Can (and Should) Every Dog Be Saved?

Shelterdogspicforblogfrommary"Save all the Furbabies!" This is a phrase that causes even the most experienced responsible rescuer to make the kind of faces usually only visible after biting into something extraordinarily sour. This feeling is similar. There are days that it seems like no one you encounter in the rescue world on the internet has a clue what responsible rescue means.

There are extremists in every part of the animal world, but this fact is so much more in evidence when it comes to rescue. The magical place that every dog can be “rehabilitated” no matter what the behavior issue is, exists only in the minds of the extremists.

Rescues and shelters that operate responsibly are targeted by extremists as cold-hearted killers. Perhaps I should define responsibly before I go further. Responsible rescuing includes but is not limited to, making sure that dogs with serious behavior issues and/or serious bite histories are not the dogs that they are focusing their rescue/adoption efforts on. Why? So many reasons. Take a seat, get a beverage and get comfortable.

Let’s start with resources. Resources are not endless. Rescues exist solely because of their supporters. Decisions must be made on how to spend resources. Should you save 20 dogs with great temperaments with the time and money that you have or should you use that same time and money to save one “misunderstood” dog that mauled a child or killed another dog (in circumstances that are not extenuating)? The decision may be very clear to those with common sense. But the decision to focus on dogs with reasonably good temperaments gets questioned and condemned by so many “armchair rescuers” (see here for that explanation). Said armchair rescuers talk endlessly of “rehabilitation” and “every dog can bite” yet offer no actual options other than “help him or her”.

Victim blaming is rampant and excuses are made for the behavior of the dog in question. Maybe the child who was mauled was teasing the dog and maybe the person who was killed scared the dog. And maybe the dog who was killed startled the dog who ended his life. It goes on and on. Examples are given about dogs who did this and that and are now beloved family members. But what is missing in those examples is the severity that the dog in question has harmed another.

Excuses. These are all nothing more than excuses and victim blaming. Are we as a society still there where the victim gets victimized more than once in an effort to excuse a horrific act? We need to look inward and see what we truly are missing if we choose to victim blame in these circumstances.

Humans indeed are the true cause of these types of situations. Often, dogs who are the center of such situations lack proper training, socialization, proper management, appropriate husbandry which can include lack of proper veterinary care and poor nutritional care. Humans are responsible for properly caring for the animals they bring into their lives. There is no question that animals suffer because of the lack of dog care education on the part of many dog guardians. But when the end result of the poor overall care and management is a tragedy such as this, the dog has to pay the ultimate price. Addressing the root of the problem rather than clamoring to “save the furbaby” should be the foremost action in other animal lover’s minds.

All bites are not equal. There are plenty of rescues and shelters who regularly modify behaviors in dogs with understandable or minor bites. There are even some placements that I personally have supported where there a dog with a multiple bite history has been placed but the bites were minor on the bite level scale. Add to that a behavior-savvy adopter accepting responsibility for continuing behavior modification and you have a good chance for a successful outcome. But when you are venturing into the high waters of the bite assessment scale, you are in danger of drowning in your efforts to justify a save. Dogs with Level 5 and 6 bites are just not placeable dogs at all. Even a level 4 bite is extremely risky, but in rare instances going to be context to consider with this one. With the other 2 levels, rarely is there context to consider, outside of the human initiating the action by trying to actively kill the dog that eventually harmed him or her. And even in that scenario, outside of a family member keeping the dog themselves, said dog is not placeable. Liability is still in play. Check out Ian Dunbar's bite level assessment scale.
Next, let us look at liability. This is not something to be taken lightly. This is the part that “rescues” ignore when trying to justify saving a dog like this. When an incident is documented and a human has required medical attention and/or hospitalization or another dog is dead, then you have serious legal implications. Disclosure is required and typically a dog such as this will have been declared legally dangerous. This brings legal requirements that must be met. None of those requirements are inexpensive. The probability that some adopter yet to be found will have the resources and the inclination to provide such requirements for a dog they have yet to meet, are slim to none. This brings us back to resources, because the rescue would also have to meet these requirements while “rehabilitating” and housing this dog. No rescue that chooses to take in dogs like this is going to be eligible for insurance.

