Make plans now to join us November 13-16 in San Marcos!

Embassy Suites is Sold Out!
Book at the nearby Holiday Inn Express:


1) Call the hotel front desk at 512-392-6355 and mention that you are with the Texas Animal Control Group or group code TXA and the front desk will book your reservations.

2) BOOK ONLINE! Click the Texas Animal Control Group Booking Link. It will take you to the website with the pre-selected dates and you can book your reservation online. 


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BIODaniel Ettinger got his start in animal welfare as a volunteer at a wolf sanctuary. Though, the call of the wild for him was to help protect people from animals, and animals from people. He is currently the Animal Control Supervisor for Summit County, CO Sheriff’s Office. Daniel has several years of experience investigating crimes against animals and maintaining a safe community. He has worked on countless bite investigations, cruelty/neglect cases and is an expert witness.Daniel is the host of the Humane Roundup podcast, a podcast dedicated to animal protection officers and other animal welfare professionals. He is an adjunct instructor for the University of Missouri, Law Enforcement Training Institute. He has developed and presented several trainings for the university. Daniel is also an internationally recognized public speaker and a valued member of the animal welfare community. He has given lectures at several animal welfare conferences throughout the United States. His innovative topics challenge the dog catcher and dog pound stereotype to help provide alternative and proactive ways to operate.
Day  Time  Instructor  Course Description
 11/13/22  8:00-12:00 Ethel  Strother CET Recertification (free for all TACA Members)

 8:00-5:30 Cantrell, Johnson, Strother TCCI 301 (Requires separate registration)
 11/14/22  8:30-10:30 Kelly Thyssen has over 15 years of experience in the animal welfare profession including animal control, veterinary assistant, shelter manager, and public health. She is a trained Peer Support Partner through the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation and Co-founder of the nonprofit Humane H.E.L.P. which provides peer support services and resources for animal welfare professionals.

Is It Really All Management's Fault?
Are you really OK? The last 3 years have been a rollercoaster ride for the animal welfare industry. Worldwide illness, record number of adoptions followed by record number of intakes and balancing the needs of the public with the realities of the profession.  Are you thriving or just surviving each day?  This presentation will cover the basics of compassion fatigue and how to do ‘check-ins’ with yourself to gauge how you are really doing on your journey to better mental health.  We will also cover ways to improve yourself and take care of yourself so that you can better care for the animals and people you interact with daily.

