MPD seeks non-lethal animal control tools

Thursday, August 5, 2010
This dog was captured using the Super Talon Animal Capture tool, for which MPD is requesting funding. Photo and video are courtesy Advanced Weapons Technology.

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

See related:

Dog owners question action by Marshall police

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  • $1,500 for a puppy net gun? Tree huggers should be super happy that our town which is always crying poor (aka kids pull a prank and people freak the school paid $1000) will pay $1,500 to use 5 times a year at most!!

    -- Posted by oldschool17 on Thu, Aug 5, 2010, at 3:49 PM
  • I am so far impressed, need to watch the video but sounds positive.

    -- Posted by wheresthelove on Thu, Aug 5, 2010, at 4:41 PM
  • A nice, humane way to catch an animal. This should appease animal lovers, which I consider myself to be. The nets will be useful when trying to catch loose dogs running in the neighborhood. They won't be much use for catching a dog that is actively engaged in attacking a human.

    If you had the choice between intervening when a dog is attacking a child, stepping in and being bitten and you had a gun, would you take the bite or shoot the animal?

    Some of you would intervene and wait for someone to show up with the specialized tools to humanely capture the animal. Some of you would feel so sorry for the dog that you would take the bite.

    Not me.

    -- Posted by red dog on Thu, Aug 5, 2010, at 5:23 PM
  • only after an officer kills a dog

    -- Posted by once_removed on Thu, Aug 5, 2010, at 7:23 PM
  • Looks like Chief Donnell has made a proactive response. Good for him.

    -- Posted by Oklahoma Reader on Thu, Aug 5, 2010, at 10:29 PM
  • Im not going to take a stand on good or bad my opinion dosent matter in this issue. However I would like to say that oldschool17 has a very good point. Most of the people on here wanted Blood over 1000 dollars for a school prank but lets spend 3000 on two net guns to stop dogs that will be put down when we get them into a cage wich will raise cost of the transaction even more????????? Im not doing the books but that dosent seem to come out ahead to me.

    -- Posted by honest opinion on Fri, Aug 6, 2010, at 10:56 AM
  • It seems to me that if all dog owners within the city limits took the responsibility of keeping their dogs on-leash or fenced in at all times when they are outdoors we would have fewer animal problems requiring police action. Period.

    -- Posted by imaloony on Fri, Aug 6, 2010, at 12:09 PM
  • I guess you cannot read... the article stated that way more than half of the strays are adopted...

    As for the net guns versus the bullet slinging gun... my opinion is this, what happens if the animal is charging directly right at the cop AND he has the net gun aimed and ready but misses because the dog sees it coming and dodges... THEN the officer will get bit because he no longer has time to draw a real weapon and aim safely.

    I see the net gun as an over all good thing but COMMON SENSE still has to come into place and most of you all have emotional responses that cause you to be unable to use common sense and SOME of you have inherent Cop Hate syndrome... sad

    -- Posted by mrxray on Fri, Aug 6, 2010, at 6:26 PM
  • Spot on, imaloony!

    I think that shooting a dog should be a last-ditch effort. I would rather see a human shot than a dog.

    -- Posted by Elton and Laura fan on Fri, Aug 6, 2010, at 8:31 PM
  • Do whatever means is necessary to protect human life. If a dog is killed because it is not in control by the owner then tough luck.

    I have had many dogs of which three were German Shepherds. Believe you me it is the responsibility of the owner to train and control that dog. NO EXCUSES. My dogs were under my control most of the time. Even the couple of times my dogs were released accidently they were not agressive. Matter of fact one of the dogs would have run from anybody but the family.

    I believe that the Marshall PD has done a prudent thing in budgeting for the net guns.

    -- Posted by movaldude on Sat, Aug 7, 2010, at 5:05 PM
  • What a waste of money, we spend $3000 on "net guns", but can't give our officers a decent salary?

    -- Posted by mtownresident on Tue, Aug 10, 2010, at 7:40 AM
  • Taxpayers, responsible dog owners, police and yes, even dogs running loose are all victims of irresponsible dog owners, in my opinion.

    I doubt the net gun will be a perfect solution, but then, many real world solutions have some flaws. Perhaps the cost of the guns could be offset by an increase in dog license fees next year. I know that won't be popular, but I think it is practical. Higher fines on pet owners who don't observe dog licensing, leash laws, and other animal control laws might be an ever more practical solution. The burden of this expense should be borne by those most responsible for its need - by the owner(s) of pets in violation of established animal control laws, in my opinion.

    None of the above solutions are perfect, but they're far better than calling in PETA, in my opinion.

    -- Posted by Ray on Tue, Aug 10, 2010, at 10:59 AM
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