The legalities continue to mount. As mentioned, full disclosure by the placing rescue or shelter means that the placing agency would have to advise adopters of a dog’s past history. That past history would then require the adopter to advise their homeowners insurance of such an addition. They would typically also be required to purchase dangerous dog insurance as well. A potential adopter could face the choice of losing their homeowners insurance or adopting this dog. Which do you think a responsible person will choose?

What about the community that a dog like this is placed into? Who wants a dog who mauled a child living next door to their family? What if the unthinkable happens and a child inadvertently runs up to this dog? How does anyone justify what might happen to that child? What about a dog who is dangerously dog aggressive and has already killed another dog? I am not talking about reactivity. I am talking about truly focused aggression to other dogs. Management always fails. Someone leaves a gate or door open. Humans make mistakes. The risk to the community is great.

And we are not yet done with legalities. Regardless of what kind of release an adopter would sign upon adopting such a dog, the rescue as well as the original releasing party, whether it be an animal control officer, a shelter or just the family that suffered the tragedy, is still going to be legally liable for a repeat occurrence. This means that if your dog kills another dog and you place him in another home, you knew what he was capable of and you passed the buck. You hold onto legal responsibility. This is a lawsuit-happy country. Past behavior is absolutely indicative of future behavior in this case. A rescue that placed such a dog could lose everything they have worked for just because of one placement. Is it really worth it?

See this link for more information on legalities both on the party of the placing party as well as the adoptive party.
Let’s address training briefly. Punitive methods often lead up to these tragedies. Dogs learn to be defensive and each defensive act results in bolder action on the part of the dog, until the perfect storm occurs. Violence creates more violence. And in a stroke of irony, the only “rescues” typically interested in “rehabilitating” such a dog usually utilize old fashioned training methods themselves, creating more of an internal conflict for the dog in question. Suppress the behavior and call the dog cured and pat yourself on the back. Media hounds are abundant and vocal. Yet these “rescues” blind themselves to the facts. Among the facts, behavior and temperament are two different things. Temperament is nature. Behavior is nurture. They both combine to form a personality. You can modify behavior created by nurture to varying degrees, most of the time with great success if you understand how to properly do so. Nature comes from sources born with the dog. This is not the place to go into detailed explanations of this subject, so I will skip the technicalities. Suffice it to say that in a loving home, much about a dog’s behavior can be adjusted. Unfortunately, behavior this severe can not be successfully modified in a shelter or rescue environment. Micromanagement is all that can be hoped for and that leads to liability once again.

This brings us to “sanctuaries”. Often such places are poorly funded, not very well run, have little modern behavior knowledge and only marginally address the needs of the dogs they take in. Are there good sanctuaries? Absolutely, but they are usually full. And when you have a dog aggressive dog that needs to be isolated from other dogs for the safety of all involved, then you reduce the chances of that dog’s quality of life needs being met. The same goes for a human aggressive dog. Who runs the sanctuaries? Humans, of course. If the dog can only get used to one or two humans, then his or her care suffers. There are only so many humans so go around in these places.

The more you have to isolate a dog in order to prevent a repeat incident, the less likely that you have a workable and humane situation. Warehousing is real and worse than death. Being alive is not the only thing that matters. Quality of life matters far more. Dogs live in the moment and they live for attention. Sentence them to poor quality of life and you create even more instability. No one likes to make these decisions. But sometimes the kindest thing that we can do for a dog in this situation is to give them peace and lay their demons to rest.

There is a certain mindset that intentionally seeks out dogs like this to “rehab” and in most cases, it is selfish on the part of the human involved. The need to feel important is great. The savior of a dog in need. But all homeless dogs are in need. Many perfectly wonderful dogs with lovely temperaments are being euthanized regularly for space while extremists spend time on Facebook battles about why one dog that mauled a child should get another chance. I challenge those extremists to go immediately to their local shelter and foster a dog with a wonderful temperament. Make room to save another instead of shouting about what other people should do. Put your words into action. Don’t be an armchair rescuer judging others.

