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Dr. Mark R. Johnson built his wildlife veterinary practice and reputation on the humane, respectful treatment of animals through countless capture and handling field operations. Among his experiences, he was Project Veterinarian for the U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s reintroduction of gray wolves to Yellowstone National Park, and served as Yellowstone Park’s wildlife vet for four years.
Expanding on his work with wild species, Dr. Johnson became involved in helping feral animals and the human communities in which they exist. He now teaches courses and provides field assistance around the world, from American Indian reservations to locations in the Caribbean and Puerto Rico. After Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Johnson helped with domestic animal rescue in New Orleans, and he traveled to India in a collaboration with Vets Beyond Borders and the Animal Welfare Board of India to provide training in the humane capture of feral dogs.
Dr. Johnson has taught courses for the USFWS National Conservation Training Center, and is an Affiliate Faculty of the University of Montana. In addition to peer-reviewed journal articles and other publication credits, he was the primary author of the official training manual for wildlife chemical immobilization for USDA Wildlife Services. Dr. Johnson lives with his wife, Elizabeth, in Hamilton, Montana not far from Yellowstone National Park. They enjoy hiking, kayaking, organic gardening, and supporting the practices of sustainable communities.
Training in Humane Dog Capture and Handling
There is a great need for training in catching and handling street dogs in a humane and compassionate way throughout the world. In places like India and Asia, and Africa feral dog populations are out of control and rabies is a common risk to children and adults. It is estimated that there are over 55,000 human deaths due to dog rabies and children are most susceptible. Trap/Neuter/Release with rabies vaccination is an essential tool. But because animal handlers in these regions often lack critical skills and tools, feral dog captures are frequently unsuccessful and unsafe. Harsh dog handling leads to animal suffering, injuries and death, and handlers themselves are physically and emotionally stressed and often bitten. Even in the U.S., training in humane, compassionate, calm and effective dog capture and handling is limited.
Dr. Mark Johnson has developed conscientious and caring tools and techniques for humane dog handling and is teaching courses around the world. But there are only so many programs and students he can reach by traveling. He wishes to share these tools, skills, and caring attitudes with spay-neuter programs across the globe and so has created the Feral Dog Blog, YouTube Channel GWRFeralDogs, the free Training Library, and this website.
Dr. Mark’s goal with GWR is to reduce human and animal suffering around the world.
We will do this by
2) Producing training videos for animal shelters, captive wolf facilities, and spay/neuter/programs around the world.
3) Collaborating with rabies eradication programs around the world to provide translated training materials for vaccination and spay/neuter programs that is practical and effective to specific regions and cultures.
4) Training animal shelters throughout North American about the Y pole to see the benefits in reducing the use of snare poles in animal shelters and using the Y pole more compassionate and safer handling of fearful dogs.
5) Bringing pride and purpose to animal handlers in spay/neuter programs around the world to empower these often unappreciated workers by creating a safer environment for both animals and people, and teaching handlers how to develop a respectful and caring relationship and connection with the animals they handle.