2017 Academy

This academy is provided by the Animal Control Officers Association of Massachusetts (ACOAM) with the support of the Municipal Police Training Committee (MPTC); the Animal Rescue League of Boston; The Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals; the Humane Society of the United States, individual ACOs and others who give their resources, time, and expertise to this course.

The ACOAM Certification Academy has grown since 1987 into the most thorough, well-rounded program of its kind available in the state. It is one of the finest animal control educational programs in the country.

This is an intensive program designed to pack as much vital information as possible into a limited time. Subjects taught in this academy include: equipment handling, animal capture techniques and strategies, livestock and exotic animal handling, wildlife issues, dog bite prevention, animal health inspector duties, rabies protocol, local bylaws and ordinances, conducting Selectmen  hearings, record keeping and report writing, courtroom procedures, crime scene investigation, 4th amendment rights and exceptions to warrant, cruelty statutes and investigating cruelty complaints, self-defense, O.C. spray certification and more.

ACOAM Academy And Scholarship Application Form

The ACOAM certification academy begins on Friday, March 10, 2017 at the Boylston Police Academy.

This academy incorporates 104 hours of curriculum over 12 weeks and will be held every Friday of each week from 8:00am to 4:00pm.  In addition there is one Saturday session (date to be announced) in Williamstown, MA for large animal handling from 9:00am – 5:00pm.

TUITION:  Current tuition price for this academy is $495.00. This includes the NACA Training Manual, O.C. certification, informative handouts for future reference, a one year membership in ACOAM and NACA (National Animal Control Association), and one uniform polo shirt.

UNIFORM:  One polo style shirt will be provided at the beginning of the academy. In addition you will be expected to wear either a 5.11 style khaki pant, or something comparable (absolutely no jeans allowed).  Footwear shall be what you current department allows you to wear, and may be exchanged for sneakers on the day of tactical defense and O.C. certification. Failure to follow uniform policy may result in disciplinary actions.  No firearms are allowed in the classroom setting.

ENROLLMENT: ACOAM will accept any animal control officer who is currently employed by a municipality in Massachusetts. Due to new regulations, priority will be given to all current ACOs who have not graduated this academy first. If there are available seats enrollment will open for others hopeful to be in the field and those who are part of Animal Rescue League of Boston or the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

ENROLLMENT/PAYMENT: Complete the application form and return before February 12, 2017. Full payment for this academy will be expected by March 4, 2017.  Individuals may pay via certified bank check or money order.  Municipalities that are sending officers may request a receipt to submit to your town for payment.   Please see the attached applications as there are a few scholarship opportunities. Scholarship applications are due by January 22, 2017.

For more information, contact ACOAM Academy Director, Joseph Chague, at (413) 448 – 9750 or through email at jchague@pittsfieldpd.org.

Animal Control Officers Association of Massachusetts ~ PO Box 455~ Framingham, MA 01704


 Attendance: One (1) excused absence is allowed during the academy. Your supervisor must sign a written excuse for any absence.  More than one absence or unexcused absence may result in dismissal from the program.  Attendance is taken twice a day to ensure compliance. Your supervisor may be notified of unexcused absence or tardiness.

Appearance: Students must wear the academy polo shirt provided on the first day and 5.11 tactical style or uniform pants that is acceptable to your department. Absolutely no jeans or casual clothing will be acceptable and will be grounds for dismissal for the day. Your supervisor will be notified.

Duty Belts: If you do wear a duty belt for work please note that firearms/weapons are not allowed in class.

Cell Phone/pager: No audible cell phone or pager signals are allowed during class.

Requirement: ICS 100 and 700 are to be completed and certificates MUST be handed in before the completion of academy week 10.

Smoking regulations: NO SMOKING is allowed on the grounds or in the building.

Class O.I.C: Requests and complaints should be directed to the attention of the Officer in Charge of the class. The O.I.C will report absences and disturbances to the Academy Director.

Class Cancellation: During inclement weather or other emergencies, call Joseph Chague at (413) 448 9750. We will make all reasonable attempts to alert participants ahead of travel time if there is a snow event.

ACOAM Certification Academy Scholarships

Captain Thomas White Scholarship

Captain Tom White, as Director of Law Enforcement of the Animal Rescue League of Boston he played a vital role in the development of the ACOAM certification course. He worked alongside with the founding members of ACOAM in designing the classes, defining the structure and implementing the course in 1988.  Capt. White, or Tom as he was known  to his many friends, taught classes for the course on subjects ranging from Occult Crime to Crime Scene Investigation, Officer Safety, and Capstun Certification.  His vast knowledge and fascinating stories of his years in the field held his class participants attention and taught by example how the job should be done. He continued to play an integral part in the improvement and updating of the course as needed right up until his death in 2000.

Tom spent many hours working with ACOs from all over the state. Many had questions or needed advice on serious situations that they had little experience with.  He also provided assistance for ACOs who needed a hand in preparing a case for court or before a town Selectmen’s board. Capt. White recognized the growing role of Animal Control Officers in the field of public safety and he understood that educating ACOs would greatly improve the ability of officers to protect themselves on the job. It would also improve the ability of Animal Control Officers to work with the public as well as with the Animal Rescue League in promoting and protecting the welfare of animals.

The Animal Control Officers Association of Massachusetts, with the support of the Animal Rescue League of Boston, offers this scholarship in the name of Captain Thomas White in honor of and with thanks for a man who was a great friend to so many in the field of animal control.

Dick Stein Certification Academy Scholarship

 Richard “Dick” Stein was the town of Canton’s Animal Control Officer for over 30 years, and he was a founding member of the Animal Control Officers Association of Massachusetts in 1980.  With the creation of ACOAM he became a driving force in the move to educate and professionalize the officers in this much joked about and maligned job. Dick was there for the inception of the ACOAM certification course and he helped mold the course into one of the most in -depth educational opportunities available to animal control officers anywhere in the United States.

Dick served as President of ACOAM and later held other board positions as well.  In 1995 the Animal Rescue League of Boston and the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals honored Dick with the prestigious ACO of the Year award which he richly deserved.

His years of effort to build respect for his chosen profession helped create the recognition that ACOAM has today with local and state government. ACOs who never met Dick Stein will benefit from his efforts on behalf of the organization that he helped to create, and from the tone that he set that has helped to bring Animal Control from the image of the lowly, cartoon-ish, dogcatcher to a respected branch of public safety officer.

This scholarship is offered as a thank you and a memorial to honor the years that Dick Stein devoted to the Animal Control Officers Association of Massachusetts, and his contribution to the certification academy offered by the organization that he helped create.

ACOAM Academy And Scholarship Application Form