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Laser as animal repellent?

inch

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Hi, I may need to apologise for being a n00b but it looks like you guys are the best people to ask for advice - and advice that it doesn't seem easy to find on this forum or several other places I've tried.

I'm wondering whether it's possible, or worthwhile, to build or buy a laser device to repel animals. Let me explain...

As part of my job, I run charity cycling tours. I take groups of cyclists on bicycles across long distances, usually in foreign countries. We pass through amazing countryside and are sometimes far from civilisation. I and my team are responsible for looking after the cyclists, ensuring their health, safety, protection, maintaining their bicycles and of course making sure they get to their overnight accommodation or the finish line.

One of the problems we prepare for in some parts of Africa and India is wild rabid dogs. For some reason, cyclists seem to attract dog attacks from time to time, and rabies is a serious risk in some areas. I usually cycle near the front of the group and I'll sometimes carry a stick with me to either wave at the dogs to scare them off, or in some cases to strike the dogs if they get too close. However, as you'll probably appreciate, dealing with a rabid dog snapping at your legs while trying to pedal away fast and keep concentration on what are often very rough roads is a real challenge!

After a nasty attack in March where we had to evacuate one lady to a hospital 60 miles away for treatment, we tried to think of better ways of repelling the dogs. Although in some countries some of the ground staff may carry firearms, this is very rare, the weapons are generally kept well away from the participants, and we really don't want to deal with the extra dangers of trying to shoot the dogs while they're attacking cyclists. Plus, as we and most of our cyclists are British, we're a lot less used to having guns around and very few people are trained or experienced in using them.

I never want to cause harm to an animal unnecessarily, but as rabies is a dangerous and possibly fatal disease, and these dogs will bite if they can - they're wild - I think striking the dogs to prevent them biting me or my cyclists is justified. The locals will view the dogs as vermin and freely kill them, but I want to prevent as much suffering as possible and find a relatively humane way to protect my cyclists while deterring attacks.

I was wondering whether it would be feasible to build or buy some sort of laser torch to repel the creatures. Maybe a strobed laser with a relatively wide beam spread to temporarily dazzle or stun them while we cycle past. Is there any history of this sort of thing? I know one user on here asked about trying to repel bears and it was generally agreed that that was a bad idea, but I wondered whether it would be more possible with dogs, as the attacks, although ferocious, tend to be opportunistic and the creatures are scared away relatively easily. I don't know which frequencies and pulses are best for dazzling, or whether it's possible to construct something that causes a shock of pain without causing lasting damage.

I have, of course, read a lot of the safety information and guidelines. As I'm primarily responsible for the safety of my cyclists, I'm not going to consider pointing the thing anywhere near humans and I'd like to know what you think the risks would be from reflections off puddles or pieces of broken glass. I'm prepared to do a fair amount of research on this, although it may be more cost- and time-effective to ask someone with the right building experience, and the right equipment, to assemble something for me.

I'd appreciate any advice or information you could offer. Thanks.
 

Pontiacg5

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It sounds like a good idea, but when it comes time to use such a device I think you would find it incredibly difficult to aim such a thing especially when riding on a bike. Also, while lasers seem to be effective at scaring some birds and ducks etc. they rarely have any effect on anything larger. It may work on some dogs but not others, or it may just attract some dogs as they seem to like chasing laser lights!

Have you tried an ultrasonic dog chaser? It makes a very high pitched squeal that only dogs can hear and they usually don't hang around much after they hear it.



Something like that would be a lot easier to aim, possibly more humane and more than likely a lot more effective.
 
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inch

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I meant to say, we've tried a number of ultrasonic repellers, including one that looked like a megaphone, and they don't seem to have a lot of effect. Or rather, they don't have a consistent effect: sometimes the dogs slow or stop, sometimes it seems to encourage them!

As for aiming, I suppose I was imagining a relatively wide-beam device, say 10-15cm (4-6") at 5m (5 yards?). Though, thinking about it, that probably requires quite a high power, if the beam is going to be spread that much.
 
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LSR

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its going to be tricky cus you want a power that would work but could this power damage a dogs eyesight? is seems like a plausible idea!
 

Guyfromhe

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What about a flash bang style device?

Something you can toss that makes a loud noise and a flash?
 

inch

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Airhorn - that's an idea, as long as I don't scare the crap out of the cyclists and warn them in advance! It's got the easily portable, pretty safe, inexpensive to recharge, advantages we thought a laser would have. I guess our next step is to test those and see whether they're more or less effective than the ultrasonic devices and / or big sticks.

The danger to the dogs' eyesight is an issue we're discussing - the ground staff will happily talk about killing or harming the dogs, reasoning that they're wild, basically vermin, and also that they're rabid and will try and attack our cyclists. And I've hit a couple with sticks in self-defence without thinking too much about the long-term implications for the dog (more about my life expectancy if I catch rabies!). But we were debating the ethics of using potentially blinding devices and whether they're more or less humane, when used as self-defence, than potentially fatal devices?

The air horn is looking like a much safer option, at this rate! Though I quite fancied the coolness of a laser dog deterrent beam, although I suspect it wouldn't make the sci-fi "voioioioioing" noise it does in my imagination...
 

Guyfromhe

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Or a flame thrower!!! :lasergun:

Then you could repel the dogs AND have a tasty snack!

I jest of course :p
 

inch

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You jest, but one guy did suggest a Super Soaker (big capacity water gun toy) filled with some sort of nasty liquid... which hastily progressed into "what if we fill it with kerosene and use it as a flame thrower?", which would probably be more dangerous in his hands than letting the dogs attack us!
 
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What you need is a Dog Deflector (r) on your bike! :D



Seriously though, wild dogs attacking sucks! How about pepper spray? It won't hurt them permanently, and it will stop them in their tracks.
 

Guyfromhe

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^^ Or bear spray.

Probably end up starting the super soaker on fire or blowing someone up :p
 
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Hmm, maybe a extremely bright light? 1000 lumens should do the trick, day or night...

That's all I can come up with, sorry!
 

Arayan

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5 mW green laser pulsed and defocused used as a "dazzler" should work without damaging the eyesight of dogs...
 
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I use a 445nm laser to scare of unwanted game when i am hunting and or in my back yard
I never shine the laser into the unwanted games eyes
and it seams to work very well
when hunting it scares the wolfs away from my deer feeder
and wolfs and raccoon scares them away from are garbage cans
around my house
 
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wow, this is the best possible first post for a noob for a title like that
+ rep

on topic:
i would suggest a powerful flashlight too
or maybe a special flashlight that has more "intense" wavelength of light (UV) but not enough for permanent damage
 




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