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    Infectious Disease Prevention Section
    Mail Code: 1927
    PO BOX 149347 - Austin, TX 78714-9347
    1100 West 49th Street, Suite G401
    Austin, TX 78714

    Phone: (512) 776-7676
    Fax: (512) 776-7616



Texas Department of State Health Services
Animal Control Officer Training
Basic Course Description

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Zoonosis Control (ZC) offers Animal Control Officer (ACO) basic training courses. The cost of attending a course is $75.00 per student. There is a training manual that supports the basic training; this manual can be ordered directly from a Regional ZC office at the cost of $40.00.

The ACO basic training course and manual are designed to assist the animal control profession and to advance the knowledge, techniques, ethics, and attitudes of its members. The DSHS basic course also serves to meet the training requirements set forth in Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 829, Animal Control Officer Training.

Chapters covered manual include:
  • History and Philosophy
  • Sanitation
  • Animal Identification
  • Animal Health
  • Capture and Handling
  • Rabies
  • Animal Transportation
  • Records
  • Animal Impoundment
  • Communication Skills
  • Disposition of Animals
  • Court Conduct
  • Controlled Substances
  • Animal Cruelty Investigations
  • Shelter Safety
  • Laws

  • Please read this entire document and be fully aware of the prerequisites for each course, plus the fees associated with the manual and course attendance, before registering for a course.


    The ACO basic training course consists of lectures, audiovisual presentations, and/or demonstrations of selected topics by ZC personnel and guest speakers. A presentation on head removal and rabies specimen submission is a part of all basic courses. Basic course students are responsible for material covered in the lectures, presentations, demonstrations, and the DSHS ACO Training Manual.

    Basic Course Prerequisites – Enrollment will be based on space availability.

    Basic course testing consists of a two–part written multiple–choice test containing general and legal questions. In order to satisfactorily complete the basic course, students must achieve a grade of 70 or greater on each part of the written test, plus attend the complete course.


    It is strongly recommended that students thoroughly study the DSHS ACO Training Manual prior to attending a basic course. A student will have difficulty passing the course tests without studying the manual.

    Cost of the manual is $40.00. Order forms, plus information on obtaining a manual, are available through the ZC Regional offices or at
    Manual Order form


    Information pertaining to upcoming courses and an Application Form are available directly through the ZC Regional Offices; the form is to be used for applying to an ACO Basic Training Course. Please keep a form on file so that application to a course can be made at any time. Cost of attending a course is $75.00 per student. Information on how to submit payment will be provided by the ZC Regional Office in the acceptance letter if you are approved to attend the course; do not submit payment with the Application Form. A course schedule is available at:
    Course Schedule and Registration
    The course schedule will also include ACO continuing education courses conducted by DSHS ZC, which serve to meet the training requirements set forth in Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 829, Animal Control Officer Training.
    DSHS Course Schedule and Registration


    The Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE) has approved DSHS ACO Training Courses for 12 hours of accredited training.

    Last updated September 3, 2019