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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


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ACO

Conferences   Educational Materials

SPECIAL NOTICE: 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) as a result of the March 13, 2020, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) disaster declaration.  An extension to this waiver was granted on August 10, 2020.  This extension is in effect until terminated by the Office of the Governor or until the March 13, 2020, disaster declaration is lifted or expires. Notification of the waiver is available at https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/waivers.aspx.

Chapter 829 of the Texas Health and Safety Code mandates that 30 hours of required continuing education (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 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 training.  With the continuance of this disaster, DSHS has 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.  The CE exception period is in effect 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 online sponsors may still include the statement about the 10-hour limit; that does not mean that this temporary exception does not apply.

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. 

Last updated February 8, 2021