Tragedies where a human is badly injured as the result of the perfect storm of a dog’s life are just that, tragedies. They are all preventable and in a perfect world, all dog parents would be required to be educated about responsible dog parenting. They would be given the skills and understanding to manage situations that could be sketchy to prevent a tragedy from occurring in the first place. It is always going to be human error that is at fault. But that doesn’t change what happened. Once a line is crossed, there is no going back. The liability (again we have that!) becomes too great because of the tragedy. The dog is who pays the ultimate price for human error. This truly is a tragedy but this perhaps is the most preventable tragedy at all. The resources to change this situation exist in abundance. If all the “rescuers” in the world focused even half of their efforts on appropriate dog behavior and care education, the lives of dogs could be immeasurably improved and tragedies would be reduced. Shelter and rescue populations would be decreased. What a wonderful world that would be.


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Positively Expert: Debby McMullen

Debby is a certified behavior consultant and the author of the How Many Dogs? Using Positive Reinforcement Training to Manage a Multiple Dog Household. She also owns Pawsitive Reactions, LLC in Pittsburgh, PA.


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44 thoughts on “Can (and Should) Every Dog Be Saved?

  1. Patricia

    Excellent. I work in pet services, behavior, rescue and rehab. We can't save them. With your permission I would love to use this in my education packet. With deepest thanks. Pat

  2. HarveMorgan

    There can be and is much more to 'rescue' than adoptions. Rescues need to think outside the box of adoption as to how to serve animals. Offering free obedience training to those who adopt shelter pets, paying for the initial vet visit, putting up fences, repairing fences, etc. helps pets, helps owners to retain their pets. Rescues have become adoption groups with little to offer except a pet. We need to think about helping owner retention, making shelter pets more appealing to the public. Too often people and the pet are set up for failure because of a bad adoption. One doesn't adopt a 6 month old border collie to an elderly woman with a walker, but the new deal of rescuers will do that. The movement that emphasises numbers, live release rate, causes pets to be pushed out of the shelters into the hands of grifters and scammers. Get over euthanasia, until the population is under control, euthanasia is a fact. We can't save them all. We can save the future however.

  3. Mary

    Excellent article. Not all dogs need to be saved, and if they could talk, every dog living in a kernel would choose euthanasia. It is time to put human beings and gentle animals at the top of the priority list. Any dog attack requiring medical attention leaves the dog unfit for adoption.

  4. Sharon Savage Yildiz

    Great post. This is soooo true! I have an M.S. in dog behavior, have competed in dog sports since 1977, and worked for years as a dog trainer and behavior consultant. After retiring as a trainer, I lived in Istanbul for 5 years, where I performed on TV with my pets, One day around 2010, I got a call from a rescue group I had once donated money to. They asked me to foster a dog for a week, no other info given. They transported the 25 lb. dog but were afraid to get it out of the car. The dog soon and repeatedly attempted to bite me, my other dog and cat. I had to keep the dog confined with baby gates in a room with me (couldn't dream of putting it in a crate), where it would carry its food bowl to my foot, then attack my leg for being too close to its food. Found out the dog had been in a previous foster home where it attacked the experienced foster parents (from the UK), their dog, and visitors.

    After 5 weeks of taking this dog for pro grooming at my own expense (had to be sedated), feeding it the best raw food, taking it on 6 leash walks a day, working on food aggression, etc., I still hadn't heard from the rescue. I sent an e-mail describing the dog's aggression issues and saying it was irresponsible to adopt the dog out, and I would recommend euthanasia. I brought up that there were about 60,000 homeless dogs wandering the streets of Istanbul, 95% of which had stellar temperaments. I recommended that funds would better be spent fixing broken legs of friendly dogs rather than trying to redeem this one highly aggressive and unlikeable dog.

    They came to get the dog, filmed it not attacking the group owner for about 30 seconds and posted the videos to prove the dog was "friendly." Then shipped the dog off to an adopter in Holland with a child and three other pets in the home. They also faked the dog's paperwork for shipping, because I had the sole passport at my apartment still.

    Turned out this group's owner (a Spaniard living in Istanbul) was associated with the Animal Liberation Front. He and his 20,000 followers attacked me online, set up whole websites "outing me" as a "failed dog trainer who lures in sweet, homeless dogs and then dismembers them." He printed out of context phrases from my e-mail that made it look like I had kept the dog crated for 24/7, when in fact the dog had NEVER been crated and was penned in WITH ME in a large sunny bedroom with attached sunroom, while my own pets were kept on the other side of the large apartment via babygates. This guy's followers published my address. Dozens of different followers then claimed they had guns trained on my balcony, were going to throw acid or bleach on me if I went outdoors, threatened to dismember me, etc. These followers were all over the world, including 40-something women in the USA--however, there were scores of them living in Istanbul too. This went on for YEARS. To this day, if you look me up online, you'll find a dozen of their hate videos and blogs before you see any other info about me. (In real life, I compete nationally and internationally in many sports and my dogs model on TV and print ads. I also personally fostered and found homes for 4 street dogs and 25+ street cats while living in Istanbul, and flew some of them to friends in the USA for adoption. I also kept one myself).