  11/14/22 11:00-12:30 Dr. Andy Neillie has been speaking, coaching and consulting for more than 20 years.  As a best-selling author with a doctorate in leadership, he has the credentials that match his 5 million miles on American Airlines as he’s worked with associations, firms and government agencies all over the globe.  Perhaps equally important, this isn’t just “consultant-speak” for Dr. Andy - he owns several franchise businesses in central Texas, oversees several million dollars of P&L annually, and leads a management team with more than 100 employees underneath them. He’s been in the trenches like us, and knows what works and what doesn’t work when it comes to working with people.  Perhaps more importantly, Dr. Andy and his family are long-time dog (and cat) rescuers; these days he's got dogs #9 and #10, Mickey and Sawyer, under his feet when he works from his home office in Austin. Football and French Wine
Life is hard. So is leadership. Football coaches call it “push toward the pressure,” the owner of a small vineyard in France says “the harder the soil, the better the wine.” Whether the lesson comes from the grid-iron or the grapevine, one thing all leaders know: success is a hard-fought endeavor. Leaders, when we learn what good coaches and grape-growers know, we can take the hard things and make them the good things.  This class will help participants understand best practices to improve their leadership effectiveness and provide a stronger resolve to push through the challenges of daily struggles whether they’re in the shelter, the field, or at home.
  11/14/22  2:00-3:30 Daniel Ettinger got his start in animal welfare as a volunteer at a wolf sanctuary. Though, the call of the wild for him was to help protect people from animals, and animals from people. He is currently the Animal Control Supervisor for Summit County, CO Sheriff’s Office. Daniel has several years of experience investigating crimes against animals and maintaining a safe community. He has worked on countless bite investigations, cruelty/neglect cases and is an expert witness. Daniel is the host of the Humane Roundup podcast, a podcast dedicated to animal protection officers and other animal welfare professionals. He is an adjunct instructor for the University of Missouri, Law Enforcement Training Institute. He has developed and presented several trainings for the university. Daniel is also an internationally recognized public speaker and a valued member of the animal welfare community. He has given lectures at several animal welfare conferences throughout the United States. His innovative topics challenge the dog catcher and dog pound stereotype to help provide alternative and proactive ways to operate. Scratching the Surface of Bites
Have you ever been dispatched to an animal bite call and couldn't tell if it was a scratch from a cat or a dog? Did you still quarantine the animal because the victim told you that it was a bite? Being attacked or bitten by an animal can be an overwhelming experience, and the events of the incident can be hard to recall for some people. Having the skills to identify the proper type of injuries are invaluable for animal control officers and this class will teach you those techniques through photos, diagrams, statistics and shared experiences.
  11/14/22  2:00-3:30 Audra Houghton joined HSUS in December of 2018 as the Director of Operations for the Animal Rescue Team, where she oversees the dedicated, hardworking team responsible for field response and readiness, sheltering, and animal care divisions. She began working with animals more than 25 years ago during which time she has served as an animal cruelty investigator, veterinary technician, dog trainer and K9 handler. She has conducted thousands of investigations in her time as a cruelty investigator and has filed hundreds of misdemeanor and felony cases that were successfully prosecuted. Her current role has her deploying around the country with Animal Rescue Team to aid partners in large scale response, oversee the animal care, medical and behavior rehabilitation of sheltered animals, and teach investigations courses. When she's not deployed, she spends her time at home in Pennsylvania with her partner and her dog Gregg, rescued from the dog meat trade in South Korea by her colleagues at HSI. Trauma Informed Sheltering
Each year, the Humane Society of the United States Animal Rescue and Response team assists law enforcement agencies nationwide with numerous large-scale cruelty cases and disasters, rescuing hundreds of animals in crisis. Ranging from sensory-deprived puppy mill survivors and large-scale neglect survivors with significant medical issues to victims of dogfighting who have endured horrendous abuse, animals in our care typically have profound trauma that must be identified and addressed. Years of experience operating short- and long-term temporary shelters has provided the opportunity to think creatively about ways to effectively shelter and treat traumatized animals. By reimagining our response, we can dramatically change the shelter experience for animals and caregivers alike.  In this presentation, we will discuss HSUS? partnerships with local organizations and medical professionals, and the unique approaches our team employs to heal the mind, body and spirit of victims of crisis and cruelty. 
  11/14/22  4:00-5:30 Karin Saucedo was born and raised in Dallas and has always been committed to making a difference in the lives of animals. Especially passionate about felines and canids, she dedicates her time to studying their behavior through wildlife conservation photography and remotely through camera traps. Karin serves on the Advisory Committee for Texas Native Cats and serves on the Board of Directors for CREA/Cocobolo Nature Reserve in Panama. Karin also works with organizations including The Canid Project as their Texas Outreach Representative, The Gulf Coast Canine Project as their field research photographer, and she's been volunteering at In-Sync Exotics Wildlife Rescue for almost 12 years. Living in Harmony with America’s Song Dog
Coyotes are a native North American species that evolved during the Pleistocene epoch millions of years ago. They adapted well to living alongside early indigenous people and continue to do so today. They’re highly resilient creatures able to adapt to threats and acclimate themselves in almost every environment, including cities and suburbs. As a keystone carnivore, coyotes play a critical role helping to maintain healthy ecosystems and species diversity. This presentation will look at the current challenges coyotes face in a rapidly evolving human-centric landscape. We’ll examine the coyotes' seasonal behaviors that often influence increased sightings and dispel some of the most common myths. In conclusion, we’ll discuss proactive methods we can use to help avoid negative encounters with coyotes. Song dogs have figured out how to live with us, it’s time for us to learn how to live harmoniously with them.
