The Dog Thwarted by Tara the Cat Gets Euthanized; Was That the Right Thing to Do?

The video of the cat saving a child sparked an Internet sensation, and despite vocal opposition, the dog was put down. Was there another option?
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One of the biggest viral sensations to hit the Internet this month was the video of Tara the cat fighting off a dog who attacked a four-year-old child. If you haven’t watched it yourself, you almost certainly know of it. The story has brought out a range of emotions in many who’ve heard it: Whether your response is amusement, wonder, outrage, or sentimentality, no one has been unmoved by it.

Tara the cat now has thousands of fans and a Facebook page dedicated to her fast action. Scrappy, the dog that she fought off, was euthanized this week at the request of his owners, despite many outspoken supporters.

Scrappy, a LabradorChow mix approximately eight months old, was sent to the city of Bakersfield Animal Care Center immediately after the attack. He was held there for the requisite 10 days to check for rabies, then euthanized over the weekend.

Liz Acosta has already chronicled the details of the case in a thoughtful, concise article that encapsulates the different perspectives about the dog’s fate.

While the dog might have gone quietly, his supporters have been extremely vocal. There were at least three online petitions calling for him to be pardoned, and the shelter itself received a combination of abuse and impassioned pleas to let him be adopted by another family. Many even volunteered to do so themselves. But of course, it’s not as easy as that. The attack on Jeremy Triantafilo was more than just a playful nip; after the attack, the boy needed 10 stitches in his left calf. According to shelter workers, Scrappy continued to be aggressive after arriving at the shelter, even when workers attempted to give him food and water.

It’s never easy to say whether a dog should be put down. It seems clear that it would have been very, very difficult to adopt Scrappy out into a new home. In a video interview by the Bakersfield Californian (also included in Liz’s article), columnist Lois Henry and Julie Johnson, director of the Animal Care Center, make some excellent points about how the media exposure inspired people to invest passion and energy in Scrappy that thousands of other dogs across the country also desperately need.

“I applaud their love of animals,” Henry said. “I’m glad that they have so much compassion. But I’m sorry, this dog attacked a child. If it had gotten to the child’s throat, we would be having a very different conversation right now. … If people have so much care and compassion and concern for this particular animal, why don’t you use that energy to adopt and save the many, many other dogs that have never bitten anyone? They’re going to be put down simply for lack of space. And that’s the real tragedy here. For people to focus on this one animal that garnered a lot of attention through the media is just misplaced energy.”

That’s something to think about seriously. Anyone who cares for animals will feel a certain sadness at the news that Scrappy was put down. But it’s also important to realize that the decision was not simple or easy, and that adopting him out would have carried risk for the community and the shelter. Caring for and training an aggressive dog takes much more than good intentions and a love for animals. For those who feel grief or outrage at the news that Scrappy was euthanized, remember that there are thousands of dogs waiting in shelters across the country who need your love and compassion every bit as much, if not more so.

What do you think? Was euthanizing Scrappy the right option in the end?

Via Bakersfield Californian and Huffington Post

Read about dogs in the news on Dogster:

10 thoughts on “The Dog Thwarted by Tara the Cat Gets Euthanized; Was That the Right Thing to Do?”

  1. Yep. Put it down. Showing that kind of tendency at 8 months old? Wow. And then continued to be dangerous at the shelter?
    No brainer.
    Put it down and give a different loving pup a chance instead.

  2. That shouldn’t even be a question. A dog that runs from his backgarden only to attack the first human he comes across has no place in society. There’s thousands of good dogs waiting to be adopted, get one of those if you want to make a difference.

  3. Of course euthanizing was the right thing to do. This dog viciously attacked a child UNPROVOKED. And continued to attack the shelter workers. I love dogs but this is a dangerous dog. I think even Tia Torres of Villalobos Rescue Center would have agreed on this.

  4. The Dog Thwarted by Tara the Cat Gets Euthanized; Was That the Right Thing to Do?

    Of course. That’s not even a question.

  5. It was wrong to kill the dog. The owner is at fault for having him lose. No animal is ever guaranteed safe around children. It was the owners duty to keep him away from people & train/muzzle him. They failed. It’s them who should’ve received the abuse/punishment. The dog could’ve easily become a farm dog that protects animals from predators. Well away from vulnerable people. I think we can all agree the owner clearly knew nothing about dogs & ruined his chances of ever being a pet. I hope the owners received a lifetime ban from ever owning or working with animals.

    1. Yeah, until he attacks one of the animals he should be protecting. A dog that lashes out to a child like that, completely unprovoked, is well beyond repair.

  6. What do you mean “was it the right thing to do”? Is that a joke? We have two options for a dog who attacks small children unprovoked and apparently for sport: Place him in a desert island that has no humans to attack; lock him in a cage where he will never have access to humans; or euthanize. Clearly #3 is the only realistic option.

  7. Absolutely it was the right thing to do. What if the dog had hurt the child further or killed him? Reading that he was still aggressive after being surrendered, it was the most humane thing they could do. Some dogs just cannot be saved. I love dogs, have had them and been around them all my life, but had that have been my dog, I would have done the same thing.

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