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Animal Control Officer
The Dog Law of 1919, Public Act 339 of 1919 as amended, provides for the creation of local animal control agencies and ordinances that establish animal control programs, facilities, personnel, and funding for necessary expenses incurred in animal control.
In addition, the Act contains minimum employment and fitness standards for animal control officers (ACOs), including a minimum course of study of no less than the 100 instructional hours that is prescribed by the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD). This course of study is required for applicants unless they are a police officer or have already served as an ACO for at least three years.
If individuals are interested in becoming an ACO, MDARD will work with these individuals and animal control agencies to identify and recommend appropriate training that may count toward the minimum of the 100 instructional hours that are needed. To further assist in these efforts, MDARD collaborates with organizations that provide training programs and approves options that are appropriate for consideration as part of these instructional hours.
Individuals and animal control agencies are encouraged to contact us (AnimalShelters@Michigan.gov) regarding the curriculum for ACOs that MDARD has prescribed in order to gain a thorough understanding of the roles and shared responsibilities that are involved in ensuring animal health, animal welfare, and public safety.
Individual Training Reviews
When completing the minimum of the 100 instructional hours that are needed, trainees are responsible for documenting their entire course of study. To help record one's training, MDARD has created a training log that must be submitted to AnimalShelters@Michigan.gov (along with any certificates, letters, and other forms of training documentation) to verify that a person's training is complete. For the entries on the log, please be sure to capture key details-such as descriptions of specific training events, trainer(s), and date(s). These details are necessary when one's training is being reviewed and verified.
Once this documentation is received by MDARD, it will be reviewed; and trainees will be notified if any additional training or evidence of training is needed or if their training is complete. If complete, trainees will receive a letter acknowledging that their training is consistent to the prescribed requirements. This letter should be kept as MDARD purges the training review documents after 5 years.
Key laws regarding core animal control operations:
Dog Law: Public Act 339 of 1919
Refers to dogs and protecting livestock and poultry from damage by dogs, providing for the licensing of dogs, regulating the keeping of dogs, etc.
Michigan Penal Code: Public Act 328 of 1931, Chapter IX, Animals
Addresses animal control, adequate care of animals, animal neglect, animal cruelty, harassment of service animals, and other prohibited conduct.
Animals Running at Large: Public Act 328 of 1976
Regulates animals running at large and provides for compensation from damage done by these animals and stipulates penalties.
Dangerous Animals: Public Act 426 of 1988
Sets policy regarding dangerous animals by providing for the confinement, tattooing, or destruction of dangerous animals and outlining penalties for the owners or keepers of dangerous animals that attack human beings.
Regulation 129: Governing Dog Kennels
Establishes a minimum performance-based standard for locally-licensed dog kennels pursuant to the Dog Law of 1919.
Large Carnivore Act: Public Act 274 of 2000
Regulates the ownership, possession, breeding, and care of certain large carnivores.
Wolf-Dog Cross Act: Public Act 246 of 2000
Bans individuals from keeping wolf-dog crosses. Allows temporary housing of these animals at shelters when testing for wolf DNA, arranging for the wolf-dog cross to go to a legal home in another state or sanctuary, or performing humane euthanasia.
Bodies of Dead Animals: Public Act 239 of 1982, Regulations for Act 239 of 1982
Establishes requirements for the proper disposal (including burial and composting) of dead animals.
Registration and Identification of Dogs
Addresses the requirement for any person to report stray dogs within 48 hours.
Generally Accepted Agricultural and Management Practices
Provides recommendations regarding the agricultural and management practices for farm animals in the State of Michigan.