  11/14/22  4:00-5:30 Tabitha Kucera is an Elite Fear Free and Low Stress Handling Certified Registered Veterinary Technician, CCBC, and KPA-CTP. She has been working with cats and dogs for over 12 years and in that time has worked with a number of rescue organizations and small animal practices. Her work in these fields shed light on repeated occurrences of feline and canine euthanasia and re-homing due to behavioral issues. She quickly became dedicated to learning about the prevention, root causes, and solutions to feline and canine behavioral concerns. She continued to teach herself more about behavior through continuing education, workshops, completing her low stress handling and fear free certifications, graduating from the Karen Pryor Academy and obtaining her KPA-CTP, and became a certified cat behavior consultant through the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants. She loves educating others through writing, behavior consulting, and lecturing on all things cats and dogs, including feline and canine behavior, working with fearful animals, fear free handling, and more. She is a Fear Free certified speaker, a trainer-mentor for Cat Pawsitive Pro, is the co-chair of Pet Professional Guild’s Cat Committee ,the President elect of the Society of Veterinary Behavior Technicians, is the Vice President of the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants and she serves on the board of The Together Initiative for Ohio’s Community Cats. No More Cat Wrangling: Feline Friendly Handling
Many cats feel fear, anxiety and stress when being handled and/or approached, which can reduce quality of life and lead to lower-quality medical care. The speaker will discuss tools and techniques to reduce fear, anxiety and stress, making cats more adoptable and likely to stay in long-term, loving homes. The session will cover understanding stress, the consequences of force-based handling and teach basic handling techniques to reduce fear, anxiety and stress for cats in veterinary clinics, shelters and homes.
11/15/22  9:00-10:30 Ethel Strother is a Texas Certified Cruelty Investigator and has spent over 17 years serving on the Texas Animal Control Board of Directors and is a Past President. She has an Associate’s Degree in General Animal Science and has 40 years of experience as a Veterinary Technician. She recently retired from 27 years in Animal Services and spends her time working 2 days a week as a Vet Tech with Vet on the Go and working with THLN, TACA, and Texas Critter Connection as an instructor. Her true passion is in the Equine department and has owned and competed on horses for over 50 years. Ethel has worked closely over the years with THLN on various animal laws and testified on numerous bills to help make the jobs of ACO's easier to enforce while protecting the animals. Equine Cruelty Investigations
This course will provide the attendee with what to look for when investigating reports of cruelty on equine related cases. How to communicate with equine owners, and what to do when cruelty has been determined. This course will also cover the different resources  available for equine owners and what to do with seized horses in a cruelty case. 
 11/15/22  9:00-10:30 Al Garces is an Army veteran who has worked in Animal Control since 2009.  Currently the Humane Supervisor for the Deer Park Police Department, he helped raise the adoption rate by over 90% in his first year of being a supervisor.  This accomplishment, and several others, helped propel him to winning both the Warren J. Kilpatrick award and the Coy D. Willis Award in just his first three years of leading a shelter.  Always one to be willing to help, Al has assisted in the creation of social media plans and suggested changes for other cities and shelters from across Texas to improve their online presence.  Al has been a member of the Texas Animal Control Association since 2012 and has served as a Coordinator for the group since 2020 where he has worked to help improve the Association’s marketing and outreach efforts. Shelter Marketing and Social Media
The old school way of getting people to come adopt no longer works. This new generation doesn’t respond to sad depressing (cue the Sara McLachlan music) style of marketing. I am not an expert nor have I received professional training in social media or marketing. I am simply a fellow ACO who has had ALOT of success changing things up a bit. During my short class I will give you many tips on ways you can improve your outreach at your shelter and show you examples of what I’ve done. It doesn’t cost anything to take a better photo or video. No fancy equipment is needed (although it can be helpful) when most of us by now have smart phones with great cameras sitting in our pocket at this very moment. It can seem intimidating at first but with a few pointers anyone can see a significant change in their media following and more importantly see it in their adoption numbers.
 11/15/22 11:00-12:30 Shelby Bobosky, Esq., has been the Executive Director at the Texas Humane Legislation Network (THLN) since 2019, but she began her volunteer service with THLN in 2011 as a board member. Since 2011 and under her leadership as President, Vice President, and Legislative Chair, the organization has had four successful legislative sessions wherein THLN successfully passed the Anti-Gassing Law (passed in 2013), the Mandatory Canine Encounter Training Law (passed in 2015), and the Animal Cruelty Enhancement Law (passed in 2017) and the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act (passed in 2021). In 1999, Ms. Bobosky moved from Chicago to Dallas to begin her law practice. Ms. Bobosky continued practicing general civil litigation until 2017, when she decided to do only pro bono work, putting in hundreds of hours for THLN and assisting animal welfare advocates and rescues when possible. She serves as an Adjunct Professor while teaching Animal Law and Wildlife Law at Southern Methodist University College of Law. She travels the state teaching Texas animal cruelty laws and animal laws. She shares her animal kingdom with four boys, including her husband, three rescued dogs, and two rescued prairie dogs.

