Thursday, 6 November 2008

The Dangerous Dog

I decided to put up about a dangerous dog incident l was involved with at the start of the year. The dogs behaviour is not unusual for what is faced when we get calls for dangerous dogs, if anything the animals are getting worse not better.
Several times we have been told the ARV have been activated but as far as l know our drivers have managed to get the animals before they were needed. I am sure it will come soon though the way things are going.

There was a phone call about 1am from the police for a pit bull that was locked in a bedroom and out of control. The owner had been arrested just before new year, he had been bailed that day, about 5 days later. Normally people inform the police that they have animals and the animals are taken into care, this cretin did not think to do so.
He had gone home via a bar and at about midnight tried to break into his own house. A neighbour heard him breaking in and rang the police. The cretin tried to take a swing at them and got a nice pair of shiny bracelts, the neighbour mentioned the dog. There was no point getting the cretin to try and catch it as he couldn’t handle it and was scared of it, hence wanting it put down.
He signed a handwritten consent for destruction order and was hauled off someplace deep, dark, smelly and full of cockroaches (well ok, it would be nice if he was thrown into a place like that).

The vet asked me to go with the driver P. (same driver as the “Midnight Snake Hunt” episode). He said it would be safer and easier to put it down at the house than taking it back wards and forwards from the house and then putting it down back at work.
I loaded up with a bottle of rompun (sedative) a lot of needles, big syringes and a bottle of pentobarb (to put the dog down with).

By the time we got there someone had tazered the dog and managed to get it into the human cage section in a police van. This was a mixed blessing. We did not have to try and grab him in an open space like a bedroom, but he was now round and pumped up on adrenaline. Had he been left in the bedroom he may have been easier to handle. That however is an unknown and the situation was now the one to deal with.
He was not happy, in fact it was fair to say he was murderous. About 30kg to 40 kg of mainly pitbull possibly crossed at some point with bull mastiff, mind you that was immaterial, he wanted, and was fully able to kill.
I did check up if l should take it back into work with the van following us but the vet was just going into a major op, l was told stick to plan A.

The van the dog was in had a cage affair at the back. The inner door was a slider and the outer (back) was an standard pull open door. It made life easier, the door could be slid slightly open for P. and the police dog handler that was also there to try and get their dog grabs on the dog. Sliding meant he could not slam into it like an exocet missile and get the door open.
When they had their front end sorted I was to open the back door and inject him while they held him.

Simple enough except the dog had worked out dog grabs. He ducked his head, swung his body around, opened his mouth and grabbed the loops, slammened into the doors and made clear he was not stupid enopugh to get caught.
He also got his jaws onto all 3 metal dog catching poles at various times that P. and the dog handler had between them. They were mangled, that necessitated emergency fixing.
And a quick prayer from me, that when they did grab him he would not break free, swing and get me when l shoved a syringe of Rompun into him.

Some plod (none to bright) muttered tazers. P. and l heard him, l have an idea that my snarl and and P. comment made him think that maybe the pitbull was not as angry as we would be if they did that to it again.
The poor dog was in for a bad enough end as it was, we were dammed if it was going to be made worse. No dignity here as it was, anger and fear were the way he was going to die. No one, was going to add the pain of tazers to that.

It took a good 3/4hour of fighting to get the loops onto him. By now there seemed to be a hell of a lot of police standing round, they must have had a boring night, or wanted to see someone eaten.

I pulled open the door, eyeing the loops on the dog catchers to see if they looked secure. I planted about 8ml+ of Romun into his backside as best as l could, given that his backside was moving all over as he fought to get free of the grabs and get to me he came off the needle a couple of times and l needed to reinject.
I backed off and locked the door, he broke out of the loops at about the same point. There is a god! He let me get out the van and shut the door first.

We sat back and waited, 20 min. later there was no sign of any effect he was so pumped up with everything. I rang the vet to confirm worth giving more as usually there is no point on adding as it won’t have an effect. The message passed back was go for it given what was happening another dose may or may not work, but unless tried we wouldn’t know.

This time it took about 10min to get the dog, not sure if it was a slight slowing down on his part or just better aim with the grabbers. I put in several more mls of Rompun in and thankfully he did not get off the grabbers this time.

By now he had had a huge dose of sedative and we sat waiting. The reason l did not use the pentobarb straight off is that if something had gone wrong and l self injected or injected someone by accident if the dog got free while l was trying to get the needle in then l would rather not be using a drug that can kill.

Finally about 20min later he went down enough that when the grabbers went onto him he chomped at them but did not stand up. Now there was no point in top up’s of Rompun and it was time for the final injection.
I decided that veins were out of the question. I could not get anyone to raise one l wouldn’t risk that, and my tornique was no good as he was to concious. Trouble was l could not leave it longer in case he started to fight off effects off the drug. I opted for an injection into the kidney. Due to the blood volume going through the kidneys it can be better than a vein. On dogs they can be hard to find if they are fat but his build made it easy. In under a minute he had died.

It was so bloody undignified and scary for him. I wished eternal hell and damnation on the owner, yes the dog was dangerous but only thanks the human race.
Not all pitbulls are nasty, it is just that they are generally owned by people who have them to prove how tough they are. In fact l belive that the dog that holds the most championship medals for various tests about 17 is a pitbull. The championship medals include hearding ducks and cattle, searching in fact a whole gamut of tests.
The dangerous dog in question could have been and often is a German Shepherd, a Rotweiller or any other full or even cross breed. So long as it is big, nasty, unmanagable and has big teeth it uses then the &*%$** are happy.
The other type of dangerous dog is owned by a well meaning nice family who do not understand dogs, have self trained it, if any training was done on the dog and it turns on them or someone.

P. had just got back to work after an operation and was not going to try and help lift the body to our van, I would not have been happy had he tried. This left the 15 or so police (all males) standing round watching and chatting.
I considered asking for help but decided that as none was a gentleman enough to stepforward and offer to help l was dammed if l would ask for help.

I picked the dog up carried him to our van and placed him down as gently as l could. It did not matter, he was dead, somehow it seemed the best l could offer him after all he had been through.


Dave the Dog said...

Hi Vetnurse

Found your blog at the weekend. Been enjoying it, thanks.

Good story well described. Been there many times.

In my area it's usually us who the Police stand behind when there is a dog involved. It used to be a standing joke that they prefered the protection of our wooly pullies to their own armour. (We've since got our own body armour but don't wear it much, I prefer to be mobile)

The pitbull you mention belonged to Dianne Jessup who is/was an Animal Control Officer in the USA.

She held about 17 world records as you mention, for herding, sheep, gouts, ducks, geese etc., and also for manwork, tracking, search work, weight pulling and so on. She has also had her dogs used in films.

Nice reading you, keep up the good word ;o)

Whichendbites said...

Nice post. Thanks for the link.

Vetnurse said...

Hi Dave and Whichendbites. Thanks for the comments dare l say chuffed at having my first comments left :-)

Thanks for the link Dave on Diannel have added it. I have tried googling it in the past but no luck so could only put up what my dimming memory remembered.