When someone decides to be in the law enforcement profession, they might not necessarily be thinking of having to deal with animals and it is assumed that animals remain within animal welfare agencies and humane society’s purview. Unfortunately, it is not as clear-cut as expected in real life. Calls for service come in and the community that law enforcement serves may have auxiliary family members in the form of companion animals or livestock or may have encounters or conflicts with wildlife. This webinar aims to guide law enforcement in situations when they have to interact with animals.
This session’s instructor is Chris Brosan, Chief of Humane Law Enforcement for the Department of Animal Services in Loudoun County, Virginia. Prior to this role, he’s served as a police officer and the Humane Society of the United States’ Strategic Campaigns and Special Projects Manager.
Specifics of this discussion include:
- Why it is critical for law enforcement to learn about handling animals to keep themselves safe, the animals safe, and agencies safe of risks stemming from these interactions.
- The two primary circumstances that a law enforcement officer may encounter animals in, and the safety concerns in these encounters.
- The importance of animal-related training mandated for law enforcement given the unpredictable nature of animals.
- Preparation, planning, and due diligence
- Forging relationships with experts and resources that can assist on calls involving animals.
- The value in gathering all facts before dispatch to prevent dangerous interactions with animals.
- Leaning into one’s training to remain attentive of the surroundings and other elements in calls that involve animals.
- Staying calm to manage the animals on the scene.
- How one’s body language including eye contact, voice, approach, and body size can influence the interaction with the animal.
- Guidelines and illustrations to recognize animals’ feelings, moods, and level of aggression through their body language, and how to handle them appropriately based on these observations.
- The concept of capture myopathy that may happen on any wildlife due to prolonged handling and stress due to interaction with humans.
- Tips when working wildlife that emphasizes the importance of familiarity with local legislation, resources, partners, and the animals.
- Challenges experienced with increased wildlife presence in urban areas brought about by the pandemic and the ‘baby’ season.
- Pointers about rabies – how it affects the animals, contracting and transmission, human infection, and human deaths due to rabies.
- The value in education, partnership with experts, and knowledge of laws involving exotic wildlife including snakes.
- A rundown of the use of force progression for animals and useful tools for law enforcement should they be faced with animals during calls for service.
Questions from the audience were about:
- Best practices when approaching a horse.
- Encouraging agencies to seek more training for interactions with animals.
- Handling the media coverage particularly the release of body cam footage for fatal animal encounters.
- Use of catchpoles and SprayShield.
- “Thank you for your expertise! The various tools for the toolbox are invaluable. Please consider sharing this presentation again in the future. Educating more people will be a win-win situation for the animals and us!” — Roseann
- “I was surprised to learn how few deaths were attributed to dog attacks over time. It puts things in a better perspective.” — Carmen
- “How to approach different animals and how to attempt to handle aggressive situations with animals — Christopher
- “This was by far the best webinar I have attended. I am highly trained in animal handling and even I found it highly informative. I think every law enforcement officer should watch this. Chris Brosan has been the best presenter I’ve heard as well.” — Gina
- “Very true to life work-related incidents where common sense can be key. I’m always looking for new and improved methods of handling animals as safe but efficiently as was shown in this webinar.” — Melodee
- “An excellent class, I didn’t know a lot of things. Everything discussed was very valuable to me. Thank you.” — Lidai
- “Mr. Brosan is a great presenter. Using an umbrella to keep distance from or jab at a dog is a great idea. Although I do not interact with livestock at work or in my personal life, I enjoyed learning about their vision and body stance. Thank you for a great training.” — Nancy
- “Excellent webinar topic and speaker. A must for Police Academy.” — Robert