Legislative Update
This course will update attendees on the new state laws that passed the last legislative session and provide insight on many that did not gain approval. It will also discuss bills that are likely to be introduced in the upcoming session that could affect the animal welfare profession. 

 11/15/22 11:00-12:30  Tabitha Kucera - see bio above Litterbox Lessons: Preventing Litterbox Issues
Cats defecating and urinating outside the box is one of the most common behavioral issues among cats. Unfortunately, house-soiling is also a leading cause of relinquished or euthanized cats. Contrary to popular opinion, cats do not do that to punish or spite their housemates! Instead, feline house-soiling is due to either a medical problem and/or fear, anxiety, and stress. 
 11/15/22  2:00-3:30  Kate Rugroden is a TPWD permitted wildlife rehabilitator specializing in bats, opossums, and raccoons, and holds both TPWD and USDA Educational Display permits as well. She has over 25 years’ experience in presenting live animal programs in addition to her 9 years as a rehabilitator. She is a member of IWRC, NWRA, the Texas Bat Working Group, the Texas Animal Shelter Coalition, and Texas Metro Wildlife Rehabilitators, and serves as Chair of the Stakeholders Committee for the National White Nose Syndrome Response Team.  Kate serves as Director of Special Projects for Bat World Sanctuary, the largest rehabilitation and teaching facility in the world dedicated exclusively to rescue, rehabilitation, and sanctuary for bats. In that role, she has presented educational programs to thousands of adults and school children throughout the DFW Metroplex.  She has developed training manuals for four wildlife rehabilitation classes, and, with Amanda Lollar of Bat World Sanctuary, co-authored the book The Essential Bat (Bat World Sanctuary,2012). In addition, she is approved by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) to provide up to 60 hours of continuing education credit to Animal Control Officers for the wildlife rehabilitation classes she teaches.

Wildlife Triage for Animal Control
Animal shelters often receive wildlife, by responding to calls for assistance or when citizens bring these animals into the facility. Shelter staff must know how to identify common wildlife species, properly restrain wild animals, and what steps to take on intake. Participants will also discuss specific cases that illustrate how to determine when the animal can be released or referred to a permitted rehabilitator, or when it should be humanely euthanized. Topics to be discussed include:

  • Overview of wildlife regulations
  • Identification of common wildlife species
  • Safe capture and handling basics
  • Critical intake steps
  • Injury assessment
  • Case studies – using a decision tree to determine whether to release, refer to rehabilitation, or euthanize
 11/15/22  2:00-3:30  K.D. Hearst, Sr. began his Animal welfare career in Atlanta GA in 1994, where he was heavily influenced by Dr. Melinda Merck in 2007 who opened his eyes to Animal cruelty investigations. Being part of a Countywide Animal cruelty task force was incredible for his next chapter in life as an instructor.He was given training opportunities which led to LETI (Law Enforcement Training Institute), where he met Lisa Dority, John Worden and Bill Stephens and led to Kevin Hearst being recognized/assigned as a humane investigator. Mr. Hearst has been a member of our National Animal Cruelty Investigations School faculty for over 12 years and is recognized as an expert in the field of animal cruelty investigations. The school is written into policy in several jurisdictions throughout the United States and has been recognized as one of the leaders in education for humane investigators. Mr. Hearst is one of the primary reasons for this honor. He has been asked to and delivered many presentations for conferences throughout the nation. Tactical Animal Handling
Non-threating capture techniques and humane animal handling, with student participation during practical demonstration. (ACO Leonel Perales of Pasadena TX animal control with assist with practical presentation section) How to use de-escalation tactics when confronting canines on routine calls.  Using video and best known and current tactics to resolve friendly to vicious incidents with owned and stray dogs.
 11/15/22  4:00-5:30  Mela Singleton has been involved with local wildlife for 20 years. She is the owner of 911 Wildlife, Brinker Animal Removal, and President of the North Texas Wildlife Center. The Pitfalls of Trapping and Relocating
This class will highlight the pitfalls of trapping and relocating wildlife with an emphasis on bobcats and coyotes. We will discuss basic urban wildlife ecology and behavior and explain why wild animals such as coyotes and bobcats are becoming a more common sight in local neighborhoods.  We will highlight what some of the best options are for handling encounters between humans and these two species, provide tips for protecting pets and ways to keep bobcats and coyotes out of their yards.


