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Breaking Up Fights SOP 1

The purpose of this sample standard operating procedure is to have a protocol for staff and volunteers to separate fighting dogs as quickly as possible while minimizing risk to handlers.

EQUIPMENT & SUPPLIES NEEDED

Leashes, high-pressure hose or water buckets, citronella spray, kevlar gloves, break stick.

PROCEDURE

Try the following interventions in order.  If the intervention doesn’t work within the first 3 seconds, move on to the next method.

The Leash Pull Apart

If the dogs are dragging leashes, two handlers should each grasp the end of a leash without placing their bodies close to either dog’s head, and pull the dogs apart.  When reaching for the end of the leash, bend away from the dogs.

Water

If dogs are not dragging leashes or you can’t reach them safely, spray water on the dogs’ faces with a hose, or dump a bucket of water over them. Once the dogs have stopped fighting, move them away from each other using leashes (lasso with slip leads if not wearing leashes), or the handstand pull apart (see below) if necessary.

Citronella

Spray citronella near or on the dogs’ faces. Once the dogs have stopped fighting, move them away from each other using leashes (lasso with slip leads if not wearing leashes), or the handstand pull apart if necessary.

Handstand

If the dogs still do not separate, two handlers should put on kevlar gloves and separate the dogs using the handstand pull apart: each handler grasps a dog firmly by the hips in front of the hind legs, and pulls back and up to move the dogs apart.  

Break Stick

If a dog is holding on to another with his mouth, one handler should grab hold of the “latching” dog’s collar/harness and insert the tapered end of a break stick into the side of the dog’s mouth behind the canines. Twist the break stick (like throttling a motorcycle) to open the dog’s jaws, then immediately pull the latching dog away from the other dog. A second handler should be prepared to immediately move the other dog away using a leash or handstand. 

DOCUMENTATION PROCESS

When a fight occurs, the incident should be recorded and reported following your shelter or rescue's policies for documenting incidents. Record which dogs were involved, if there were any triggers that could have been avoided (ex: resource guarding), and any injuries. If you do not have an incident report form or if the existing form for your organization does not incorporate details about dog fights, see this sample Fight Incident Report which can be used to supplement your organization's documentation procedures.  

Example List of Documents:

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