Blogging About Critters Since 2007

Friday, July 17, 2009

When Is a Dog Unadoptable?

I rejoined my local animal shelter's volunteer program a few months ago (long story as to why I quit in the first place). One day while I was volunteering I met a little pit bull puppy who was recovering from a spaying. Very sweet and gentle animal (I have a soft spot for pits....and pugs!)

The puppy seemed too thin to me so I asked about her story. Apparently, she, her mother and seven siblings had been confiscated from a crack house. Someone had called in an animal cruelty report. All eight of the puppies were in foster care. When I asked about the mom, I was told that she was put down because she was food aggressive and, therefore, "unadoptable." The tone of the answer implied that I'd better not argue it, so I didn't. But the answer just didn't sit well with me and I keep thinking about it.

I had a couple of dogs when I was a kid, but I mostly grew up with cats. I have a lot of patience with cats. I don't believe that any cat is unadoptable, even feral cats. I believe that a feral may never be a lap cat and they may never even let you pet them. But you can earn their friendship and companionship. To me, that means a lot. They deserve life, even if it's on their own terms. (There are also many "feral" and "food-aggressive" personality types in humans, but we don't put them down.)

But I'm no dog expert. I'd like to hear what others think. Is this a legitimate reason to put a dog down or is this just BS? Are food-aggressive dogs dangerous or is that just a convenient myth?


Denbeath said...

Hi Ana, Thank you for informing me about the broken link on my 'No Justice' post. I fixed it plus adding another link. here is the 'No Justice' web address:

I agree with your comment 110% !!!

Thank you for reading my blogs.
Wishing you many Blessings,

Janice Gillett said...

Food aggression is NOT a reason to kill any animal. It is common in any animal who has been deprieved by being hungrey , born of a large litter, lives with a dominate mate ect. I am no dog trainer but clearly this rescue needs one and as far as i am concerned they murdered that dog.
My two year old rottie came in that way and will move aside if a pig or the cats rush his bowl. Everything about his body language and teeth barred said one thing but how he followed threw with his threats was another.
This trait has long disappeared with absolutley no training. He knows his tummy will be filled and I will protect his bowl/bone from the others by removing his concerns.

Eleven Eleven Animal Rescue said...

It's a tough call. Because you never know what situation could trigger it, it may not only be if you try and touch the food bowl while it is eating.. if you drop food on the floor and go to grab it she could snap at you. Or if a toddler is holding a piece of food in front of her, she could attack the toddler for the food, ect.

My sister has a dog that she got at 2 months old, a schnauzer westie cross (no pit bull) who had sever food aggression (along with fear aggression, possetion, and dominance). This was not a learned behavior as she was so young, but an aggression she was born with. I have been bitten many times by her, to the point where she has drawn blood. She has bitten me, my sister, my mother, my father and family friends because of her food aggression. At 20lbs, he bite does hurt but doesn’t pack much impact. We have worked very hard with her in dealing with her aggression problems ( I say dealing because I do not believe is it something that can every be cured, but only controlled). I taught her the command drop, which was hard! And got her to drop objects she would be aggressive over, and eventually food. Although she does drop the food/toy and walk away when tell her to.. She growls the whole time while doing it and walks away (talks back!). Placing a food aggressive pit would be very tricky and would take someone who is seriously understanding and capable of training it, and even with that there is still risks. Im sure that person would be out there.. Somewhere. But in the end with so many other dogs out there… who are being put down for NO reason other than not finding a home, she has a lot of competiton.

I have been working in a veterinary clinic since I was 12 and have had to put down MANY dogs, for many reasons. The other week I had to put down the sweetest and BEAUTIFUL black standard poodle, 4 years old.. Because apparently it bit a kid, and I could not convince them to let me place him. God knows what the kid did to the dog to get bitten. I save the ones I can (hence my rescue), but there are many times when clients just will not let me save the dog (or cat) and absolutely want it put down to the point they ask for the body back. I have literally had to put dogs down for NO reason other than they were moving and couldn’t take it and wouldn’t believe anyone else could take as good care of it. (Welcome to Quebec, and our lack of animal rights laws/French Canadian way of viewing animals). For instance Archie from my rescue was brought in to be put down, because they decided to get a puppy at 80 years old and then realized they couldn’t deal with it. If I wasn’t working that day, he would have been put down. Or Piglet, because they couldn’t deal with her shedding anymore. Ringo (my dog) a 1000 + $ long hair Chihuahua, that she got from a breeder, vaccianted, fixed, heartworm prevention, everything and she wanted put down at only 1 year old, because she got another puppy and he didn’t get along with it. (a puppy she then gave away a month later). And most of the time I get the same responses you got, every one at the clinic thinks im crazy for saving most of these animals.

Sorry for the long response! Good luck with your volunteering

In The Flaws Rescue,

Unknown said...

I also agree that food aggregation is not the proper reason to kill any animal or depart her from childs. Because this characteristic also found in human it mean they also killed... How To Stop Dog Barking

Amy said...

It is not a reason to kill the animal, but most facilities are full. So they have to think of a reason, SOME reason to put the dog down. The real reason is the facility is full of abandoned/dumped dogs. So they have to pick a dog to be euthanized. They try to pick ones with behavior problems, or illnesses, and they say "this one was sick, so we put it down first," even though it probably had a minor cold. But this makes the person doing the job feel better, because even if they wanted, they couldn't keep them all, they'd run out of space. So the county needs to put legislation in place to alleviate over breeding issues (simply going to a flea market and asking the "breeders" there for their licenses would be a big help--but I NEVER see the D.O.A. checking on licenses??) and put a low cost spay/neuter system in place. It doesn't have to be this way.

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