MPD seeks non-lethal animal control tools
After the outcry on the Democrat-News forum following a story on a recent shooting of a dog by Marshall Police, Chief Mike Donnell said he has been looking into purchasing two non-lethal guns that fire nets to catch animals.
The specialized guns use air to launch 16 foot nets with weighted edges to catch animals.
"The purchase is in our budget request," Donnell said.
The nets -- sold under the brand name "Super Talon Animal Catcher" -- will give Marshall Police an additional option when faced with aggressive animal calls, Donnell said.
Despite the uproar surrounding the recent shooting of Paca, a boxer who was off-leash, Marshall Police have only shot three dogs since 2007. In 2007, Donnell said, the dog's owner asked the police to shoot the aggressive pitbull in order to save the other dog.
In 2009, MPD responded to 1,225 calls for service related to animal issues. Those calls resulted in 49 reports with 33 being for animal bites; 13 animal attacks, which is when an animal attacks another animal; one animal at large; one animal cruelty and one animal neglect. In 2009, there were no animals shot by MPD.
The department picked up 558 dogs and 470 cats in 2009, Donnell said. "We adopted 89 percent of the dogs and 81 percent of the cats."
Through Aug. 1, 2010, MPD responded to 615 calls for service on animal issues. Those calls resulted in 28 reports with 21 animal bite reports, five animal attacks reports and two animal-at-large reports. Four members of the police department have been bitten by animals this year.
So far in 2010, MPD has picked up 389 dogs and 299 cats.
Donnell said the statistics showed that his officers did not go around shooting animals arbitrarily.
"My officers are dog owners," he said. "They don't want to shoot dogs."
If the Super Talon Animal Catcher's are approved in coming MDP budget, Marshall officers will have two additional tools when faced with animals.
"Once we have a dog netted," Donnell said. "We can bring in a veterinarian to sedate it."
The Super Talons are expected to cost about $1,500 each and if approved, officers will be able to begin training with them in October or November.
Contact Pat Nolan at
Dog owners question action by Marshall police