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Written after a close friend's shelter dog bit an older woman and her 5 year-old grandson and killed their dog. There are no winners in this sad story. :(

From "Dog Bites Man - Not a story--a national crisis" by Jon Katz


The epidemic of attacks on people suggests that something is seriously wrong with the way many people acquire, train, understand, and move about society with their dogs. Well-meaning dog rescuers have taken an approach that may increase the amount of dog violence and frighten and alienate non-dog-owners. For some rescuers, saving violent dogs has become a mission. Violent dogs are now brought into the mainstream population by the thousands each year. Among some dog advocates, it's considered immoral to euthanize a violent dog, but acceptable, even praiseworthy, to bring one into contact with children. Sometimes, a moral inversion seems to occur: Gentler, adoptable dogs are left to die in shelters because more dangerous dogs are seen as in greater need.

Rescued, puppy mill, and incompetently bred dogs have more behavioral problems than properly bred purebreds or thoroughly evaluated shelter dogs. That's often why they need rescue in the first place...

When people buy, rescue, or otherwise acquire a dog from unscrupulous breeders or amateur rescue groups, they are making a decision with ethical consequences. They have a profound responsibility to consider their actions; to gauge the dog's behavior, to train it thoroughly and rigorously, to protect other humans and dogs from harm.
[ November 20, 2004, 05:06 PM: Message edited by: Betsy Iole ]
 

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From the Article sited by Betsy "some dog lovers and those in the rescue and animals rights movements have advanced the idea of "no-kill" policies in public shelters, where virtually all dogs—especially those considered "adoptable"—would be kept alive, for years if necessary, until homes are found for them or they die natural deaths. "

Seems Mr. Katz has a pervent sense of the "no-Kill" movement start by the then President of the SF/SPCA

From Redefining pet overpopulation: The no-kill movement and the new jet setters
Richard Avanzino has stated repeatedly that saving every life is not the goal of the no-kill movement. From the San Francisco Adoption Pact forward, he has always spelled out that the goal is to prevent the euthanasia of adoptable, and eventually of treatable animals. The no-kill philosophy recognizes the need to euthanize animals that cannot be rehabilitated. The pact [1] describes non-rehabilitatable as, \"cats and dogs for whom euthanasia is the most Humane alternative due to disease or injury…vicious cats and dogs, the placement of whom would constitute a danger to the public…cats and dogs who pose a public health hazard…Using the Adoption Pact as an example, no-kill also recognizes that shelters \"shall have the right to define the terms 'adoptable,' 'treatable,' and 'non-rehabilitatable.'\"
Michael Tefts
 

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"Rescued, puppy mill, and incompetently bred dogs have more behavioral problems than properly bred purebreds or thoroughly evaluated shelter dogs. That's often why they need rescue in the first place..."


Quite a trite and less than useful evaluation.
Any behavior is a combination of genetics and the environment. It has been clearly demonstrated the importance of early socialization in puppy development Puppy mill dogs can often spend this time crate confined in puppy stores and incompetent breeders may spend too little time socializing the dogs before being sold, but compentently bred dogs from some of the well known kennel names can and do suffer from the same problem. Poor socialiation at a young age is the cause of most behavioral problems rather than poor breeding. This can and does routinely occur regardless of the dogs breeding.

Breeders Round Table: Puppy Socialization

Critical Periods in Canine Development

Sensory, Emotional and Social Development of Young Dog


Michael Tefts
 

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"When people buy, rescue, or otherwise acquire a dog from unscrupulous breeders or amateur rescue groups, they are making a decision with ethical consequences. They have a profound responsibility to consider their actions; to gauge the dog's behavior, to train it thoroughly and rigorously, to protect other humans and dogs from harm."

This is the comment however I Find most exasperating. What is an "Amateur rescue group"?
The dog in question was acquired from a so called good source . An most importantly is does not matter the source of the dog every dog owner has the "profound responsibility to consider their actions; to gauge the dog's behavior, to train it thoroughly and rigorously, to protect other humans and dogs from harm."

Michael Tefts
 

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Thanks for your comments, Mike. I completely agree that all new owners incur the responsibility to train their dogs to be safe, no matter what the dog's origin.

