 hours CEU 


Initial -12 hours CEU


Euthanasia is an unfortunate but necessary part of the Animal Welfare field.  This class covers all of the TX DSHS mandated topics as well as a hands on practical, necropsy and decap.

Texas laws to be covered include: April 2015 edition of Texas Health and Safety Code, Ch. 821, Subchapter C, and its associate rule; 2013 edition of Texas Administrative Code (TAC), Sections 169.81-84.

**Initial certification is valid for 3 years from the date of completion of the course. Re-certification must be completed PRIOR to that expiration date. Euthanasia technicians who fail to complete a re-certification course before the 3 year period ends are required to complete the initial training course again. **

Local Rabies Control Authority (LRCA)

8 hours CEU 


This course is designed to be a comprehensive understanding of the role and responsibilities of a Local Rabies Control Authority. It is ideally suited for individuals who have been appointed LRCA, are going to be appointed, have been designated to similar roles by the LRCA, or supervisors who oversee the Animal Control Unit.


We will begin the day with a detailed review of the rabies virus. We will discuss the history of the disease, the epidemiology, how it is spread, the statistics both domestic and globally, as well as current treatments.


We will then go through all of TX Health & Safety Code, Chapter 826. Students can expect to gain a better understanding of the laws governing the control of rabies in Texas. After a break, we will then review TX Administrative Code 169.21-169.34.


After lunch, we will discuss what the responsibilities of the LRCA are and the proper procedures for appointing the LRCA. We will then spend time reviewing bite and rabies exposure investigations. We will discuss several scenarios and review different forms of investigation paperwork.


We will close out the day with case studies and practical exercise. Students will each be given a scenario which they will have to write out a complete investigation report with follow up and close out of the case. And finally, we will discuss rabies specimen preparation and submission.

FTO: Training the Trainer

8 hours CEU 


Training new Animal Control Officers can be a daunting task as our field continues to develop and evolve, yet there remains a lack of consistency with training protocol. This class will focus on developing a uniform, yet customizable training guideline which can fit within most all departments and agencies. The training guideline follows a basic four week FTO program which will cover all the needed basic information for anyone beginning with an agency. The objective in this class will be techniques on how to teach to different learning types, how to focus on what is important when working within a strict timeline, and the customizable timeline itself. At the completion of the class, a usb drive will be provided to each attendee, which will be pre-loaded with forms to take back to individual agencies to create ACO FTO programs.

Basic Kennel Technician

24 hours CEU 


The Basic Kennel Technician course is designed for individuals currently working in or seeking to work in an animal care facility. This course is a full 24 hours (3 days) in length. The goal of this course is to prepare you for working in any animal care facility (private or governmentally owned)

This course covers Animal Behavior, Cleaning Protocols, Animal Handling and Safety, Rabies Quarantine, Zoonotic Diseases, Common Dog and Cat Diseases, and much more. 

Animal Health Technician 

8 hours CEU 


The Animal Health Technician course is designed for individuals currently working in or seeking to work in an animal care facility. This course is a basic introduction into the common injuries, ailments, diseases, and parasites that a technician may encounter while working with dogs and cats in an animal care facility. This course is designed to equip students with the knowledge to better recognize signs of illness so that they can work with a veterinarian  to diagnose, treat, and minimize outbreaks while the animals are in the care of the facility.  

Crime Scene for the Animal Control Officer

8 hours CEU 


Animal Control Officers are tasked with responding to a wide variety of calls involving the welfare of animals.  Frequently, Animal Control Officers are the first to discover illegal activity involving these animals and the responsibility to properly document the details surrounding these calls can fall on their shoulders.  With police agencies often having to “do more with less” it is feasible that sworn law enforcement may not be available to respond to these initial calls for service to assist in documenting and preserving evidence.


In cases such as these it is important that the responding Animal Control Officer be well versed and educated in evidence documentation and preservation techniques.  This course is designed to introduce Animal Control Officers to basic Crime Scene Management techniques.  This includes legal guidelines surrounding search and seizure laws, crime scene search techniques, basic crime scene photography, evidence marking and collection techniques, evidence packaging techniques, crime scene sketching techniques as well as basic online evidence collection and documentation.


This course will combine classroom instruction, hands on demonstration and practical exercises that will allow students to practice the techniques they are being instructed on.  The student will also be provided with free resources they can place in their own kits along with a customized web browser that can aid in online investigations.

Dangerous Dog Investigator

24 hours CEU 


Dangerous Dogs are a common occurrence in Animal Control, however, many agencies are not well versed in the Texas Dangerous Dog laws. This class will focus on Texas Health & Safety Code 822 in regards to the Dangerous Dog laws for Texas. This is an in-depth, complex course combining lecture, discussion, homework, and practical case work. In addition to TX Health & Safety Code 822, Sub-chapter D, we will also review Sub-chapters A, B, C, and E. Students will be required to attend all three days of class and pass the exam to earn their Dangerous Dog Investigator Certificate. Class tuition includes samples of various dangerous dog related paperwork and a t-shirt. Students should also bring with them to class a copy of their local ordinances (if applicable) to use as part of the practical as well as their copy of the Texas Department of State Health Services Basic ACO Manual. A spiral bound copy of the manual can be purchased through our website.

