Do you think a dog put up for adoption, with known behavioral issues,?

Such as fear biting, or any type of aggression towards humans, or behavioral issues at such a degree, be given the chance to be adopted? Or should euthanasia come to play?

Am I wrong here in this situation..

So a few days ago, I walked into the animal shelter to see about volunteering again.. I ended up not volunteering at this particular shelter because I wasn't digging the vibe there. Anyway my mom and I decided to check out the kennels with the dogs up for adoption.. As I passed through each kennel, it was incredible which breed type outnumbered the others.. Of course, the pit bull. so many incredibly well mannered, gorgeous pits, I saw a few rotties there, and other breed types. I passed to one kennel and noticed a female pit bull laying in her bed she was about 4 years old.. I walked up to the kennel, put my fist in front for her to smell me, not sticking my hand inside of her kennel and she tried to full out attack me.

I wasn't scared, i didn't care she was a pit, thats not what I looked at. What i did care about was, what the BIG picture was, this dog is up for adoption! I spoke to the supervisor, about the situation, explaining what had happen, and explaining, I am a pit bull lover in general, an OWNER at that, but was concerned for the safety of others with this dog. He got upset at me.. I took him over to the kennel of this dog, and he pointed out on this dogs sheet, which is in front of her kennel, her yellow sticker.. Shes a fear biter with behavioral issues. He preceded to argue with me because I overlooked that detail of "her color" and I shouldnt have stuck my hand near her kennel..ok so.. This dog is up for adoption, but you cant go near her kennel? Wow..

To me, this dog is not suitable for adoption, and should be put out of its misery.. Am I heartless for thinking so? This dog was clearly a product of unstable parents, and poor raising before her time in the shelter..

I checked back with the shelter and they did in deed keep this dog up for adoption.

What are YOUR thoughts? Generally on this topic.


And let me briefly mention, Ive volunteered at a seperate animal shelter for 2 years, have been around many pit bulls and supposed dangerous breeds. And have RARELY come across one that is aggressive.

Update 2:

add- towards humans that is..

Update 3:

Tulip- I didnt shove my fist in the dogs face.. I put my fist out, for her to smell. Where you got "shove" I dont know.

Update 4:

Let me remind you guys, i didnt "shove" or stick my hand "in" her kennel, my hand was outside of her kennel, and she came over to me. I would know better than to stick my hand inside of their kennels.

12 Answers

  • ?
    Lv 6
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    I would agree that it would probably have been for the best if the dog was put down. In my opinion, any dog that reacts that violently to having a stranger come near it, is not a safe dog. A lot of people DO stick their hands into dog's kennels (not saying it's a smart idea) and I hate to think what will happen when a child tries to pet that dog.

    If shelters had unlimited space, time, and money then rehabilitation might have been an option. However shelters don't have any of those things in excess, especially space.

    By putting down a dog that was unsuitable for adoption to the general public, they could have opened a space for one without such outstanding behavioral problems.

  • anne b
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    I actually have to hand it to the shelter for identifying the issues and posting them on the kennel. Many of the shelters I work with have no idea what fear aggression even is.

    Is it possible that that particular dog will not be adopted out unless the new owner has the correct qualifications to take something like that on? Did you ask? I don't know anything about how that shelter operates, but if they have the knowledge to tag a dog for what the issue is, maybe they also have the smarts to make sure it ends up in the proper environment.

    I don't work with breeds that can do much harm, but I would not adopt out a fear biter until I was sure that the situation was controlled, resolved, and the home had a full understanding of the problem. I actually have a foster right now who is a fear biter. She has been with me for 8 months already, and will not leave until the problem is fixed, one way or another.

    I once adopted a dog from a shelter who did an "eval", if that is what you would call it, and told me the dog was fine. After she bit three people, including me, I spent almost a year fixing her behavior issues. That seems to be the norm for evaluations around my area. If they had even done close to a real evaluation, she would have been put down and not put up for adoption.

    If a shelter or rescue does not have the ability to "fix" this kind of thing, the dog should be put down.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    I was a euthanasia tech for a while at a shelter. I did a lot of their socialization, behavior modification, etc.... the one thing I hated to do was temperament tests. It sickens me to order an animal be put down because of something simple like mild food aggression.

    AT THE SAME TIME, I euthanized hundreds of dogs a week. Many of those dogs were perfectly happy, healthy, well mannered, amazing dogs. Not a problem to them. The problem? Over crowding, not enough volunteers, not enough funding. My shelter was outside of Denver... therefor, we got a lot of the pit bull rejects and such.

    When you have no space, no time, and no man power, then you need to focus all your energy on those dogs that are the most likely to be saved. It's horrible. It's heartbreaking. But it's the realism of shelters. Shelters that don't need to euthanize due to overcrowding? Shelters that have empty kennels? Then they should work on training almost all the dogs. However, most shelters adopt out 20 dogs a day as they get in 100 dogs a day.

