July 26, 2010
Many communities are considering equipping their animal control and other front-line officers with electro-muscular disruptive devices (EMDD) or TASER® devices. However there is a lack of credible data on their safety and effectiveness in animal control situations. With this lack of data in mind the National Animal Control Association (NACA) developed a policy on the use of EMDDs in 2005 (revised 2006).2
Use of Electro Muscular Disruption Device (EMDD) on Animals2
In the fall of 2009 NACA reviewed its policy and changed it to read:
Personnel Training and Safety – Use of Electro Muscular Disruption Device (EMDD) on Animals2Guideline StatementThe use of any EMDD (more commonly known by trade name "Taser") is not recommended by NACA for use on animals for routine capture or restraint. EMDD's may be used as a defensive tool to provide an Animal Control Officer with non-lethal force in response to aggressive humans or dogs in accordance with agency training, policies and procedures. EMDD's should never be used on cats or other small animals.Basis for GuidelineNACA recognizes the use of certain weapons originally designed for human restraint may cause serious injury or death to animals in situations of normal use. There is no current data to support the use of any EMDD on animals for routine capture or restraint. NACA does not support the use of these instruments in normal animal control activities. The use of such equipment may lead to serious liability.Guideline RecommendationNACA does not recommend the use of any EMDD for routine capture or restraint of animals. Use of an EMDD should only be approved after the Animal Control Officer has been CERTIFIED in species specific training that includes deployment which includes humane veterinary care treatment provisions. The EMDD protocol should include a prohibition on use against cats and other small animals."
Oleoresin capsicum is derived from an inflammatory substance found in cayenne peppers. Oleoresin capsicum ("pepper" or "OC") sprays appear to be a less-than-lethal option for repelling attacks of captive wildlife7 and aggressive dogs.8,9 Pepper sprays work by irritating the ocular and respiratory membranes, which distracts or debilitates the attacker.7 Some highly motivated animals may not be sufficiently incapacitated by the physiological effects of pepper spray and may be able to ignore the associated pain.7 Training and policies for use of pepper sprays should be provided to staff prior to issuing products for use.7 When selecting a product, it is important to consider the effective spray distance, spray pattern, duration of spray, quantity of oleoresin capsicum in spray, canister size and any safety features.7
FOOTNOTESa M26, TASER®, and ADVANCED TASER®, are trademarks of TASER international, Inc., registered in the U.S. All rights reserved.
REFERENCES1. Bleetman, A., Steyn, R., and Lee, C. Introduction of the Taser into British policing. Implications for UK emergency departments: an overview of electronic weaponry. Emerg Med J. 2004; 21:136-140.2. National Animal Control Association. Personnel Training and Safety – Use of Electro Muscular Disruption Device (EMDD) on Animals. Available at: http://www.nacanet.org/guidelines.html#emdd Accessed January 25, 2010.3. An act concerning animal control officers, amending various parts of the statutory law, and supplementing Title 4 of the Revised Statutes. Pub L 1941. c.151 (C.4:19-15.1). 9 Sep 1997. Available at: http://www.njleg.state.nj.us/9697/Bills/PL97/247_.PDF Accessed February 2, 2010.4. An act amending title 22 (Detectives and Private Police) of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, further providing for society police officers' appointment, qualifications, authority and discipline; conferring powers and duties on the Department of Agriculture; establishing the Humane Society Police Officer Advisory Board and making a related repeal. 22 Pa.C.S. Printer's no. 1940. 15 Nov 2004. Available at: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/CFDOCS/Legis/PN/Public/btCheck.cfm?txtType=PDF&sessYr=2003&sessInd=0&billBody=S&billTyp=B&billNbr=0871&pn=1940 Accessed February 2, 2010.5. Health and safety code Title 10 Health and safety of animals Chapter 829 Animal control officer training. 80th leg R.S. Ch 1331, Sec 1. 1 Sept 2007. Available at: http://www.dshs.state.tx.us/idcu/health/zoonosis/education/training/aco/manual/information/829law.pdf Accessed February 2, 2010.6. National Animal Control Association. NACA Training Academy. Available at: http://www.nacanet.org/training.html Accessed February 2, 2010.7 Miller, D.S. Review of oleoresin capsicum (pepper) sprays for self-defense against captive wildlife. Zoo Biol. 2001;20:389-398.8 Edwards, S.M., Granfield, J. and Onnen, J. Evaluation of pepper spray. U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice Research in Brief. 1997(feb):1-8.9 Morabito, E.V. and Doerner, W.G. Police use of less-than-lethal force:oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray. PIJPSM. 1997;20(4):680-697.