Animal Control Officers
SPECIAL NOTICE: Withdrawal/Termination of Training Waivers Issued by the Office of the Governor
Background: On May 14, 2020, the Office of the Governor issued a waiver pertaining to the temporary suspension of Chapter 829 training requirements for animal control officers (ACOs) and a waiver pertaining to the temporary suspension of Chapter 821 (and associated Texas Administrative Code) training requirements for euthanasia technicians as a result of the March 13, 2020, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) disaster declaration. Extensions to these waivers were granted on August 10, 2020, and would be in effect until terminated by the Office of the Governor or until the March 13, 2020,disaster declaration was lifted or expired.
Update – below is the notice issued on July 19, 2021, pertaining to the withdrawal/termination of training waivers from the Office of the Governor:
- Effective 12:01 AM on September 1, 2021 withdrawal of waivers (These are the animal control officer and euthanasia technician trainings)
- 25 TAC § 169.84(g), extension approved on August 10, 2020
- Texas Health and Safety Code § 821.055(a) and (d), extension approved on August 10, 2020
- Texas Health and Safety Code § 829.002(1)(A) and (2)(A), extension approved on August 10, 2020
- Texas Health and Safety Code § 829.004(a) and (b), extension approved on August 10, 2020
Update on Online Continuing Education (CE) Policy
Background: Chapter 829 of the Texas Health and Safety Code mandates that 30 hours of required CE training for ACOs approved by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) be completed every 3 years. Of these, DSHS policy has been that a maximum of 10 hours per 3-year period can be obtained via satisfactory completion of DSHS-approved online/virtual training. However, due to the number of course cancellations and the limitations on travel created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the following temporary exception to this limit was implemented: for ACOs whose 3-year period ends between March 15, 2020, and March 15, 2021 (inclusive), up to 30 of the required CE hours can be earned via satisfactory completion of DSHS-approved online/virtual training. With the continuance of this disaster, DSHS extended the CE exception period to coincide with the dates of the ACO training waiver issued by the Office of the Governor, as mentioned above. This CE exception period is effective from March 13, 2020, until the training waiver is terminated by the Office of the Governor or until the March 13, 2020, disaster declaration is lifted or expires. Please note that certificates of completion from sponsors of online/virtual courses sponsors may still include the statement about the 10-hour limit; that does not mean that this temporary exception does not apply.
Update: Although the training waivers will be terminated by the Office of the Governor effective September 1, 2021, due to continued issues associated with COVID as described above, DSHS has extended indefinitely the policy that up to 30 hours of required CE can be earned via satisfactory completion of a DSHS-approved online/virtual training.
Please be advised that the outbreak of COVID-19 has resulted in cancellation of many Animal Control Officer Basic Training and continuing education courses. Contact the course sponsor to determine if a course you plan to attend will still be conducted.
Disclaimer: The approval of an animal control course by the Department of State Health Services pertains only to the approval of the course curriculum, instructors, length, date, and location as provided by the course sponsor. During the current COVID disaster declaration, it is the responsibility of the course sponsor to determine if there are any applicable restrictions in place to which they must adhere, including those associated with an emergency declaration(s) or a local order condition(s).
Texas state law (Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 829, Animal Control Officer Training) requires animal control officers (ACOs) to complete specific training (refer to links below) that has been pre-approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). It is the responsibility of each ACO (as defined in Chapter 829) to fulfill these mandated training requirements, keep complete and accurate records of their DSHS-approved training, and have this documentation available for review by facility inspectors.
Before attending a non-DSHS course, ACOs should request verification from the course sponsor that a specific course, including title, date, and location, has been pre-approved by the DSHS for meeting Chapter 829 ACO training requirements. Upon completion of training, ACOs may request a new certificate from the course sponsor if the one that is issued does not contain the following information: course title, participant’s name, whether the course is Basic or continuing education (CE), course date and location, length of course in DSHS-approved hours, a statement that the course was approved by the DSHS, and the course sponsor’s name and contact information.
- Application Process for Approval of Animal Control Officer Training Courses
- Information on DSHS courses
Animal Control Officer (ACO) training course description, registration information, and course fee and course description.
- Mandated Training (Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 829)
Animal control officer (ACO) mandated training, Texas law
Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Animal Control Officer Training Manual
- Schedule for non-DSHS ACO Courses
ACO courses offered outside of DSHS, including euthanasia training courses for animal shelter personnel