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By Mike Allison, Aug 17 2018 01:30PM

Under Veterinary care, Annie's vital signs are monitored prior to recovery.
Under Veterinary care, Annie's vital signs are monitored prior to recovery.
Annie is carefully picked up and placed in a dog cage within the transport.
Annie is carefully picked up and placed in a dog cage within the transport.
Safe and sound in her cage prior to waking up from her brief sedation
Safe and sound in her cage prior to waking up from her brief sedation
Annie recovering, none the worse for her sleepy experience
Annie recovering, none the worse for her sleepy experience

Safe and sound after almost 6 weeks 'on the run' in Nottingham, the ACUK/ Canine Capture UK team bring Annie back to safety. We offer a huge thank you to Kaye, Rob, Emma, Kelly, Ryan and the local helpers who all did their bit to aid the meticulous planning for yet another night-time recovery operation. The result was another safe, humane and successful capture using Chemical Immobilisation Technology (CIT) in professional hands.


Night-time darting is fast becoming the norm for ACUK/CCUK specialists. As more and more dog rescues become aware that darkness is no barrier to effecting a safe, humane and efficient capture.


Whilst darting is normally a last option in any dog capture scenario, there are certain circumstances where darting needs to be considered as a primary option - especially where the subject animal may be in danger from traffic, railways or any other environmental hazard.


Annie's story began when she escaped from her temporary foster carers, and as always it can be some time before the dog settles down into a routine that it feels comfortable in. After the use of trapping had been considered as a front-line capture method, but failed to yeield a successful outcome then it soon becomes evident that CIT becomes the only viable alternative.


Close liaison with Canine Capture UK resulted in establishing a reliable movement pattern that could be identified, and once CCUK were happy that the movement pattern was stable, then the stategic planning for the use of CIT could then be formulated.


Timing is crucial in any CIT operation, and Annie's case was no exception. at 11:40pm Annie was succesfully darted and by 12:15am, whe was safe and sound in the transport vehicle bound for her new home.


For full details of how CCUK can help you recover your lost dog, please contact us on 0845 303 7266, or email us on info@animalcapture.co.uk

By Mike Allison, Jul 21 2018 10:38PM

Most animal owners believe they 'know' their animals intimately, and in most cases this is true. But many owners are simply unaware that the character and behaviour of an escaped animal can change dramatically - sometimes in a matter of minutes to behave like almost a completely different animal.


As the country's most experienced animal capture operators, nobody knows better than ACUK/CCUK that whilst owner involvement at certain levels is crucial as few people other than the owner will have the level of commitment required to facilitate a successful capture of an escaped animal.


However, in the closing stages of a capture operation direct owner involvement can sometimes be detrimental to the successful capture of live animals - especially dogs. In most cases the emotional attachment will hinder what is often a critical operational stage and can compromise the entire operation. Indeed we have seen recently where an entire operation had to be aborted and re-scheduled due to owner interference, and in one unfortunate case a dog died as a result of the owner being insistent on maintaining total control at all levels.


It is a fact that most failed capture operations are caused by owners failing to understand the complexity of the operation, and/or making ill-timed decisions that can have have dramatic negative effects on the subject animal's behavioural pattern - and therefore reducing the potential likelihood of a successful capture.


Formulating a capture plan can be a highly complex, multi-faceted operation often reliant on additional skill sets outside of the normal scope of the average animal lover. The longer the animal has been liberated, the more important it is to engage people with the specialist knowledge and experience, and leave them to do what they do best - to be able to collectively deliver a successful outcome.


This article offers a 7 point plan explaining what owners can do to help ensure that their pet is re-captured safely, humanely and quickly:


1) Notification - Once you realise that your dog has escaped, then inmost cases you will manage to recover the animal without any help, however if the animal is nervous, frightened and reluctant to come near anyone, then you are dealing with a different set of circumstances. In this case it is important to notify neighbours, the Police (especially if the animal is aggressive, or in an area where it may cause a traffic collision), a professional dog capture team who can advise you on the most appropriate course of action to help bring your dog home safely.


2) Information - In the early stages of an escape, clear, accurate and reliable information is crucial to help formulate a re-capture plan. The likely information you will need to provide are details of the breed, age, sex and typical live weight of the animal. A photographs is always useful to make sure that a reliable ID can be made. It is also useful to know the specific circumstances of the escape, the animal's temperament, history and any injuries/illnesses the dog may have. All these things will be needed in the operational planning stage.


3) Engagement of a Professional - There are many dog capture teams out there claiming to be 'qualified, experienced professionals' and so the boundaries between true professionals and simply well-meaning volunteers have become indistinct. As almost every capture operation is as individual as the subject dog's owner, then the difference between choosing the right team and not, can mean the difference between your dog being bought home safely or being frightened off and never seen again. It is important that you speak first to one of the experienced teams to obtain good advice at the outset.


