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Rehoming dogs with bite history

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Shandi *Oct- 2006 - Aug 2012*

Goofball
 
 
Barked: Sun Nov 29, '09 8:43pm PST 
I was just wondering what peoples opinions on this was. I work at a no kill shelter and they mean no kill, they very rarely put any dog down and they will keep them until they find a home.

At the moment we almost every large dog we have is dog aggressive and two have bite histories. The shelter is fairly small. One dog has been returned 3 times, each because he attacked a person. We just got a dog back this weekend because he went for a child and attacked a grown man.

I've known these dogs for a while as they've been at the shelter for a while and I really feel they're just not safe dogs. One was the sweetest thing at the shelter no one ever suspected it and we were shocked to hear it.

Do you think it's right to rehome a dog that you know will attack someone?
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Kiona CGC

The Prettiest- Princess

moderator
 
 
Barked: Sun Nov 29, '09 9:09pm PST 
I am going to go with the question you posed in the title, because rehoming a dog with a bite history is one thing, rehoming a dog I "know will attack someone" is quite another.

And to answer the question in the title - that depends entirely on the totality of the circumstances - this is simply not something that can be answered either yes or no.

It would be a dog specific inquiry.
Oscar-Adopte- d

1076065
 
 
Barked: Sun Nov 29, '09 10:18pm PST 
A dog witha bite histroy can be adopted out to the rigth people. Technically Elliot has a bite history, bc DH got a little to eager and stuck his hand in his kennel while Elliot was chewing on a bone (that was right when we got him an DH ignored my talks on resource guarding). Now this bite, which did draw blood was entirely my husbands fault. Still, Elliot is therefore a biter. Do I belive a dog like him should be put down? No. He is not a danger to humans, he is a dog that had issues which are now mostly gone. If I have a foster with agression issues, be it to other dogs or food agression we still adopt them out, that is to well educated families.
I have personally not worked much with human agressive dogs, but I belive they can be rehabilitated. However that requires a dedicated, experienced family and unfortunately those are hard to come by. Certainly many shelters lack the funds and people to properly evaluate these dogs and give them the proper behavior modifaction. Should a dog with a bite history be adopted out to just anyone? Should it be put down simply because it bit someone? Should it be adopted out before the issue has been resolved? Should it sit in a shelter without any help for months or years? The answer is always no, but that does not mean that a truly agressive dog should never be euthanized. I feel that there is no cookie cutter answer for agressive dogs.
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Olivia

1076603
 
 
Barked: Sun Nov 29, '09 10:47pm PST 
I have to agree with Oscar here.

I do not think a family with children should ever attempt to work with such a dog; in fact, I would say appropriate homes for these dogs are few and far between.

I sort fo think, there are so many dogs out there who do not bite sitting in kill shelters, that to spend the resources on one who WILL, is a shameful waste.

Has anyone mentioned the possibility of this being a felony to the shelter owner? Could adopting out such dogs be considered harboring a dangerous animal?"

Myself, well, I would likely have such a dog PTS. For their sake as well as humans, they must be miserable living in rage and fear like that. frown
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Oscar-Adopte- d

1076065
 
 
Barked: Sun Nov 29, '09 11:03pm PST 
Olivia, that is a problem that all rescues face. Which one to rescue? The young, healthy ones will adopt fastest and make room for more, and they usually cost the rescue less money because they have less health issues.
But I think many of us feel drawn most to those that are the tough ones. The sick, the old, the ones that need us most. It is unbearable to turn any one away, but is is, at least for me, even more so if it is a dog that has no other chance. I have fostered for a rescue that takes those that other rescues won't. Sarge for example. He cost thousands in vet bills, lived only a very short life and maybe several others could have been saved in his place. But he has changed our life in so many ways. If it wasn't for Sarge I might not be a foster right now, his mum said that he saved her life as she was in a really dark place when they found each other. Now she volunteers for rescue, fosters and does home checks. Sarge probably helped to save dozens of others by changing our lifes.
While I am a sucker for sick dogs, I am sure there are others who find great satisfaction in re-habilitating agressive dogs, or working with fearful dogs, or whatever the right thing is for them.
It is a difficult decision to make, every time. I think part of why I am hesitant to have any dog put down is because it is our responsibility. We made these animals, we decided to have a litter, to not spay/neuter, not not take care of them, to turn them into agressive dogs. While I don't want to start a nurture vs. nature debate, I think we can all agree that raising a dog properly can make a huge difference. Obviously these agressive dogs were not. It feels like our responsibility to give them every possible chance at having the life they deserve.
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Toby

As if I could- get cuter!
 
