Part 1 of 4. Net Description and Added Tools
Nets can be a very humane and effective way of catching street dogs. They are a versatile tool for animal control officers, disaster responders, those rescuing hoarding cases, and spay/neuter programs (ABC programs in India). A net can also be a valuable tool for handling fearful dogs in animal shelters – yes for dogs too, not just cats!
Yet there is no information available on how to use a net successfully and humanely. Here at the Feral Dog Blog I will provide you this rare and valuable information. In addition to netting I am introducing and encouraging people to use a Y pole (when there are at least 2 people) and a towel. Learn more later.
In this a four part blog article, I will describe:
– Which nets and what specifications to look for.
– Tools to use with the nets such as the Y pole and towel to make the catch more professional and humane
– How to catch a dog running along a wall or fence.
– What to Do but also how to Be so the dog is more likely to come by you
– How to practice before catching dogs. And it’s fun too!
– How to catch a resting or sleeping dog
– Other applications for netting street dogs
– Carrying a dog in the net
– Netting dogs in the animal shelter? Yes!
The nets we use for dogs are called salmon nets (i.e. large fishing nets) and in the United States the most popular nets are made by Beckman and Frabill. The nets for catching dogs should have a very large diameter hoop frame. The large salmon nets have a circumference of about 112 inches (285 centimeters) and is about 36 inches (91cm) across. The best shape for the hoop frame for catching dogs is one that is flat along the top edge such as the one in the photo. A flat edge is better for catching dogs that are running along a wall. And when setting the net over a sleeping dog a flat top edge will lay flat against the ground. The handle for these salmon nets are about 4 feet long (1.2 meters) and the handles slide up and across the hoop frame to take up less space when not in use.
The best netting I have found for dog nets is a heavy blue double ply netting material that is sold in India and most animal welfare groups working with AWBI will know where to buy this material. In the US, Frabill has a tangle-free thicker netting that is also good.
The netting should be 4-5 feet (1.2-1.5 m) deep so you can twist the net after you catch the dog. This twisting is important because it prevents the dog from escaping and makes a tight wrap around the dog to decrease his struggling.
Although most people use nets by themselves, they are more effective and humane when adding a Y pole (if you have a second person) and a towel.
The Y Pole
I hope you have heard about the Y Pole by now! Read my article about the Y pole in HSUS Sheltering Magazine. I am introducing it to the animal welfare community and hope it becomes a common necessity among animal shelters. Add them to your shelter – I will help you all along the way. (I digress.) The Y pole is also a great tool to use with nets to reduce the time the dog struggles in the net after being caught. The Y pole is placed on the twist of the net and not on the dog. See Part 2 for more details.
Stressed dogs are far more relaxed when they are covered with a towel. After the dog is caught in the net, twist the net quickly and get the dog to relax. Yes you may be in a hurry, but stop and relax and let the dog relax. Put a towel over it’s head and let things settle. Softly and compassionately touch and pet the dog if it does not make it more upset. Most dogs want to know you are compassionate. Keep the towel over the dog when you are carrying it in the net. The towel is better for the dog – reducing stress and literally lowering his heart rate. It is better for you because the animal cannot follow your hands with his eyes so it reduces biting. It is also better for your organization because a towel over the dog looks more compassionate – and is.
Coming soon. Part 2 of 4. Catching a Running Dog Along a Fence
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