4) Sighting Data - In the initial stages of an escape when friends and neighbours will be trying their best to help, it is crucial that you start to collate sighting data. That can be as simple as writing down where your dog was seen, the time and what it was doing. Sighting data is going to be one of the first requirements your professional team will use to build a picture of not only your dog's current movement pattern, but can also be used to predict future movement patterns. This information is vital in capture planning.


5) Landowner Authorisation - Regardless of whether your dog is lost in a residential area, a housing estate, wasteland or agricultural land, you will need to gain authorisation from the landowner to set traps or use any kind of Chemical Immobilisation Technology (CIT). Wandering onto private land without permission will undoubtedly cause landowners to be reluctant to help you. CIT Operators will always need authorisation - preferably in writing - before entering onto any land with a dart projector. If you need assistance with communicating with landowners, then your Professional Capture Team will be able to help.


6) Operational Planning - As no two capture operations are identical, the operational planning procedure will have measureof flexibility in it. Your Professional Capture Team will have generic capture protocol in place, but will also prepare a list of site-specific considerations to deal with un-planned events in what can be a highly dynamic environment. It is in the planning stage where the important information referred to in points 2 - 5 above is needed. In the implementation stage of the capture operation, owner involvement will normally be limited to a monitoring capacity only whilst the professional team carry out their work.


7) Post-capture procedures and after care - Once a successful capture has been effected, the the owner would be informed immediately, and the capture team will make a thorough inspection of the animal for any signs of injury or disease that may require Veterinary treatment. ACUK/CCUK have a qualified Veterinary Surgeon in our front-line team, so this process is carried out immediately. It is at this stage where great care must be taken to prevent re-escape. The greatest risk of this is normally as the animal is transferred from the trap to the transport cage, so in all cases full security measures will be in place. when an animal has been recovered using CIT, then there will be a period where it is recovering from sedation. Recovery can vary from a few minutes up to an hour depending on the breed, weight and pre-capture mentality.


Professional capture teams have often been criticised for appearing to 'take control' in a capture operation, however it is important for owners to know that this is not a personal issue. The final stages of a capture operation are time critical and so it is necessary for the Professional team to be in total control to ensure that the right decisions are made at the right time.


For professional advice and guidance for your lost dog from the UK's leading Professional Dog Capture Specialists, contact us NOW on 0845 303 7266


CANINE CAPTURE UK .... IF YOU'RE GONNA DO IT, DO IT RIGHT!










By Mike Allison, Jul 18 2018 06:05PM

Ryan, ACUK's newest staff member became the country's youngest Live Capture Operator. At only 18 years of age, he began his live capture career as part of ACUK's professional team, and marked the occasion by darting his first animal - a Sika hind with overgrown feet.


The animal was darted using state-of-the-art technology, and was sedated some 5 minutes later. With close Veterinary support to monitor vital signs, Ryan trimmed the hind's feet and in less than 10 minutes later she was back on her new feet - none the worse for her sleepy experience.


Watch our website on www.animalcapture.co.uk to follow Ryan's career with the UK's leading Live Capture Specialists.



By Mike Allison, Jul 17 2018 04:06PM

Licensing for Dog Trappers is a subject that has been discussed recently in the dog trapping/capture circles, with one or two operators suggesting that licensing will be required in the forseeable future.


Whilst the trapping of wild animals, birds and fish is currently controlled through a licensing process administered by Natural England, there is - as yet - no such legislative controls governing the re-capture of escaped dogs.


It is clear that one or two organisations are attempting to give the impression that a licensing requirement for the live trapping of dogs is likely to be a requirement in the forseeable future, however it is my view that the idea behind that is to perhaps discourage other operators from carrying out legitimate trapping operations to recover escaped dogs.


Naturally, anyone involved in trapping will be responsible for the safety and welfare of the subject animals, so it would not only make perfect sense, but would in fact be a legal requirement for those people to be fully conversant with the animal welfare legislation surrounding the capture of any dogs.


For the avoidance of doubt, I can confirm that no current licensing requirement exists surrounding the re-capture of dogs using cage traps. It may well be something that will emerge in the future, but certainly there appears to be no current plans in place to introduce such a licence.



By Mike Allison, Jul 8 2018 12:26AM

These two Limousin X heifers have been out now for some months. We now have reliability in their movements - a crucial preparatory requirement before darting can even be considered.


We'll be using multiple operators for these two as they are loose on a 50 hectare site consisting of scrub land.