    Anyway, just one more example of a rescue group spending tons of time and search engine optimization on homing one aggressive dog and trying to destroy the reputation of the dog's foster home, rather than help a whole mass of friendly dogs.

  5. Marleen Oetzel Lnf Dogs

    Daxton's Friends for Canine Education & Awareness first let me say thank YOU for posting this link & Debby McMullen I would kiss you on the lips if we met in person b/c I agree with every word of this blog. I'm a very seasoned animal lover/rescuer/advocate. Run my own 11 year old foster-based rescue LnF Dog Rescue, Delaware.

    I personally temperament test each dog & I have my own very strict protocol. To date I've rescued 463 pups/dogs with about 90% from being pulled from shelters & 10% owner-surrenders. My rescue is noted for having sweet, gentle, wiggle butts who even if they have been abused somehow they still are able to love people & other dogs. I will accept no others.

    As you stated there are extremist in rescue, always have been, but now they have morphed into this No-Kill Movement to the point of utter stupidity who believe with all their hearts - that dogs who have a track record of attacking humans & other animals can be rehabbed.

    We have a local "no-kill shelter" here in Delaware who last year had one of their dogs Ricky attack 2 senior dogs 100% unprovoked on 2 different occasions. That's another concept they can't seem to deal with -- the difference between a bite & an attack. Ricky was brought before Delaware's Dangerous Dog Panel & the shelter got him a LAWYER -- I swear to God, a lawyer. I have the transcript of the hearing to prove what I'm saying if anyone wants to see it.

    Since Ricky had "a lawyer" and since the shelter has very strong political backing he was deemed "potentially dangerous" Few months went by & we found that Ricky is now available for adoption with no mention of his attack history & no requirements of an experienced adopter.

    The year before that the same shelter had a volunteer take one of their dogs for a walk & he went to a "people park" not a dog park & let the dog run FREE. Next thing you know that dog saw an owner across the park walking his small dog on a leash & attacked his little dog. They tried to get the dog to release, would not, so the owner of the small dog thankfully had a permit to carry a gun & shot & killed the dog. Had he not been able to kill the dog we all know what would have happened.

    I can provide the news paper link to that story also if you'd like to verify. So what I'm saying is this shelter's director is a NO-Kill advocate & feels that her dogs have more rights to a "second chance" than humans or other people's pets.

    Needless to say she & I and other like-minded shelters/rescuers like myself who believe that it's our moral obligation to only adopt temperament tested dogs to the public have a real Hatfield & McCoy fight going on here in DE.

  6. Marleen Oetzel Lnf Dogs

    Daxton's Friends for Canine Education & Awareness first let me say thank YOU for posting this link & Debby McMullen I would kiss you on the lips if we met in person b/c I agree with every word of this blog. I'm a very seasoned animal lover/rescuer/advocate. Run my own 11 year old foster-based rescue LnF Dog Rescue, Delaware.

    I personally temperament test each dog & I have my own very strict protocol. To date I've rescued 463 pups/dogs with about 90% from being pulled from shelters & 10% owner-surrenders. My rescue is noted for having sweet, gentle, wiggle butts who even if they have been abused somehow they still are able to love people & other dogs. I will accept no others.

    As you stated there are extremist in rescue, always have been, but now they have morphed into this No-Kill Movement to the point of utter stupidity who believe with all their hearts - that dogs who have a track record of attacking humans & other animals can be rehabbed.

    We have a local "no-kill shelter" here in Delaware who last year had one of their dogs Ricky attack 2 senior dogs 100% unprovoked on 2 different occasions. That's another concept they can't seem to deal with -- the difference between a bite & an attack. Ricky was brought before Delaware's Dangerous Dog Panel & the shelter got him a LAWYER -- I swear to God, a lawyer. I have the transcript of the hearing to prove what I'm saying if anyone wants to see it.