Also agree that the reference to "amateur rescues" could use clarification. My understanding is that 10-15 years ago, purebred rescue was organized and conducted by breeders and others with longtime experience and familiarity with their chosen breeds. People who knew what is and isn't characteristic temperament of the breed.

Currently, purebred rescue seems to be heavily populated by individuals with a more casual interest in the breed. These are commonly people that may have had only one or two specimens as pets before becoming active in rescue. While these people are certainly well-intentioned, they aren't always (or even often) knowledgeable or experienced in identifying behavioral problems, let alone knowing how to go about rehabilitating a problem dog. Ideally, these folks should able to acquire experience from more knowledgeable rescue members, learning to evaluate and rehabilitate problem dogs and to assess prospective placements.

Unfortunately, this isn't always the case. Sometimes, turnover is so high and rescues are so desperate, they'll put just about any semi-interested person with a pulse on their board. People with little experience may find themselves in the position of deciding which dog lives and which doesn't, and inexperienced people tend to err in an unsafe direction. And of course, there's nothing that prevents just about anyone from hanging out a shingle as a rescue. So, although Katz' mention of "amateur rescues" isn't well-defined, it's a point that has some merit.
 

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"People with little experience may find themselves in the position of deciding which dog lives and which doesn't, and inexperienced people tend to err in an unsafe direction. "

Is not reserved with purebred rescue it also occurs at government and privately run shelters across the country as so welled explained in the link I provided above Redefining pet overpopulation: The no-kill movement and the new jet setters

In no small measure, one cause of the problem is the very success of spay and nueter progams in many parts of the country. No longer are the shelters overwhelmed with dog and culling only the one with the best chance at sucessful adoption. When no longer need, the shelters /rescue are not closing but expanding importing dogs, and trying to rehabilitate dogs with questionable chances. This problem is not restricted to behavioral issue but expands to health issue too. Too often large resources are spent trying to one or two dogs.


The animal rights movement not to be confused with animal welfare also plays a part as many privately and public shelters are dominated with the additude that breed of animals is bad. Therefore the mission of rescue is to be the sole provider of pet animals. Which sets up situations with shelters importing dogs, and adopting out dogs not suitable for adoption.

Part of the problem also lies in the fact there is no clear line delimiting adoptable an not. Give a particular circumstance with a behavioral problem may integrate successfuly into society but be truely dangerous in another. Therefore adoption decisions also need to take into account the ability of adopting family to properly manage a dog with behavior problems.


IMHO the rescue model is a better one than the shelter model because it is a more realistic setting to evaluate the dogs ability to intergrate in society. The confiment and issolation of most shelter environments does not mimic an adoptive dogs environment therefore temperment testing and behavior exhibited by a dog in this type of environment is skewed. A dog that has been living freely in a foster environment with cats and kids over an extended time is much more likely to be able to adapt to a similar environment with a different family than one only exposed to kids and/or cats during a brief temperment test.

I do not dispute that rescue/shelter and other sources of dogs are distributing a higher percentage of potentially dangerious dogs. I do thing however MR. Katz missed the boat on the cause. It is more systemic than "amatuers" or "fanatics" involvement but change in society as a whole.

In the case sited the cause can not be attributed to any of the so called cause he rails against but that of an individual who decided to adopted a particular dog from a shelter that was of breding that would be more difficult to place and nearing so called "death row" There was no indication of behavioral problems before the incident. Such incidents have occured with properly bred purebred dogs.

Michael tefts
 

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When looking at the so called underlying statistics one has to wonder if there is an actual increase in violent dogs or if it is just over hype and exageraged media attention.


