Disaster & Cruelty

Online Courses: Combating Cruelty

The ASPCA's anti-cruelty e-learning program includes the following self-paced, free online courses.

* Notes that the course has been approved:

  • by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Animal control officers in Texas may apply these courses toward animal control officer continuing education requirements per Ch. 829 of the Texas Health and Safety Code. Texans, learn more here.
  • by SAWA for Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA) continuing education (CE).

Combating Dogfighting (1.5 hours) *

Underwritten by the US Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) and developed as an accompaniment to the manual The Dogfighting Toolkit for Law Enforcement, the online course Combating Dogfighting teaches you how to detect, investigate, and take action against dogfighting within your jurisdiction.

Combating Dogfighting was developed by ASPCA anti-cruelty experts Randall Lockwood, PhD (Senior Vice President, Forensic Sciences and Anti-Cruelty Projects), and Stacy Wolf, Esq. (Vice President & Chief Legal Counsel, Humane Law Enforcement). The course runs less than two hours and includes:

  • Part One, Understanding Dogfighting, contains a comprehensive overview of dogfighting in the United States.
  • Part Two, Investigating and Responding to Dogfighting, contains information and resources to help you detect and take action against dogfighting, including successfully prosecuting dogfighting in your community. 

Watch a short clip of the course. (Warning: contains graphic images of animal cruelty.)

Investigating Animal Abuse for Law Enforcement (3.0 hours) *

Developed in conjunction with the Illinois Regional Institute of Community Policing (now the Center for Public Safety and Justice), the Investigations course assists law enforcement and animal control professionals in effectively identifying and investigating animal cruelty and neglect. The three-hour course offers a comprehensive approach to enforcing animal cruelty laws, covering:

  • Animal abuse and community policing
  • Evidence collection and preservation
  • Officer safety

Field Investigations and Response Series *

The ASPCA Field Investigations and Response (FIR) Department presented ten webinars exploring issues critical to successful investigations and response for animals in crisis, including animals in natural or man-made disaster situations. The webinar recordings are now available as online courses. Students may earn a certificate of completion for each course. Courses are either 90- or 60-minutes in length.

Officer Safety — Dog Bite Prevention (Tutorial)

This 25-minute tutorial covers recognizing forms of canine aggression, basics of canine communication, and dog bite prevention. The tutorial is based on one lesson from the 3-hour online course Investigating Animal Abuse for Law Enforcement which was developed with the Illinois Regional Institute of Community Policing (now the Center for Public Safety and Justice).

Register Now for all the courses. NEW EASY REGISTRATION!

— Click on Create an Account, submit the form, then click on Catalog to enroll in a course bundle or individual courses.

Technical Tips

  • Turn your pop-up blockers off before logging in.
  • The courses play best in the Firefox browser. If you must use Internet Explorer 7.0 or earlier, you'll need to apply a Microsoft patch. Once on the Microsoft site, scroll down to Fix it for me and click on the icon.