Hopefully we'll have some good news for you inthe next three weeks. Whilst we're confident of recovering them, we need to wait until the weather cools off a bit as darting in conditions that we've had in the UK for the past two weeks can be problematic and could potentially compromise their welfare.


Watch this space!

By Mike Allison, Jun 19 2018 02:54PM

Ruby Awakening in Safety & Warmth
Ruby Awakening in Safety & Warmth
Coming to terms with a safe, new environment
Coming to terms with a safe, new environment

Ruby comes home amid differing views of whether CIT is an appropriate, or indeed an acceptable means of dog capture. The truth is that when all other options have ceased to work, or have failed then there are few other viable options left - and of those that are left, then only CIT ticks the boxes when it comes to safe, humane and effective recovery.


Take 'Ria' for example, a dog that had escaped and survived on the streets of Manchester for over 5 years. Almost every conceivable method of capture had been attempted, all of which had failed. 'Ria's' owner never gave up hope amidst sometimes brutal criticism of her actions - especially when she suggested darting as a solution. Ironically, it was CIT and darting that eventually led to the safe and humane re-capture of 'Ria'.


'Ria' and many more dogs and a multitude of other animals throughout the UK owe their very lives to the fact that CIT exists. However, there are precious few operators in the UK capable of using it safely, efficiently or to its full potential.


This was borne out by the haphazard nature by which an operator attempted to dart 'Ria' without the proper knowledge and experience. Even now, a high-profile case is currently on-going whereby the chances of a safe capture are miniscule for no other reason than a deficiency in technical knowledge, and the reluctance on the part of the opertors involved to seek professional guidance.


In 'Ria's' case, there had been multiple attempts at trapping; netting; drugs in feed; dog 'whisperers' and at least one other attempt at darting - all of which had failed miserably - leaving 'Ria' to scavenge for food, risking injury and death on a daily basis - to not only herself, but to any motorist who might swerve to miss her in the busy streets.


So when should CIT & darting be considered as an option? Well, I could start by stating an old saying and it goes; "When the horse you are flogging is dead... it is time to get off the horse and seek another horse" We can equate this philosophy to many cases of dog capture.


One thing we are NOT suggesting is that CIT should be considered as a first option. We must appreciate that very few capture operations are identical, and an almost endless permutation of circumstances can be encountered in what can be a highly dynamic environment.


So when should CIT & Darting be an option? Well its normally when there is little chance of other methods working, whether its in the form of calm, softly spoken positive reinforcement to trapping, to the use of other less popular methods such as physical restraint or collarums. One thing is for sure, that when a method is simply not working, then it is very unlikely to work in the future - so what would be the point in continuing to flog that particular 'dead horse'?


There is a grave downside to this practice too. Animals (as with humans) will only take so much before they do something drastic to avoid the event, and in the case of dogs, it is usually a profound change in routine behaviour. No matter how well-meaning the action is, it is at these times that the unfortunate animals are unwittingly placed in greater danger.


Only in the last six months such a change resulted in the unfortunate - but avoidable - death of a dog which had changed its behavioural pattern in response to ill-timed human intervention - coupled with the failure to understand the likely consequences.


So what are there risks with CIT & Darting? It would be foolish and dishonest of me to say that CIT is without risk to the subject animal. BUT it would be true to say that the risks are no more than those associated with a badly designed trap, an inappropriate trap, the incorrect use of a Collarum, or indeed the effects of causing an animal to needlessly cross busy roads or railways.


Any form of sedation and/or anaesthesia will always carry risks. There is always the risk of dart trauma through incorrect dart placement. There is always a risk with incorrect drug choice or dose rate calculations.


In order to eliminate or minimise risk as far as possible It is incumbent on the operator of such equipment to ensure that the risks are negated as far as possible. That can only be achieved by training, gaining experience under professional guidance and undertaking ongoing CPD as well as evaluation through operational skills testing, evaluation and assessments.


CIT is not for the faint hearted, mainly because of the multitude of variables that can come into play, and what can initially look like a straightforward process can quickly escalate into a life-threatening environment for both the animal and those involved. It is therefore imperative that only true professionals are engaged to carry out this highly specialised facet of animal capture. At ACUK and CCUK we pride ourselves in having that capability based not simply on certificates, but a solid track record of professional experience.


We all hope for the best in any case of a lost pet, but hope in itself is simply not enough to maximise the chances of getting them home safely. Sometimes there is a need to recognise when something isnt working, and appreciate that the longer it is allowed to go on not working, the more the risks to the animal are compounded.


For full details on the services that we provide in so far as CIT and Darting is concerned, please contact us on 01264 811155, or email us on info@animalcapture.co.uk.










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