    Since Ricky had "a lawyer" and since the shelter has very strong political backing he was deemed "potentially dangerous" Few months went by & we found that Ricky is now available for adoption with no mention of his attack history & no requirements of an experienced adopter.

    The year before that the same shelter had a volunteer take one of their dogs for a walk & he went to a "people park" not a dog park & let the dog run FREE. Next thing you know that dog saw an owner across the park walking his small dog on a leash & attacked his little dog. They tried to get the dog to release, would not, so the owner of the small dog thankfully had a permit to carry a gun & shot & killed the dog. Had he not been able to kill the dog we all know what would have happened.

    I can provide the news paper link to that story also if you'd like to verify. So what I'm saying is this shelter's director is a NO-Kill advocate & feels that her dogs have more rights to a "second chance" than humans or other people's pets.

    Needless to say she & I and other like-minded shelters/rescuers like myself who believe that it's our moral obligation to only adopt temperament tested dogs to the public have a real Hatfield & McCoy fight going on here in DE.

  7. Elisabeth MacBeth

    Debby, you took the words right out of my mouth. THANK YOU for writing this comprehensive, very well put, blog. If I had a nickel every time I had to point out the above to someone who "can't foster or adopt the dog, but other than that doesn't care what it takes, just save this (or that) dog"....

  8. Norascats

    Interesting and well written article. No, we can't save them all. A lot had to happen on the front end for the population of dogs and dog owners to be in good balance.
    I watch the shelter pages in NYC. You have to deal with too much misinformation The owners lie. They either are giving up this wonderful dog because of the evil landlord, or, the puppy is so evil it grew too fast and chews things, hopefully not the elderly chihuahua that was in the house first. The shelter routinely rates big dogs very harshly and only a day or two after intake. It tests emaciated dogs and judges them food guarding for not allowing a piece of plastic to move food away. Little dogs get harshly judged for their displays of bravado in the strange and scary shelter. Trying to find the truth is difficult. I adopted one of their dangerous little dogs. He is a sweetheart. He defers to everybody and manages to get his needs met very well. When I was going down to get him, I kept saying, he could be a little monster, and if he is, he's your little monster. I've seen sick and dying dogs pulled only to die in transit. And some to get better. The most awful thing is the number of sweet adoptable dogs that get overlooked while the attention is on the "interesting" cases.
    I basically believe that without more education on why we don't want people breeding dogs randomly just because you have a female and someone down the block has a male. That puppies should be 8 weeks at least before leaving their families. That for most people spay/ neuter is the best choice. people need to know that the mastiff puppy they just got at four weeks will be 100 lbs in a year and they better know how to teach it manners before adolescence, because an unsocialized doesn't stand much of a chance in a shelter. People need to know that a puppy is a puppy for a few months and a dog for fifteen years and if you don't want to commit to fifteen years, don't get a puppy. I've already gone on too long.

  9. Deborah J Clemens

    I guess you haven't met me.....or my dog, Phoenix that I rescued over six years ago who was very aggressive....took five years before he would accept my husband.....he gave my husband a bite that sent him to the emergency room.....that was five and a half years ago...Phoenix is now eight years old and is a big lover and baby....loves my grown children and their kids....I do not allow him full run of the home and I have gates everywhere to keep him away from my other male....but he is happy and has experienced love and companionship and my oldest Siberian husky is his bff.....so a fear aggressive dog with months and years of work can be rehabbed.......so was several other dogs I have rescued and adopted out, who are now living happy and full lives.....I am not saying EVERY aggressive dog can be, but not all physically hurting dogs can be saved either....but we all choose which ones we FEEL deserve a break.....some go for the ones who need surgery and physical care and some of us go for those who are hurting emotionally.....call me any name you want......I am non profit and for the most part it is my husband's and my hard earned money that is spent on these furkids, therefore it is our choice who we choose to pull to save.....and yes we alone are responsible for any mistakes or errors if one attacks after rehabbing.....but so far we are batting a thousand successes.......and I wouldn't trade these dogs lives for any other.....

