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Control measure

Physical control or restraint of the animal

Control measure knowledge

It may be necessary to control or restrain the animal using physical methods; this may need to be carried out in conjunction with chemical restraint methods.

Physical control or restraint may be essential in some situations, for example:

  • To prevent worsening of an incident, especially if human life or safety is involved
  • To enable an entrapped animal to be released
  • To remove the animal from a place of danger to a place of safety
  • To prevent injury to emergency responders
  • When administering first aid to the animal

Before attempting to physically gain control or restraint of an animal, the activity should be risk assessed, including the following considerations:

  • The species, size and behaviour of the animal
  • The impact on the animal in terms of potential injury or distress
  • The environment
  • The resources and equipment available

Physically controlling or restraining an animal may include using equipment such as:

  • Muzzles
    • May be purpose-made or improvised, and often used for dogs
    • Assessment of the animal will determine the type of muzzle required
  • Slip leads
    • Can be used to control a non-aggressive dog
    • Can be used as a pair, one from each side of the animal, (known as double leading) to provide additional control
  • Rigid leads or graspers
    • Should be used if the behaviour of a dog is unknown
    • Can be used for some wild animals, such as foxes and badgers
    • Can be used as a pair to provide additional control
  • Snake tongs or graspers
    • Can be used to capture and restrain snakes and other animals, such as cats
  • Nets
    • Can be used for many species of smaller animals, but need to be suitable for the size and strength of the animal
    • May be of a traditional hoop, triangle or square type
    • Other types, such as throw nets or ‘walk toward’ nets can be used
  • Extension poles
    • Lightweight, interlocking, aluminium poles that can provide additional reach when controlling or restraining an animal
    • Capture or restraining equipment, such as graspers or nets, can be attached to the extension poles
  • Towels, cloths or blankets
    • May be purpose-made or improvised, and can assist with the capture and control of a range of smaller animals and deer
    • Covering the head or eyes may calm some species
  • Halters
    • May be purpose-made or improvised, and are mainly used to control the head of larger domesticated animals, or if the animal is being chemically restrained
    • Can be used for smaller livestock such as goats, sheep and young bovines
  • Head collars
    • Purpose-made devices, in a range of sizes, primarily for the head control of equines

Strategic actions

Fire and rescue services should:
  • Consider providing equipment appropriate for physically controlling or restraining an animal

Tactical actions

Incident commanders should:
  • Consider using appropriate methods or equipment to physically control or restrain the animal