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Wardens trained to take on rise in animal encounters

Animal wardens train up in safe lifting and loading techniques (Photograph supplied)

Animal control officers have been trained to safely tackle aggressive dogs — against a backdrop of increasing canine attacks on the island.

The four staff from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources animal control section took the specialised basic animal control officer certification course from the Animal Control and Care Academy in the United States.

The Ministry of Home Affairs highlighted that from 2021-23, records showed a doubling of complaints leading to the collection of one or more animals — showing the need for more formal training.

The number of live animals seized tripled, as did complaints of chasing or threatening behaviour.

Euthanising of animals doubled, along with reports involving biting or injury to a person — while cases where an animal was injured almost doubled.

The 40 hours of carefully researched training was based on real-life experiences and included officer safety and protection; canine behaviour and aggressive dogs; safe handling and capture; and the use of restraint equipment.

Wardens explored links between animal offences and drug offences, and between animal cruelty and domestic violence, as they became better equipped to take on the island’s rising number of dog-related incidents.

Animal control officers are also tasked with identifying and protecting victims of child, spousal and elder abuse — requiring an officer from the Ministry of Youth, Social Development and Seniors to take part.

Walter Roban, the home affairs minister, congratulated the team.

He said the course aligned with “the Government's commitment to addressing the rising number of dog-related incidents in our country and one of the many ways we will manage it”.

“The public will also be aware that the Canine Advisory Committee, representing stakeholders from the SPCA, Bermuda Kennel Club, various dog trainers and a private veterinary practitioner, is actively working on how to address the issues involving dogs in our community.

“While eagerly awaiting their recommendations, I want to encourage the public to do their part and be responsible dog owners."

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Published April 22, 2024 at 5:42 pm (Updated April 23, 2024 at 7:26 am)

Wardens trained to take on rise in animal encounters

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