  10. Jessica Ghali

    I'll admit I wasn't sure about this post at the beginning, but I deliberately read it the whole way through and while there are some things that don't sit right with me (probably selfishly fueled by inexperience and naivety, bright eyes and bushy tail in tact) for the most part I really like this article. The last paragraph especially is what I dedicate my life to.
    I admire the author of this article for stating their opinion when they knew it might not be accepted well by all and almost definitely criticized.

  11. Christy Wilson

    That is truly horrifying. ALF isn't rescue and the groups the align with are not rescues or interested in responsible rescue, either. I am so very sorry.

  12. Christy Wilson

    The No Kill movement protocols do not practice or endorse either warehousing or placing for adoption human- or dangerously dog-aggressive animals or animals that are incurably ill or injured. It saddens me that people on both sides fail to represent No Kill accurately.

  13. Christy Wilson

    I agree completely. It's so frustrating to be taking in animals that other rescues abandon on adopters, fosters, or back at kill shelters because all they cared about was the glory of the "save" and the publicity they can make from it to increase donations, not the lifetime needs of that animal. Some shelters will continue to hand over animals to "rescues" and adopters that have had issues with neglect, hoarding, lack of medical care, improper placement and suspicious deaths, just to make their numbers nice and perhaps thinking "maybe this time it will work out". That is a criminally irresponsible thing to do to an innocent animals that cannot speak up or escape. Responsible rescues that only offer fully vetted pets who have been in foster homes long enough for their personalities and quirks to be known, that maintain careful standards for placement including backround/reference/vet/home checks, lifetime commitment to post-placement support and right of return, and so on are often attacked and undercut by "rescues" that hand over dogs to the first person interested, encourages giving pets as gifts, has no contact with foster or adopter after placement, little to no veterinary care prior to placement, and place inappropriately and without full vetting (recently a 'rescuer' who was formerly busted for hoarding and is back at it "adopted" a young female intact pit bull to a disabled elderly woman who wanted a guard dog; the dog is too friendly to be any use for protection--as anyone who knows these dogs would know--but she was also pregnant and had three puppies shortly after her "adoption" and of course the "rescue" is nowhere to be found). We don't shy away from fearful or injured dogs but they do take longer and require the cost of professional assistance to prepare for responsible adoption. The shoddy "rescues" are quick to tout their high placement rates and donors flock to that instead of looking at the quality of placement and how many stay in their homes instead of bouncing back (where they are either euthanized or abandoned). This is a very real problem not just for an unaware public but also for reputable rescues and every dog caught up in these irresponsible games--they deserve better.

  14. Jackie Phillips

    For the animals that make it into great homes, what these great groups do is important to them. Why bash people for trying to help when there a plenty of people who do nothing or just complain? I will never fault a person for trying to help a homeless animal.

  15. Jackie Phillips

    "every dog living in a kernel would choose euthanasia" Really? Have you talked to each one and they have given you their decision?

  16. Mary Cummins

    I totally agree with you. I see some rescuers save a dog with multiple level 5, 6 bites and I have to shake my head. That dog will end up living his life out in a kennel. That is no life for a dog. It's also a waste of resources. You could probably save 50 other dogs with those resources. It reminds me of this dog, "Mickey, the pit bull that mauled a 4-year-old Phoenix boy, will spend the rest of his days in the Maricopa County sheriff's no-kill animal shelter." He's living in a jail. Waste of resources, liability if he bites someone while cleaning his kennel and a miserable life for the dog.

  17. Ellen Nau Larter

    Wow, so very sorry this happened to you. I am also glad to see an article like this, that is realistic and truthful.

  18. Ellen Nau Larter

    Thank you for this wonderful and truthful article. I went to Dr. Dunbar's seminar in Pittsburgh last year and he makes so much sense when he talks about dog bites and aggressive type dogs.

  19. Marleen Oetzel Lnf Dogs

    Christy Wilson -- since a child animal lover/rescuer (my parents were rescuers) to date which brings me up to 65 years I'm sickened in my heart of the no-kill movement lead by Nathan Winograd & one of his fellow followers here in Delaware who runs a local no-kill shelter. She is nothing more than a paid hoarder. She has tried to get the laws changed so that our one & only open access shelter that handles the animal control for the entire state STOPS temperament testing. They don't believe in TT!

    Remember in the old days PRE-Winograd that we only had to do battle with the general public that allows their animals to breed over & over, throws them away when they are bored, chains them up out back ---- forever -- was the enemy? For years now we've seen here in DE the same neglect & cruelty happen to animals by those who consider themselves saviors from the NKM!

