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— City employee Mike Barnett earned his animal control certification and chemical capture certification through the Arkansas State Animal Control Association on Sept. 18.

Barnett serves as the city's animal control officer and is also in charge of the parks and streets departments.

He took classes in safe animal handling and capture techniques, snake identification, basic animalfirst aid, ticket and affidavit writing, zoonosis, bite prevention, chemical capture, court room procedures, sanitation and a number of animal cruelty classes.

Barnett said one of the most interesting things he learned during the course was how rabies is actually spread. An animal does not have to bite another animal or human to transmit the disease, it is spread from contact with the animal's saliva to an open wound, or contact with the eyes, mouth and nose, he said.

"People in Decatur don't realize what a problem rabies is because we've never had an outbreak in this area " Barnett said.

With his chemical capture certification, Barnett will also be able to use tranquilizer darts to catch and subdue dangerous animals. It will help him deal with vicious dogs or animals that are hard to catch. He also learned techniques for catching all kinds of other animals, including wild animals.

News, Pages 1 on 09/30/2009

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