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I WRITE in response to Michael Stevenson's letter (VR, March 19, 2011, vol 168, p 309) regarding the veterinary handling and restraint of dogs deemed to be ‘dangerous’. Being myself heavily involved in the assessment, in terms of both conformation and behaviour, of dogs seized under the Dangerous Dogs Act, I welcomed the move to allow suitably trained police officers to control dogs by the use of sedative-loaded darts to obviate the need for other more violent methods of control. Such methods include Tasers, capsaicin pepper (PAVA) sprays, electric shields, noose dog catchers, fire extinguishers, and ultimately, if all else fails, the marksman's rifle. Although at present deemed to be necessary to ensure public safety, as Mr Stevenson points out, such methods are in reality far more likely to provoke canine fear and retaliation, and hence substantially increase the risk of defensive ‘attack’, to all who have to handle such dogs.
The welfare of …