Rabies Law & Dangerous Dog Investigations

8 hours CEU 


This class will focus on understanding Texas Health & Safety Code 826 (Rabies Act of 1981) as well as Texas Health & Safety Code 822 (Dangerous Dogs). 

As most Animal Control and Peace Officers are tasked with doing both rabies and dangerous dog investigations, this class will exclusively focus on both these chapters in the Health & Safety Code. Students will gain a better understanding of what is required during a rabies investigation, the role of the LRCA, and working within the often difficult position of public safety, requirements of the law, and pet owners.

Students will also gain an understanding of Chapter 822 and the basics of a dangerous dog investigation. We will discuss the differences between the two main sections in this chapter as well as how to make the decision to deem a dog dangerous. In addition, we will discuss the different procedures available when deeming a dog dangerous as well as how to work with both state law and local ordinances.

Those who are well versed in these laws are encouraged to attend for new ideas, information, and legislative updates.

Making the Case: The Shelter's Role in an Animal Cruelty Case

8 hours CEU 


This class will focus on the important role the shelter plays in the cruelty investigation. We will focus on record keeping, evidentiary procedures, laws, medical decisions and housing. Students will gain a better understanding of when to contact an ACO and when to call in a veterinarian. This course will cover the laws regarding privacy, specifically what can go on social media, when rescues can be called in, and when to allow information to be released to the media. 

With this knowledge, both ACO and shelter staff will be able to successfully work together during the cruelty investigation process. With better handling of the evidence, as well as improved case continuity, agencies will be better prepared to successfully present these cases in court, improving the lives of animals in the community.

Urban Wildlife of Texas 

4 hours CEU 


With the continuing urban expansion of most Texas cities encroaching natural habitats, human encounters with native wildlife are becoming more frequent.  Many animals can adapt and even thrive in the presence of humans, which will eventually lead to nuisance complaints and possible zoonotic issues.  Identifying some of the diets, behaviors and habitats of some common mammals of Texas will help explain their part in the ecosystem and how to discourage their presence in residential neighborhoods. This class will cover how the reproductive cycle and migratory patterns which will impact nuisance calls and will also cover the safe capture and handling of indigenous species.As our primary goal is education, ACO’s will learn how to guide the public toward a peaceful coexistence with wildlife and how to make a residential area less conducive to wildlife invasion rather than just a “catch and kill” mentality. Rare, threatened and endangered species will also be discussed along with resources available for rehabilitation of wild animals.

Public Relations for ACOs

4 hours CEU 


The goal of this class is to prepare officers for interaction with the media and to nourish a positive relationship with their community. Animal Welfare is typically an emotional and occasionally sensational issue which frequently appears in news media.  Properly navigating social media and maintaining professionalism during interviews are skills needed by today's ACO's.

Public Education: Successfully Reaching Out to Your Community 

4 hours CEU 


In the community of animal welfare professionals, we all share a desire for the public to know more about what we do and what resources are available to them.  Our goal with this workshop is to focus on improving communication with the public as wells procedures through teaching classes and workshops in the community.This workshop includes tips on developing classes on urban wildlife, new pet ownership, offender programs, children's programs and Parks and Recreation services.  We will also address how to deal with the fear of public speaking.  As the populations of humans and animals increase, being able to reach out and educate as many people as possible is crucial to making our jobs easier and can also improve the quality of life for animals in our area. 

Report Writing

4 hours CEU 


Documentation  can range from the most basic field notes and emails to the more complex seizure affidavits and formal incident reports. Therefore, accurate and thorough case documentation is a crucial aspect of an Animal Control Officer’s duties.  In this class we will discuss the importance of honestly, thoroughly and correctly reporting the details of an incident.  The successful prosecution of an animal cruelty case (or any other incidents requiring a court hearing) can hinge on a solidly written report. Students will gain an understanding of content (who, what, when, where, why and how), narrative tense, report structure and evaluating a finished report.

Interpersonal Communication

4 hours CEU 


ACO’s are typically trained in animal handling, capture and restraint, while, in contradiction, we spend most of our day interacting with citizens.  Improving communication skills will help ACO’s identify and solve community issues, increase compliance and will also reduce the number of public complaints. This class will give ACOs the tools to better control their own emotional response, while increasing rapport with the citizens.  Being able to communicate effectively is one of the primary skills needed for a successful career in Animal Welfare. 

Zoonotic Disease

4 hours CEU 


Did you end your day feeling itchy after dealing with ringworm cats?  Did you check yourself for ticks after handling a hit-by-car deer?  Did you make sure you washed your hands before lunch after spending the morning cleaning litter boxes?  Animal Control Officers, shelter technicians, and anyone with daily animal handling duties are at an increased risk of exposure to various forms of bacteria, protozoa, viruses and fungi.  

This class is designed to be an introduction to all the various zoonotic illnesses animal welfare workers are exposed to on a day-to-day basis, what to look for, and personal protection.  Some of the illnesses to be covered include Tularemia, Toxoplasmosis, Cryptosporidiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, Chagas and Cryptococcosis.


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