From the CDC Nonfatal Dog Bite--Related Injuries Treated in Hospital Emergency Departments --- United States, 2001
Of an estimated 333,700 patients treated for dog bites in emergency departments (EDs) in 1994 (2), approximately 6,000 (1.8%) were hospitalized (3). To estimate the number of nonfatal dog bite--related injuries treated in U.S. hospital EDs, CDC analyzed data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System-All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP). This report summarizes the results of the analysis, which indicate that in 2001, an estimated 368,245 persons were treated in U.S. hospital EDs for nonfatal dog bite--related injuries.
Comes nowhere close to the 37% increase sited in the article.
In the last decade, the number of dogs in America rose 2 percent annually while the number of bites increased 37 percent.
Which while not stated This stat is an intepretation of two different survey one in 1986 and the other 1994 hardly a current or relevant statistic.
Dog Bite Liabilityby Insurance Iformation Institute
According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the number of dog bites requiring medical attention increased from 585,000 in 1986 to 800,000 in 1994, an increase of 37 percent (latest data available).
Given the source over states the 800,000 figure nor is it the latest figures from the NCIPC I have a tendency to believe this statistic of an increase is over stated as well. Even worse inditement is the estimate for 1986 has a standard error of >20% Cause of Nonfatal injuries in the United States 1986
Dog bites how big a problemthe 1994 was conducted by phone telephone survey of households while the 1986 study was based on 23.802 household the 1994 survey is 5238 households which means the 1994 survey has even a higher standard error rate making a comparison of the numbers unreliable.

The approximate 10% increase between 1994 and 2001 is a more reliable number being based on a survey of actual emergency room visits but still considering sample sizes is not wholely accurate.

Signed: Michael Tefts
[Edited to comply with Politics Forum guidelines]


[ November 21, 2004, 02:35 PM: Message edited by: Betsy Iole ]
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sadly, there doesn't appear to be much doubt that dog bites are increasing in number, and that well-intentioned ignorance is contributory. :(
 

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Iwon't mention which rescue, but at a fund raising picnic in a maebers backyard, one of my bassets was attacked for no reason by one of the rescue hounds, to the point of drawing blood. The member didn't even say sorry. Her comment wasthe resce had already attacked her husband 3 times. That basset should at least been confined not loose with the other bassets.
Also I was there when one basset jumped onto the picnic table to get to the food and I lightly smacked it's snout and helped it back to the ground. I was loudly accused of "dog abuse". These are the responsible type of people running rescues today!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Signed: Dean Wickwire
[Edited to comply with Politics Forum guidelines]


[ November 21, 2004, 02:36 PM: Message edited by: Betsy Iole ]
 

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No matter how much training a good natured dog has,he will bite if scared or overwelmed.It`s wired into there being.
I laugh the hardest at people who say my dog don`t bite.My reply is (he don`t bite you).I`ve been around hounds all my life, been bitten twice.Once by a scared hound that thought I was going to get her(she was stuck in a fence row).The next time just outright aggressiveness.
The fact is most people don`t train there pet`s.So hounds returning to their primal nature should be expected.
I will never talk badly about any rescue.We as a society underfund it and bitch because it`s lacking.
Myself personally have killed dog`s with a gun,with blood on my own hands I wish for a society that don`t discard hounds like an old pair of shoes.When I did the killing it changed me.Made me not such a hardass on eliminating animals from this planet.Just getting rid of the unfortunate dog`s will not fix the problem with some of the human race.
How can we change the human behaviour that is the root of the problem.
Dog`s bite.
Some humans ...bite.

Michael Fulkerson

[ November 22, 2004, 04:05 PM: Message edited by: mwfulkerson ]
 
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Basset rescue is an amazing, wonderful, selfless, beneficial thing (I did it for over 10 yrs. and spent thousands of dollars of my own money on my fosters with no reimbursement). But, there are those "bunny-huggers"(no pun intended) that believe all Bassets, no matter how aggressive, deserve a 4th and 5th chance, years of unadoptable confinement to boarding kennels and thousands of dollars spent on behavior modification and pet psycologists. There is a limit on what you SHOULD do in cases of aggression in Bassets. If a dog is deemed dangerous and with reasonable behavior modification untrainable, the humane and ethical thing is to put it down. And not all behavior issues arise from "poorly" (ie: non-BHCA member bred Bassets). I fostered about 40 Bassets, almost all of which were "poorly" bred (with a few exceptions) and only 1 I thought should have been euthanized. He was not, by the decry of higher ups than me. Take care, Belinda.

Signed: Belinda Lanphear
Edited to comply with Politics Forum guidelines


[ November 22, 2004, 09:46 AM: Message edited by: Betsy Iole ]
 

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don't you people know anything about how to stop a dog from biting!!! you give the dog a Aspirin!!!
 