 4:00-5:30 Kati Krouse is the Executive Director of BEARS Etc., a Bear & Exotic Animals Rescue & Sanctuary, and has been passionate about animals, and their wellbeing, her entire life. She went to Veterinary Technology School at Purdue University where she minored in Wildlife Management and Natural Resources and tracked wildlife and exotics.  She is, also, a 5th generation farmer and is a certified Master Gardener.  She believes in sustainable farming using plants working together instead of using harsh fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides.  She, and her husband, founded BEARS Etc. to leave the world better than they found it by connecting people with nature and giving them, and their rescued animals, a PEACE of the Wild. Over the last 25 years she’s worked in corporate, private practice, and nonprofit facilities, and has run her own pet grooming, pet training, and pet sitting/boarding businesses.  She, currently, lives in Montgomery, TX and sits on the board as Chair of the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce, is a diplomat for the Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce, Vice President of the Texas Black Bear Alliance, and sits on the Advocacy Committee for the Big Cat Sanctuary Alliance.  She cares about her community and leaving it better than she found it.

Macaws, Sulcatas, and Tigers… Oh My!
This is an introductory course that includes basic capture, restraint, housing and husbandry of animals kept in the exotic pet trade.  As the exotic pet trade continues to boom across the US, to the point of $15 Billion a year, more and more calls are being received for exotics. When rescues/animal control receive a call, what do you do? What supplies will you need? Who do you call? How do you know that the animal will end up in the right hands and not continue to be neglected and abused and/or sold back into the exotic pet trade or become a “mill animal.” You will receive resources for basic husbandry, and the people to call, when you receive a call.



9:00-10:30 Elizabeth Coalson adopted her first dog, Peach, eleven years ago and she could never have imagined how her love for her would inspire the rest of her life! The first year was a bit tricky, but she was committed to giving her the very best life possible. Elizabeth came to know what it is to love unconditionally, and she wanted every dog to feel that kind of love. She started by volunteering at a local animal shelter and, while it seemed impossible, her heart grew even more determined to improve the lives of dogs the world over. With her researcher’s mind, Elizabeth devoured as much information as she could about canine welfare and began to develop a plan for making a profound and permanent difference in the well-being of dogs everywhere. And thus, National Canine Advocacy Group was born. After nearly 30 years in corporate finance, she created National Canine not only from her heart but also on a base of integrity, discipline, and organization. Their programs are cutting edge, run by highly talented people, and supported by experts in the fields of canine training, health, wellness, education, and advocacy. It is with heartfelt thanks to her beloved Peach that Elizabeth’s life’s purpose would be revealed and realized!

Retail Rescues
Transporting animals across the country has been used for years to help save lives, but is it always in the animals’ best interests?  In this course, we'll talk about the movement of dogs and puppies across state lines, focusing on Texas as an exporter of pets to other areas.  This course will include a discussion of the dynamics of pet overpopulation in Texas, and the opposite case in  other states, and an illustration of the movement of dogs from Texas. It will also talk about the risk of disease transmission when transporting dogs and highlight the largest importers of dogs in other states and their characteristics.  By defining and differentiating between “Retail Rescues” and responsible rescues, this class will present a way forward to increase standards of care for shelter and rescue animals in both the exporting and importing locations.



11:00-12:30  Audra Houghton - see bio above Community Outreach and De-escalation: Considerations for Animal Welfare Professionals
As first responders, animal care and control professionals are often the first to arrive at emergencies and have regular contact with the public through calls for service. De-escalation is not a new concept in policing or animal protection, but the movement toward proactive community engagement has revealed new and important lessons for building legitimacy and can increase the chances of positive interactions with our constituencies. This seminar will review key considerations for shifting from a ?warrior? to a ?guardian? mindset; mindfulness around verbal and nonverbal cues; and tips for incorporating cultural competency into our daily interactions. Practicing de-escalation is not only a powerful tactical tool but importantly; it is an investment in the communities we serve.

If a participant wants to provide feedback on this course and/or its sponsor, the participant can mail comments to the Texas Department of State Health Services, Training Course Coordinator, Zoonosis Control, MC 1956, P.O. Box 149347, Austin, Texas, 78714-9347 or email them to

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