Animal control to use chemicals for catching

Published 6:16 pm Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Lunenburg County Animal Control is securing the necessary approval to start using a tranquilizer rifle to capture animals.

The department recently completed a drill exercise supervised by a local veterinarian’s office that also helped develop a protocol for when the procedure is used. Animal control practiced by using the tranquilizer on two dogs, including one that was going to be put down.

“It’s all humane,” County Administrator Tracy Gee said. “The veterinarian was right there.”

Supervisor T. Wayne Hoover said the device looks like a .22-gauge shotgun and is used to tranquilize an animal down from 50-60 yards. He noted the dosage used to take down the animal is based on weight.

Supervisor Frank Bacon said the tranquilizer keeps animal control personnel from having to get so close to capture an animal.

“It gives you a little protection,” he said.

Training is needed because “it’s a controlled substance used to subdue humans,” Hoover said. The training includes “providing adequate post-capture care,” and “anesthetic monitoring,” notes the protocol.

Because of their potency, the darts — whether they hit the target or not — must always be retrieved, Gee said.