As a customer service representative for a major stun gun supply company, hardly a day goes by that I am not asked about stun guns and their effectiveness on animals. There is an evident need for these people to control unwanted advances from aggressive dogs. It’s a complicated issue and I don’t want to recommend a product designed for the nervous and musculature system of humans. Here are some things to keep in mind if you want to go this route.
First of all, there are products on the market specifically designed to control canine aggression. Mace Security makes a product called Muzzle Dog Repellent that is EPA approved. It is a pepper spray product that can spray up to 10 feet. Pepper spray (OC) is a known effective tearing agent that works in most cases. Some individuals, and canines by extension, can “fight through” the effects so it can not be considered effective in all cases.
Another product to consider is the Super Dog Chaser. This small hand held unit uses two ways to repel a dog. One is a discomforting high frequency sound above the range of human hearing. The second is a super bright LED flashing strobe that temporarily confuses the dog. The manufacturer claims effectiveness up to 40 feet.
I can find no peer reviewed controlled study that examines the effectiveness of stun guns on animals. There is some anecdotal evidence that suggests that the devise may produce the desired effect on canines at least in some situations. Adam Katz, owner of dogproblems.com, recommends the stun gun. “If you see a stray or unleashed dog approaching you, press the button a couple times,” he says. “We’ve found that the electrical charge hits ultra high frequency sound waves that only the dog can hear. About 50% of the dogs would immediately turn tail and run away.” He says that if the dog gets any closer, use the stun gun.
The Times Herald-Record of April 13, 2006 details the use of a TASER gun by a Monroe, NY police officer to subdue two attacking pit bulls on a golf course. The dogs which escaped from their home had been menacing golfers at the Monroe Country Club and golfers were left defending themselves using golf clubs. The officer zapped the dogs twice forcing the dogs to return home.
In another incident, Police officers in the UK armed with a stun gun tasered a dog after it was reported to have turned on its owner in Blackburn, Lancashire. The dog, thought to be a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, is said to have attacked its 45 year old owner who was out walking it at the time on Sunday. Ambulance staff arrived at the scene to treat the woman’s injuries but withdrew after the dog attacked them. A police officer arrived at the scene armed with the Taser device and stunned the dog before approaching it and tying it up and taking it to a Lancashire police station. The dog’s owner was treated for her injuries in the hospital for leg wounds. Police or paramedics did not suffer any injuries in the incident.
The stun baton is perhaps the ideal stun gun weapon to use on a dog. The cattle prod, a progenitor of the modern stun baton, has been used for decades to control farm animals. The stun baton’s 16-22 inch length enables an application with the arm outstretched. Standard rectangular stun guns top out at about 9 inches tall and require very close contact to the animal that could pose a danger to the user. Most stun batons emit an electrical charge along the upper part of the exposed shaft. So even if you can’t employ the tip, a strike of the baton’s shaft to an animal’s flank would be just as effective.
The disclaimer here is that no study has been conducted to ascertain the effects and safety of stun guns on animals. Until more is known, I recommend using a stun baton under 1million volts. Don’t use the device in a prolonged manner. If a 3-5 second application produces no effect, a longer one won’t be any more effective.
We recommend that walkers who would likely encounter aggressive dogs also carry canine pepper spray and the Super Dog Chaser device. If one method proves ineffective on a particular animal, the other may. Before purchasing a stun gun or pepper spray, check your state’s regulations as some restrict the use of these devices.