ACBT Curriculum

ACBT Curriculum

This program provides the additional training and professional development for those currently working, or interested in working in a field that may have interactions with animals as part of their employment. Receive the theoretical background, applied skills, and specialized knowledge to become a better- equipped enforcement officer. To earn the Animal Control Basic Training Certificate, students must complete a total of 60-hours; 40 in-class instructional hours, plus approximately 20-hours of reading and/or online studies. You must be enrolled in all modules to take this program.


Animal Control: An Industry Perspective

This course provides an introduction to the role of an animal control enforcement official, including a historical perspective, the current role and responsibilities of an Animal Control Officer, and what is required to effectively execute this role. Students will become familiar with the titles and roles of similar enforcement positions that may deal with animals.

Animal Identification

Students will become familiar with the identification of specific animal breeds to assist in descriptive writing for reports, record keeping, and impoundment. This course will cover the implication of providing incorrect information of animal designations, including those thought to be a dangerous breed. Learn about the various methods of animal identification currently in use, the pros and cons of each, and how to use these systems to determine pet ownership and to assist you in your work.

Investigative Process & Techniques

This course will cover the requirements of an officer to prepare for and present information as evidence in public hearings or court trials. Students will learn the steps required to create a tactical plan before the investigation starts. This plan will ensure the officer covers and includes all relevant information so that a resolution of the complaint can be achieved. You will examine of the basic elements of an investigative file including the interview, how to collect, document, catalogue, and analyze evidence, make appropriate case recommendations, decisions, or referrals, record management, the requirement for follow-up, and possible enforcement options. Examples will be provided with reference to common complaints of noisy and dangerous dogs, and animal welfare, animal bites, and animals at large. Content is woven throughout the program with daily practical work and case studies incorporated into the curriculum.

Companion Animal Behaviour

This course provides an introduction to understanding and interpreting animal behaviour. Students will learn about typical, difficult and aggressive behaviours demonstrated by both dogs and cats. Topics will cover an examination of animal signals and actions; behavioural identifiers; common stressors; environmental influences; the human/pet relationship; and the assumptions of behaviour based on breed perceptions, living situations, and pet ownership. 

Basic Care and Humane Treatment of Animals

Laws and society are evolving to what we instinctively know to be ethically and morally right in the treatment of animals. This course will review effective animal management not only for public health and safety, but also for the welfare of the animals themselves. Students will discuss “The Five Freedoms”; what role the SPCA plays in communities and municipalities; and the importance for collaboration.

This unit will study the BC Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the humane and ethical guidelines animal control officers should be aware of. Topics will include the care and welfare of animals during capture, transport, impoundment, and euthanasia, identifying animal abuse and distress and providing guidance on responsible pet care.

Field Activities and Practices

This practical course will provide procedures and tactics for capturing, handling, and restraining stray and aggressive domestic and feral animals. Students will learn how to apply the theories taught in previous units covering animal behaviour and personal safety, to the capture and restraint of animals. Tactics and tools to protect the individual including the use of protective equipment, self-defence techniques, conflict control, disengagement, and defensive tactics will be incorporated into this training. You will learn about when to seek assistance from other law enforcement groups, and what each group’s scope of authority covers.

Animal Specific Legislation

This course will involve an analysis of legislation that governs animals and animal control in BC. You will interpret legislation and discuss associated issues and evidence. Emphasis will be placed on animal complaints such as ‘noisy and dangerous dogs’, ‘animal abuse’ and other related issues. Content will be based on BC laws that relate to animals:

  • Animal control laws that protect people by making sure animals do not interfere with public health and safety.
  • Animal protection laws that protect animals from mistreatment by their owners/ guardians.
  • Criminal laws that protect animals from anyone who deliberately causes them harm or threatens to harm them.

Safety Skills and Procedures

Animal control enforcement officials face daily challenges and dangers related to this profession including dealing with aggressive and dangerous animals to assertive and hostile people. This course covers the types of activities that may occur and techniques to mitigate these hazards including: Transportation of animals: vehicle safety, loading and unloading of animals; Sanitation and disease: rabies quarantine, handling and disposing of carcasses, and how to recognize and avoid disease; Personal safety: situation awareness, injury prevention, and dealing with difficult people.

Animal Control Basic Training – Review and Exam

Students enrolled in the Animal Control Basic Training certificate program must write and successfully complete a two hour exam based on the both the in-class training, and the required pre-class preparation. An optional 2-hour study block is included in this course. Students may write the exam in-class, or arrange for an invigilator at their place of employment.  2-hours in-class review (optional); 2-hour exam (in-class or takeaway).

Community Engagement

Online course - post in class completion

Officers have a strong presence in the community creating an environment of cooperation and education about responsible pet ownership. This course provides guidance on how to balance your role of enforcement with that of positive public engagement. Students will explore conflict avoidance, as well as ethics and public opinion. This course is an online course, to be completed after the in-class component, and will be graded based on two assignments and a final project submission. Students have 6-weeks from in-class program completion to submit.

Students’ Responsibility

The program must be taken in its entirety; modules may not be taken separately.  Students are responsible for their participation and completion of all in-class material, practical exercises, pre-reading, writing of tests, and the on-line course. Students should be aware of their rights and responsibilities as well as the College’s expectation in terms of student conduct. Details may be found at

Preparatory Materials

Students will be provided pre-reading or access to online materials, no later than two weeks prior to the program start date. It is strongly recommended that students thoroughly study all reading and online material prior to attending the program. A student may have difficulty passing the tests without having studied the material sent upon registration. Estimated prep time between 8 and 15 hours.

Reference Material (prior term showing here - information to be updated closer to April 2019)

Resource for Enrolled Students