By Mike Allison, Jun 19 2018 02:54PM
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.