Animal Control Officer Requirements and Training in Michigan

General Information

Animal Control Officers are required to have a minimum of 100 hours of training before they can be hired by any city, village or township in the State of Michigan pursuant to MCL 287.289c.  The training must be approved by the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.  There are two exceptions to this requirement:

  • a police officer or
  • a person who has been employed as an animal control officer for at least three years prior to 1973.

Application Procedure 

To become a qualified Animal Control Officer, a person must first complete the required 100 hours of training.  See the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development suggested training outline and memorandum on training.  If the applicant has specific ideas for training other than those described on this Web Site, contact the Michigan Department of Agriculture  Rural Development, Animal Industry Division, at 1-800-292-3939. Also review the laws, regulations, additional material and training programs pertaining to Animal Control.

Once training has been completed, the applicant or other appropriate person must submit a summary of the training to:

Animal Industry Division
Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development
P.O. Box 30017
Lansing, Michigan 48909

The summary must include the date training occurred, number of hours spent in training on that date, who did the training, and what was covered in the training.  For example:

DATE / Description of training and who conducted the training / Hours Trained  

4/10/02 / Spent half day with current animal control officer, John Doe, reviewing how to identify animals and keep records pursuant to Regulation 151. / 4 hours  

4/11/02 / Spent day with Dr. Bill Jones learning to restrain dogs and cats and administer IV injections. / 6 hours  

4/12/02 / Rode with Michigan Department of Agriculture Field Inspector, Jane Doe, to visit other facilities.  Discussed kennel construction, how to do inspections, Act 287, and Regulation 151. / 8 hours


Once the summary is received by the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development 

The summary will be reviewed by the Animal Industry Division of the Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development.

After the review process, a letter will be sent to the applicant with an approval letter.  This letter should be kept on file.

If the applicants summary of training is disapproved, a letter will be sent to the applicant with an explanation of the reason for disapproval.  Typical reasons for disapproval are failure to adequately document training and inappropriate or the lack of training.  Inappropriate training may include self study or a request that 20 hours of cleaning kennels count toward the 100 hours of required training. 

Browse here for a more detailed summary of the requirement.  (This document, and many below, require Adobe's free Acrobat Reader.)

Laws and Regulations 

The laws relative to Animal Control Officers are (follow the links):

  • Regulation 151 (Pet Shops, Dog Pounds and Animal Shelters): 
    Regulations and requirements for operating a licensed pet shop, dog pound or animal shelter. This is a very important regulation to read and understand, as it covers areas that MDARD Inspectors review when visiting these facilities.
  • Dog Law: Public Act 339 of 1919 
    An Act relating to dogs and the protection of live stock and poultry from damage by dogs; providing for the licensing of dogs; regulating the keeping of dogs, and authorizing their destruction in certain cases, etc.
  • Animals Running at Large: Public Act 328 of 1976 
    An Act to regulate animals running at large; to provide for compensation for damage done by animals running at large; to prescribe penalties; and to repeal certain acts and parts of acts.
  • Dangerous Animals: Public Act 426 of 1988 
    An Act to regulate dangerous animals; to provide for the confinement, tattooing, or destruction of dangerous animals; and to provide penalties for the owners or keepers of dangerous animals that attack human beings.
  • Michigan Penal Code (excerpt), Act 328 of 1931 
    Person with disabilities or trainer led by guide, leader, hearing, or service dog; refusing entry to or use of public or private accommodations as misdemeanor; conditions; identification card; list; definitions.
  • Public Act 117 of 2009
    This law makes it illegal if a farm animal can not lie down, stand up, fully extend limbs, and turn around freely in its enclosure.

Additional Materials

Training Programs

  • The Michigan Humane Society (MHS) Visit/Share/Learn Day. The training will comprise of 6 hours of on-site training in canine personality assessment, intake animal evaluations, and counseling training for staff assisting owners with animal relinquishment requests. MHS is limiting participation to 9 attendees per session so that it is a good learning and networking environment. Supportive handouts and lunch will be provided. MHS is currently planning to hold them quarterly at MHS' Rochester Hills location. Upcoming 2015 dates are: Wednesday, March 18; Wednesday, April 22; Wednesday, November 11; and Wednesday, December 16. There is no fee for the training, but it is limited to Michigan participants with preference given to current staff of registered animal shelters in the state. A shelter may send up to two representatives at a time. To learn more or sign up, email Linda Reider, Michigan Humane Society, Director of Statewide Initiatives, at: LReider@michiganhumane.org.

  • National Animal Control Association (NACA) Training Academy. The program has training and is held periodically at different locations around the country. Individuals that successfully complete both levels are eligible for national certification. For more information log onto www.nacanet.org or call 913-768-1319.
  • Michigan Association of Animal Control Officers (MAACO). The association has periodic conferences and trainings at various locations in Michigan.  The conferences feature animal control-specific training and continuing education. Log onto www.maacoweb.com for more details.

  • American Humane Association (AHA). The AHA provides training programs in animal welfare in various regional areas. For more information, call 1-800-227-4645 or log onto www.americanhumane.org.
  • The University of Missouri, through their Law Enforcement Training Institute, offers a training program known as the National Cruelty Investigation School. The training consists of three levels of training, each consisting of 5 days of training. The courses are offered at various locations throughout the country. For more information, see leti.missouri.edu/animal-cruelty.aspx or call (800) 825-6505.
  • Some local community colleges and high school adult education programs offer courses that would be appropriate for animal control officer training.
  • The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) puts together webinars with the aid of various leading industry and government experts on various animal and human health related topics, including topics on bats and rabies.  These webinars can be found at:  http://www.michigan.gov/emergingdiseases/0,4579,7-186--307782--,00.html.