 
Barked: Mon Nov 30, '09 5:21am PST 
I totally think this is a case by case issue. Any dog has the capability to bite, and will bite in certain circumstances. I'm sure that if somebody manhandled Toby he would bite, he has no issues growling if somebody nearly steps on him, or if the cats play too rough. Meg would probably bite if cornered, and when she was a stray, the dog warden had to get her with a grab pole because she was terrified and wanted to bite.
But in all, they are both nice sweet dogs, I would never rehome Toby, but when the time comes to send Meg on her way, I'd have no issues with sending her to a family, yet she could easily have had a bite history if the dog warden hadn't had her grab pole.
When people are returning dogs because of 'attacks', I'd question them very hard about what led up to the bite, if food or toys were involved, if they were cornered, or if they were being manhandled in some way.
It could be 100% the owners fault, and if so, the dog should not be penalised.
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Gir

All that lives- is holy.
 
 
Barked: Mon Nov 30, '09 7:59am PST 
Oscar- hope I'm getting the name right- I applaud what you've done with Sarge and others. We have a difference of opinion, but that's the beauty of living in a free country.

The dog that has been returned three times I would almost certainly euthanize. I don't know why he bit those people, but three different times in three different homes seems like a problem to me. It could possibly be fixed at the expense of a lot of time and effort, but I'm one of those who believes that there's a dog in a shelter somewhere that WON'T bite that deserves a home.

When I was a child, a standard schnauzer nailed me in the face when I tried to give him a hug. On the one hand, it was my fault because I was only three and didn't realize that some dogs don't like to be hugged. Conversely, it was also the dog's fault because getting hugs from the family children is part of being a dog. I crossed his boundary, but he had an unreasonable boundary.

I've done a lot of rescue work, and I don't choose to rescue dogs which are going to take a large amount of time or money to rehab. Biting someone over food had a clear trigger and the dog's boundary was clearly crossed, but to me, the dog's boundary was unreasonable, and I'd pass that dog by to save another. If there were no perfectly healthy- emotionally, mentally and physically- needing rescue, or if one of my pets developed a problem such as this, I would work to rehabilitate, but with things the way they are and doing what I do in the region where I live, I have to choose my battles.

That said, I don't think rescue is my responsibility at all. It's an act of charity, something I do because...I don't have anything better to do? I have no idea why I do it.

I do know that I have never sent a dog to the pound, created a behavior problem in a dog, bred an unwanted litter or bought from a BYB. It's not my fault that any dog needs rescue. I do rescue, but not because I'm morally obligated to.

Again, jsut my opinions, and part of the beauty of living in a free country is I can rescue the dogs I want to rescue and others can rescue the dogs they want to rescue. In answer to your question, Shandi, if it were my shelter, I'd probably euthanize those dogs. Animals have a colossal ability to do harm and hurt people and other animals, and I'm not willing to send that forth into the world. With other dogs that don't bite waiting for homes, I'm also not willing to expend the resources necessary to fix them.

Of course, like everyone else, I dream of the day when no animal needs rescue. cloud 9

I don't want to come off like a hard@$$. I'm realy not. hug
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Oscar-Adopte- d

1076065
 
 
Barked: Mon Nov 30, '09 10:11am PST 
What can I say, I have a guilt complexwink
If the only thing we disagree on is which dogs to pull, well I think that is a very minor difference to have.
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Oscar-Adopte- d

1076065
 
 
Barked: Mon Nov 30, '09 10:11am PST 
What can I say, I have a guilt complexwink
If the only thing we disagree on is which dogs to pull, well I think that is a very minor difference to have.
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Vance CGC

You kids g'off- my lawn!
 
 
Barked: Mon Nov 30, '09 11:04am PST 
There are many, many issues brought up in your post. Given that all dogs are different, and all potential owners are different as well, it's hard to put a definite yes or no on the situation. Ultimately, the firmest truth is that no dog should be placed in a home where it will be a danger to others.

I also work with what many would consider a "no kill" rescue. My friend takes in dogs at her own discretion - often dogs who do already have extensive bite histories - to be rehabilitated and rehomed if possible. Sometimes they make a wonderful turn around, and sometimes it becomes apparent that they are simply dangerous dogs. She would not place a dangerous dog unless the perfect home came along - someone she knew well who had dangerous dogs in the past and enjoyed the challenges and rewards of working and living with them. Needless to say, those homes are rare. Most of those dogs become permanent residents, and the longer you take in dogs, the more of those permanent residents there are. And she's ok with that. The only dogs euthanized are ill and all medical options have been exhausted, or they are too dangerous for us to handle.

So the question becomes, are you (or your rescue) ok with that as well? It's true - we couldn't help as many dogs as we could if the 230 lb Mastiff who bit all strangers on sight were not taking up an entire room on his own. But, we loved him, he loved us, and we were capable of setting things up in a way that he posed no threat to anyone else. We didn't feel he should die for that. He passed away of old age after a happy, safe life with us. Maybe it is all about attachment and logistically we're being silly, but that's the way it is.
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