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This is only partly related to dog bites man, but it might be part of the same thing--poorly socialized dogs and people not being realistic about them. This year there have been two incidents at OBEDIENCE trials near my home where male dogs have attacked other (male) dogs without provocation. In the most recent incident, the handler of the attacked dog apparently had to go the hospital (ER, I think) to get her thumb repaired. I know the owner of the dog in the last incident, and she had told me on several occasions that her dog just likes to 'visit with other dogs and flirt with the females'. I don't know if this is occurring more than it used to--I've not heard of this occurring around here before, but it certainly is troubling when you and your peace-loving basset are participating.

[ December 08, 2004, 04:33 PM: Message edited by: S. Hall ]
 

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Everyone seems to be blaming the shelters and rescues. Dogs bite - that's a fact humans have to live with.

Take a look at the questions new basset owners ask. Everything they should know BEFORE getting a dog - feeding, housebreaking, chewing, weight, etc. It's great that they ask the questions and have more experienced people to answer them. But what about those people who don't ask? Those people who go out get a puppy, then dump it because it peed in the house? Or chewed on their shoe?

Pointing fingers and blaming people trying to help the pet over-population problem isn't going to solve anything. Educating first time pet owners BEFORE they have a problem would help, in my opinion.


Jennifer Speidell
 

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Hi--
I wasn't thinking about rescues or shelters at all when I posted. Most dogs in Obedience trials are not from rescues. In fact, many are carefully chosen just to excel in competitive obedience, and some are bred to do so. My point was that dogs may not be getting the basic socialization they need these days, no matter where they come from, or what their pedigree is, and also, that their owners may not be realistic about the potential for their dog to be agressive. I was also thinking that this shouldn't be happening at Obedience Trials, of all places, which are supposed to show 'the partnership of people and dogs working together', or something like that.
 
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Sharon wrote:

I know the owner of the dog in the last incident, and she had told me on several occasions that her dog just likes to 'visit with other dogs and flirt with the females'
IMHO
I don't think this is a socialization problem. I think its a training problem. Years ago competitive obed dogs were taught that "visiting" other dogs resulted in extremely unpleasant consequences (from their owner, not the other dog). They completely understood that even the ultimate reward of "flirting with females" wasn't worth the punishment they had no doubt they'd receive if they made the wrong choice.

I AM NOT!!! suggesting that we go back to beating our dogs for inappropriate behavior, but I do think that a lot of today's training methods are so ambiguous that its not possible for a dog to learn what behaviors are or are not allowed.

"LambiePie, it hurts mommy's feelings when you do that, but I understand if you just can't control your urges.").

Unfortunately, when you're talking about crowded conditions like a dog show, or group stays, a dog that doesn't clearly understand that NO!! means NO! (whether its the aggressor or is "just being friendly") is a danger.

BTW, I've joined the ranks of those who'd like to see the AKC do away with the group stays. . . after having Rebel attacked during group stays a few years ago and now training a truly small dog (Border Terrier), I've formed the opinion that safety is far more important than "proving" my dogs are well trained by taking off their leashes and leaving them alone with dogs who might be a bit unclear on the concept.

[ December 09, 2004, 01:12 PM: Message edited by: DebHatt ]
 

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Hi--I agree that the group stays should go. I've always leaned towards keeping them because Bassets (at least in my limited experience--one) seem ok about staying (once you convince them that going down on a sit-stay is not a good choice), and the traditional obedience breeds are so focused on their handlers that they lose it when the handler leaves, and break the stay one way or the other. Seemed like it sort of leveled the playing field. But I've had a change of heart--I agree with you--they should go--it just isn't worth it. If they want a stationery exercise in Open, they should move the moving stand down to Open (We're good at that, too, if you recall the Nationals <vbg>
I think No! means NO is part of socialization, too, just as much as being around other dogs, so maybe we are saying the same thing. The other thing I see is alot of weird psychologizing around dog's motives--not problems reflecting past abuse in a rescue which are often very real, but things like, "Fluffy tried to bite the judge because the judge had a clipboard, and I dropped a clipboard on her toe once when she was a puppy."

[ December 09, 2004, 04:32 PM: Message edited by: S. Hall ]
 
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