Managing animals seized from methamphetamine laboratory busts (Proceedings)
Apr 01, 2010
CVC IN WASHINGTON, D.C. PROCEEDINGS
Methamphetamine, also known as Meth, Speed, Ice, Crystal, Chalk, Crank, Tweak, Uppers, Black Beauties, Glass, Bikers Coffee, Methlies Quick, Poor Man"s Cocaine, Chicken Feed, Shabu, Crystal Meth, Stove Top, Trash, Go-Fast, Yaba and Yellow Bam, is a highly addictive and powerful stimulant drug. Methamphetamine ranks third, behind alcohol and marijuana, in terms of drugs of abuse in the United States, particularly in the Midwestern and Western States.
One factor that may be involved in the popularity of methamphetamine use, besides its highly addictive nature, is the ease of manufacture. While large laboratories (super labs) in Mexico are considered the be source of much of the methamphetamine on the West coast, the majority of methamphetamine is "home grown," produced in either super labs or in relatively small clandestine laboratories (box labs) throughout the United States. These laboratories can be found in virtually any location, including rural areas, residential neighborhoods, commercial properties, and industrial districts. Clandestine laboratories have been found in private residences, hotels, motels, barns, farm outbuildings, outdoors, automobile trunks, boats and luggage.
The types of animals that might be present in a clandestine laboratory during a raid by law enforcement include household pets, livestock, and captive-kept wild animals. Guard dogs are commonly utilized by methamphetamine manufacturers. Animal control officers responding to should be ready for anything: at a Massachusetts methamphetamine laboratory raid, police found alligators guarding the residence!
Seizure of animals during a methamphetamine laboratory raid must be done with care, as the animals themselves may be contaminated and pose a health hazard to those that handle them. In an ideal situation, entry into the "hot zone" will be restricted to those specially trained and equipped to handle hazardous materials and the animals that are seized will be brought out to an area designated for initial decontamination. However, there will be times when animal control officers will be requested to enter the hot zone to remove animals. In these situations, personal safety becomes paramount, as you cannot help the animals if you yourself become injured or ill due to exposure to hazardous chemicals. At the very least protective eye, hand and foot covering should be used. If available, protective jumpsuits (e.g. Tyvek) should also be worn. If toxic fumes are suspected or detected, only professionals possessing suitable respirators should enter the area.