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Concern over Lancashire Police use of tasers on animals
7:00pm Saturday 17th August 2013 in News
AN ANIMAL charity said it had ‘serious welfare concerns’ after it was revealed police used tasers on animals, including a runaway bull.
It comes after Lancashire Police revealed it had deployed the restraining method on 13 animals between 2010 and 2013.
In the majority of cases, tasers were used out-of-control dogs.
However in one instance, a taser was used to re-capture a bull which had escaped in Blackburn town centre.
The calf was on the loose because its trailer overturned in Barbara Castle Way.
It suffered a minor injury because of the accident and a vet was called to assess the animal for taser after-effects and treat it.
Officers said they would only use tasers, which emit an electrical current to stun the target, if there was a risk to public safety or the well-being of the animal.
But the RSPCA said it believed there were other, better, techniques which should be used when dealing with loose animals.
A spokesman for the charity said: “The RSPCA has serious animal welfare concerns about the use of tasers and believes there are other more effective and easier options available when handling aggressive animals.
"Where a taser has been used, the RSPCA expects its use to be fully justified and all other options exhausted."
Lancashire Police was unable to confirm exactly where the 12 other uses of taser guns had occurred.
However, Burnley magistrates heard in 2012 how a pit-bull type dog was tasered twice in Nelson when it attacked a spaniel owner.
The incident resulted in Stephen Taylor needing a three-hour operation for injuries to his hand.
A police spokesman said: “We will assess each individual situation on its own merits and where there is a risk to public safety and/or a risk to the animal then taser will be considered as an option.
“Any officer will make a decision within national guidelines and taser will only be used if it is deemed to be the most appropriate course of action.”
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