    I could go on and on but I know I'm preaching to the choir.

  20. Elizy

    No Kill's goals and how to's are constantly changing if you are referring to the Winograd version. Initially, it was ok to euthanize an animal that had failed temperament testing, now, not so much. The problem is that it creates a shell game to reach the magic 90% number. Target Zero is a significantly more measurable and tangible protocol.
    The fact is that currently dogs are being shipped all over the country and into Canada, warehoused for years and a great deal of emphasis put on saving gravely injured animals whose cost of care could cover preventative care for dozens.
    No Kill also claims that overpopulation is a myth. Anyone who spends time in animal welfare can see that this is bunk. Their numbers are based on a marketing survey alone. Not any real data. The fact is that there are not enough qualified homes for the current number of strays and surrenders. It's a sad truth that we can't ignore if we want what is best for companion animals.
    No one wants to see healthy, adoptable dogs put down. But the fact is that unless we focus on prevention, and like Harve mentioned, keeping animals in homes, we are putting a very leaky band-aid on a gaping chest wound.

  21. Patchouliskunk

    So what you said is that your dog is still aggressive, but you have successfully managed the aggression for 5 years? Okay... that doesn't go against anything that this article stated.

  22. Patchouliskunk

    I really like the open honesty of your reply and your willingness to accept at least parts of what the article states. That's really awesome of you- and I would dare to say, perhaps you're no to naive as you might think!

  23. Patchouliskunk

    I am. I'm confused now...but I think you're messing with me because you looked at my profile.

  24. Peggy Brown

    I applaud your efforts to work through your dogs issues and I don't believe that that anyone is against owners taking responsibility for rehabilitating their dog. The issue is with knowingly placing a dangerous dog with the public, few of whom have the skills and experience to adequately manage those issues. I work with people all the time, referring them to behaviorists to save a beloved family member. That said I would not place a dog exhibiting that behavior, when there are so many nice dogs in need.

  25. Peggy Brown

    Because, few are cured, at best they are managed, and few members of the public are willing or able to manage these type of issues long term. Many groups gloss over, or excuse behavior in the effort to get these dogs into homes so that adopters don't realize what they are really taking on. Sadly many attacks happen months or even years after that animal is "successfully" re-homed.

  26. Banallpits

    I hope you are *at least* responsible enough now to make sure your dog always wears a muzzle in public! Since you need an "emotional support animal" (~eye roll~), you are most likely not a strong leader for your dog and projecting your own securities onto him. Many dogs are attacked by other dogs and are none the worse for it psychologically. There is no excuse for a dog to bite human, especially a child.

  27. Banallpits

    Your dog IS unfit for adoption! I hope you are at least responsible enough to keep a muzzle on it in public!

  28. Tommygirl4255

    Excuse me? You don't' know myself, or my dog. My dog is NOT unfit for adoption, though that isn't relevant as he has a home. As for a muzzle, he doesn't need one. He was reacting to someone coming up behind him, that scared him. I have spent thousands of dollars, and hours with vets, trainer's, behavioralists, to work to get him to where he is. As for him being an ESA (yes, it's real, live a day in my life and you might understand, otherwise you are just ignorant). You can't just "designate" your dog as an ESA, you need a doctor's note, and they must ensure that you truly need this dog for medical purposes. How is the fact that I need them for emotional support an eye roll, yet people who are blind, don't get the eye roll? Is my illness any less severe? Before you go around and insult others, maybe you should stop to think about what they may be going through. You don't know how my dog feels after being attacked. Not all dogs are the same. He REACTED, he didn't attack. Even the doctor agreed that there was no malice or intent on his part. Animal control came out, and deemed him not a threat. And he hasn't bit anyone since, and that was over 5 years ago. Not everyone or everything fits into a picture postcard box, we just happen to live outside that box. While my boys are reactive, I AM responsible, and they haven't had any problems since

