I have witnessed stray dogs being captured from their necks with catch poles and thrown into a truck many times.
They are being dragged with these poles, screaming in pain and stress, sometimes even lost their conscious. And also, I have witnessed whenever a dog sees the catch pole or stick , they recognized the tool and run away, dog catchers can not catch a single dog, most of the time. So, what is the methodology to catch dogs humanely , without hurting them physically or psychologically ? I have talked to Mr. Brian Faulkner who is a worldwide known expert on humane companion animal capturing.
BP: Could you tell me about yourself, experience with catching dogs?
Brian Faulkner: I have been working in humane companion animal control for over 30 yrs, At first in the UK and now have been working internationally for around 20 years. I have worked extensively in Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe, Latin America, North America (Canada) and of course Turkey. I am an international speaker on this subject, I am recognized as an European Union “Expert” through participating in TAIEX workshops. I am an adviser to the Government of Singapore and now in Azerbaijan.
Brian Faulkner – at Dogs Trust ITP, March 2016
BP: In which countries have you caught dogs?
Brian Faulkner: India, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Kirghistan, Azerbaijan, Ukraine, Russia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Bosnia, Hungary, Sierra Leonne, Malta, Italy, Mexico, Canada, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Turkey and many other places I have forgotten.
BP: How many types of dog catching equipment are there? How do we decide which equipment to use?
Brian Faulkner: There are many types of equipment used in the capture of stray dogs, not all of which are humane. I only working strictly to OIE guidelines in that catching must be humane. Equipment can vary from simple slip leashes, catch poles, snares, nets, traps, and chemical capture. It depends what type of dog you are dealing with which dictates what equipment to use, friendly dogs could be picked up by hand, or a slip leash, aggressive dogs the use of a pole, shy dog or feral dogs then traps or chemical capture.
BP: Which countries use “nets” to catch dogs?
Brian Faulkner: Many western countries are now adopting the use of nets, it has been frequently used in Asian countries primarily India, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Bali. I have introduced net capture into Ukraine and some Balkan countries.
BP: In my country, dog catchers, vets and municipality think that nets and cages are not effective. They said they were bitten while using nets. Though they don’t have any training. They prefer catch poles. What are your thoughts?
Brian Faulkner: If used correctly and the people are trained then this can reduce the risk of being bitten, nets are effective and humane, poles are, from a protection point of view more effective in preventing you from being bitten, but it is more difficult to catch dogs using poles.
BP: What could you say about stray dogs in general?
Brian Faulkner: What do you want me to say? Stray dogs are smart, very smart, they have to be to survive on the streets. They can make good pets if they are well socialized.
Brian with a puppy
BP: Have you ever experienced or closely heard that stray animals killed an adult person other than news? If so, why did it happen you think?
Brian Faulkner: Yes, In Bucharest a Japanese gentleman was killed by a stray dog. He walked out of his apartment and accidentally stepped on a dog whilst it was sleeping, the dog bit him on the leg, penetrating a major artery and he died very quickly. The dog was not aggressive as such it hjust reacted in the way dogs do. stories of these events crop[ up in the news media from time to time, truth is the majority of people are bitten by pedigree or owned dogs, so considering the numbers of stray dogs there are in the world then the figure of human deaths is relatively small.
BP: People are telling that there are packs or gang of dogs. They are frightening and barking. I learnt from Steve Goward’s presentation that dogs are not pack animals, they have social groups. What are your thoughts?
Brian Faulkner: I agree with Steve, to a certain extent. Wolves live in packs which is an extended family. Dogs come together, some may be related, many are not, feral dogs are more likely to live as a pack in the true sense. Yes a group of dogs barking can intimidate and frighten some people if they do not understand the dynamics of dog populations.
BP: What is the outline/content about dog catching training? How long does it take? And afterwards what should people do to learn advanced subjects?
Brian Faulkner: A very basic course such as I provide is 3 days, ongoing training may be provided. It is left up to individuals if they wish to learn more about dog behavior etc, which is important if you wish to become an expert.
Brian Faulkner with a Net
BP:How do other countries count stray dogs?
BP: Why is dog catching training important or necessary?
Brian Faulkner: It is necessary to prevent injuries to both catchers and dogs. To understand to use the equipment correctly to minimize pain and stress for the dog and to comply with internationally accepted guidelines as written by the OIE.
Brian Faulkner – at Dogs Trust ITP
BP: Have you ever experienced a reduction in stray dog population after a TNR/CNVR project?
Brian Faulkner: No scientific data as yet but in India and Sri Lanka, where they have many thousand of dogs and a high level of rabies, anecdotal evidence indicates a smaller, more stable dog population and the human deaths from rabies has fallen.
BP: As a dog catcher, which precautions do you apply for yourself?
Brian Faulkner: I am vaccinated against rabies, also if bitten, (I have been bitten, twice in India, once in Thailand) I went for a post exposure booster shot also.
BP: What should a dog catcher know? And which qualifications or characteristics should s/he have?
Brian Faulkner: Empathy for dogs and good common sense.
BP: What is Azerbaycan/Baku doing? How did they contact you? How often are you working together?
Brian Faulkner: I have designed a very modern animal welfare centre/dog and cat shelter for stray dogs, using architects from Istanbul. In Azerbaijan they have been shooting stray dogs, the president ordered it to stop, and his daughter, who I have met initiated this programme. The shelter has taken 2 years to complete, I will be training staff there later this year. This is my second year in Azerbaijan but I have been coming to Azerbaijan on and off for 10 years for various other projects, not all related to stray dog control directly but linked to it.
BP: What are the universal/international standards for catching dogs? Why is it important?
Brian Faulkner: I think I have answered this question already, the standards are the OIE standards of which Turkey is a member of the OIE, see here < http://www.oie.int/doc/ged/D9926.PDF >
BP: Do you love stray dogs, even if they are not purebred?
Brian Faulkner: No I do not love stray dogs, I respect them for what they are and how they survive in difficult circumstances. I love my own dog at home and quite often I come across a stray dog that I take a liking to. You cannot do this job as a dog catcher if you let emotions cloud your judgement, you have to be professional as often you have to make difficult decisions,.
BP: What is your opinion about stray dogs/ mix dogs vs purebreds?
Brian Faulkner: Personally I think stray dogs are more clever than pedigree, they have to be smart to survive.
BP: Anything you’d like to add..
Brian Faulkner: I think I have covered most of this BP. Hope ths is all ok.
BP: Thank you, Brian…