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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.

By Mike Allison, May 30 2018 09:13PM


Losing your dog can be one of the most stressful and upsetting experiences, and the longer it remains unrecovered the more these emotions are compounded. It is at these times that owners can be at their most vulnerable and at these times, choosing a capture team can be done more though desperation than an informed decision. At best it can be a risky business, and at worst it could end in heartbreak.

Firstly it is important for owners to know that few capture operations are identical and vary from a straightforward capture to a highly complex multi-faceted operation requiring specialist skills and equipment. The specific capture management protocols will be driven by the dog's breed, its background, the location and the specific circumstances surrounding its escape/loss. There may be many other factors involved that dictate a targeted approach.

Animal Capture UK/Canine Capture UK feel it is our duty to inform owners on what they need to look for before engaging a capture team, and some of the questions they need to ask to ensure that the correct choice is made.

1) EXPERIENCE - what experience does the team have? It is not uncommon for operators to claim to have many years of experience when in reality they may have had very little. Your particular set of circumstances may dictate that specialist skills are deployed.

2) QUALIFICATIONS - for general capture, qualifications may not be necessary, although when high-tech systems such as drones and Chemical Immobilisation Technology (CIT) are used then there will almost always be a licensing requirement. Ask what qualifications the team members have to substantiate their claims of experience, and ensure that the qualification/licence is current. Check that the qualifications do actually exist, and that they are recognised by a UK-based awarding body.

3) EQUIPMENT - don't be afraid to ask what equipment the team uses, as sometimes inappropriate kit is used that can result in an injured dog, or 'educating' the dog never to go near such structures again. Once a botched capture has been attempted and the dog escapes, then its behavioural pattern will likely change and it may require a completely different approach.

4) REFERENCES - If the team have many years of experience, then there will be references and testimonials that can bear out that claim. Make sure the testimonials and references are bona-fide, as so many can simply be made up. References from Veterinary Surgeons are ideal, but ensure that the Vet supports the actual area of operation under which the team and/or its individual members are claiming to have experience.

5) COSTS - many teams provide their services free of charge, but when you get into the realms of hiring cameras, traps and engaging specialist skills then there is almost certainly going to be a cost. Ensure that you get a good idea of costs up front, and preferably in writing (email or physical letter) to ensure that there are no disputes at the end.

6) WEBSITES & SOCIAL MEDIA - a simple google search will normally bring you information about people/groups and don't be afraid to check out claims on them. Some website and facebook photos can be stock photos, or simply cut and pasted from other un-related sites. Ask questions about some of the pictures. Where were they taken? When? Ask to speak to the people who feature in them. Any reluctance to do that should trigger suspicion.

By following these six simple rules, you can spare yourself hours, days or even weeks of stress and uncertainty.

If you need good advice, and to be pointed in the right direction for the most appropriate course of action, then a simple post on The Dog Trapping Team - Search & Rescue Network will give you a reliable start to help find your dog. For specialist capture advice for difficult dogs, then please contact Animal Capture UK/Canine Capture UK 01264 811155, or email info@animalcapture.co.uk

IF YOU'RE GONNA DO IT, DO IT RIGHT! - Call Canine Capture UK.

By Mike Allison, Dec 31 2013 09:55PM

In December 2013, ACUK were requested by Niall Rowantree, Wildlife Manager at Ardnamurchan Estate, West Highlands to carry out a bespoke LANTRA approved Live Capture, Immobilisation and RCI training course at Ardnamurchan.

The course was run at the UHI (University of the Highlands & Islands) base in Kilchoan on the beautiful Ardnamurchan Peninsula.

This unique course was attended by Mr. Dave Ainsworth, a deer farmer from Lancashire, as well as Niall and Steve, another member ofArdnamurchan staff.

An unexpected additional feature to the couyrse was the live capture of wild goats using a mixture of dry Rompun and Ketamine. the mix was reversed with Atipam.

For more informatiom on this exciting training opportunity, please contact ACUK on 01264 811155, or email us on info@animalcapture.co.uk

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