  29. Tommygirl4255

    It is such a broad set of circumstances. Luckily for myself and my dogs, there will never be a time when they would end up in a shelter. They are with me, or my family, for the rest of their lives. There are some dogs that can be rehabilitated, but obviously it takes work. But on the flip side, there are some that can't, and putting them down is the only choice. I do a lot of work with rescues too, and if it comes down to working with 1 highly aggressive dog, that may or may not be rehabilitated, or working with 20 others who can be successfully placed, it comes down to what is best for everyone, and unfortunately, that 1 dog will probably lose out everytime. Just like people, some dogs are just hardwired differently, and nothing anyone says or does will help in the end

  30. Banallpits

    Your dog bit a child to the point it needed stitches! If you have that thing out in public without a muzzle, you are an irresponsible owner. What happens the next time he "reacts"? Stop making excuses! They need to do away with this ridiculous "emotional support animal" nonsense. Everyone knows they are NOT real service animals and just how easy it is to get a doctor's note for one. Yes, the fact you can't go out without your 4-legged security blanket IS less severe than some that is blind. When your dog bites a child for any reason, he is a threat.

  31. separationcs

    Thank you! This "No-Kill" is nothing more than a money-making scheme, ego boosting scheme, and a hoarder's DREAM. Humane euthanasia is preferable to children and innocent pets being mauled, also the animals themselves suffering in deplorable conditions. It sickens me.

  32. Cate RVT

    I know the "rescue" you were unfortunate enough to get involved with. The guy who runs it is a known scammer to those of us who have been monitoring international rescue organizations. He always manages to post the more horrific, disastrous rescue pics on line so as to grab the sympathies of moneyed "foreigners" who don't know better and who are unable to discern where their donations are really headed. I, for one, totally believe he and his followers would pull that kind of scam on innocent people.

  33. Darla Hill

    I think some aggressive dog's may have not had a good life or solid life and being in a better life may turn this animal totally around .Life all around us from day one and till the very end is all about taking chances.Stereo typing vicious animal's all together as un adoptable is wrong.I think it's a great idea to do all the thing's to really help situation's get better for animal's and owner's too. Why does it seem people alway's have to chose one or the other ? If you care about children,you can't care about animal's,etc.I say yes,animal's deserve a2nd chance to live,be loved.Some animal's may be too far gone,but not as many as are being put down daily.We need trap nueter and release,back in every town and city,that's just a start,but very important to even begin to change the count's of the unwanted and the burden's on the shelter's that have this desire to put so many to sleep and not even give them a2chance at life. Animal's fixed,people won't have easy access to them and may want to take better care once they get one.Way too many people don't treat their animals as pet's ,but as something lower class to themselves to make themselves feel above and in control of something,so animal's think all people must be bad.Get it out of there in give it love and attention and they blossom before your eyes.We all need leader's/teacher's we can trust to look up to and learn healthy way's to be pet owner's.animal's can bring the best out of bad people,sick people and dying people,they the animal's deserve our best to give them what they need.Just because people are poor and without,does not mean they are or should be unworthy of a animal's love,we who are better off could reach out and offer a hand. I went to the fair ground's the other day to get rab
    ie shot's to my pet's for 7.00 each ,I have 5 dog's I was and am totally grateful someones cared enough to help other's love their pet's and be responsible pet owner's.So many people were blessed Yesterday,not to mention all the pet's,that already have loving homes.My heart aches knowing countless animal's being abused,neglected and or killed every second.Shelter's for decades have been pushing animal's through to make room for more,it has done nothing to better this life for them or us.It's time for change of hearts,it's time to stop doing the same old thing's that don't work,it just kills!

  34. Beth Bond

    So what's the name of this rescue? It does no good to denigrate it if you don't warn others who they are.

  35. Valorie Broderick

    I just went through this. I had to put my dog down. Luckily the bite did not cause lasting damage to the victim besides, perhaps, scarring on the hand. The thing is, I tried very hard to educate myself. But it still happened. I really gave it my all with my dog and watched him grow from a frightened shelter dog to becoming confident, happy, and well mannered. It all seemed to be going well. I would have done anything to prevent it. Hindsight is 20/20 and it all seems so obvious what I did wrong now. In all honestly, I look completely idiotic when I think back on it. But I tried my very best to educate myself. I had my dog for around 6 weeks and I had read two books and took an online class about dog cognition and had him signed up for obedience school. I attempted to give my dog the right balance of play, love, discipline, exercise etc. It's just, as the article said, a tragedy. I guess I learned the hard way though, and that is somewhat of a silver lining.

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