    BTW, shelters can and DO make animals snap. Perfectly healthy, stable animals that just can't handle the strain, the pressure. Maybe this b*tch was tested and did fine outside of the kennel. I would not shove it on bad breeding and raising alone. Many shelters, because they are so overcrowded, also place kennels next to euthanasia rooms. We had cat kennels right next to the incinerator where we cremated all the remains of euthanized animals. This DOES cause severe strain and stress on the animals. They know what's going on. They can sense it.

  • Pete F
    Lv 6
    10 years ago

    Yes an interesting question, I think the issue here is simply time & money.

    As around 8 million dogs are put to sleep world wide annually... and rescue organisations rely on charity, they have to draw a line some where on the dogs they can help and the ones they simply can't (or don't have the resources to) .

    All dog lovers and organisations would love to help most dogs back to rehabilitation, and a lot (but all by far) can be helped, baring the ones that have neurological problems or the ones that simply have 'the wrong genes' of course.

    As well as that they have to look at modern society's quench to sue for health & safety reasons and their respectabilities to the lesser knowing public... and have to be very careful indeed when letting a dog go with 'problems'.

    Its a very sad situation, and more should be done in society to stop these dogs from ending up in shelters in the first place... But in less there is a 'human' crisis, governments will just sit back and watch it all happen.

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  • 10 years ago

    First of all, as a shelter volunteer, I have to sort of chastise you for sticking your hand to a grate or through a cage. Even a super friendly dog may snap, snarl or attack a hand that provides a target in an insane place full of pounding flourescent lights, heavy bleach smell, incessant barking, and strangers marching in and out all day to give needles and pills.

    You should always ask the shelter worker to take the dog to a room or yard where you can meet, greet, and evaluate away from all the stresses and distractions. You can never tell how a dog in a run will behave. I am famous at my shelter for asking to take out the 'mellow' elderly hound mix who then dragged me literally a 1/4 mile down the road- I ate dirt before he took his first deep breath...

    That said, NO, I don't believe ANY biter that hasn't been evaluated by at least 3 qualified trainers and then also worked with for at least 6-8 weeks with repeated tests and successes should be up for adoption in the general public. I think even "rehabilitated" biters ( and I'm still not sure if this is ever truly successful ) should be kept in a foster home or seperate facility and advertised through totally different means than the shelter.

    I think this for several reasons:

    A) Why risk exposing a potential adoptee to an animal that may be physically gorgeous but mentally and emotionally shot- all this does is turn people off

    B) Why risk the lawsuit if that dog bites someone through the cage? Lots of people do what you did- yes, it's wrong, yes, there's signs posted, but they do it. You did. Hell, I've done it.

    C) Why take up the kennel space that could be given to a totally stable dog that can go home tomorrow?

    D) Why take the dog in the first place- or, if after testing, if you find it is SOOOOOO special that you can rehab it, why are you not rehabbing it BEFORE you put it out for adoption?

    The truth of the matter is that you can only save what you can save. A nursing mom with 8 pups that all would have been spoken for (even Mom- you'd be surprised how they line up for Mom, with a bit of the right PR on the cage or in the speech) the very next weekend could be in that cage. Now Mom and her pups are dead in the city pound and some neurotic Cockapoo that bites its own bu tt and its bu tt's shadow is sitting there because some idiot at intake didn't do their homework.

    I understand you- small wrist tap- learn from your mistake. Try to educate the shelter that you as a volunteer don't think it's right or you as a consumer (potential adopter) want to see adoptable dogs, not head cases.

    Source(s): shelter volunteer
  • 10 years ago

    This is an interesting issue. It would all depend on how stressed the dog was and how familiar it was with its place in the rescue center. If it had been there long enough to settle and still acted like that when someone came near and interpreted a hand gesture as an attack then I wouldn't consider adopting it and neither should anyone else. The best shelters don't put crazy dangerous dogs in the public area, they keep them around the back until they have worked on them to get them better behaved. I'd put a hair-trigger fear biter to sleep because it's not fair on the animal or the family who might adopt it.

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    Interesting question i adopted an aggressive dog from a shelter but he was due to be put down when i adopted him know i did have to beg for the dog he had bitten a child so badly she needed surgery .

    Wrong decision some think especially as i have 4 children of my own but with an animal behaviourist trainer 3 months of hard work and a lot of money later that dog was rehabilitated and never bit or growled at any one in the 2 years i had him until some thing unfortunate happened and the dog was teased and hurt and he ended up biting and the end result was he was put to sleep

    The shelter must of thought it was doing the right thing but there is a lot more probably to that dogs story maybe they have evaluated the dog and like my dog it can be rehabilitated if some one has the time and money i don't know the circumstances of why the dog is like that

    i will wait for the TDs its just difficult to judge a situation when you are not there

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    You only give one side of a story here. Most Rescue Centres do a temperament assessment, and a pretty thorough one at that, and if there is the slightest worry about a dog, they do not go forward for rehoming. In the UK at any rate. In fact, I'm watching a series involving the RSPCA on this week and all too often to my mind, dogs are actually pts. Makes me very sad, but it is responsible, as even if these suspect dogs go into a suitable home, there's always the chance of a visitor coming into that home, to trigger a biting reaction (with a fear biter especially).

    So to a degree, and without seeing the dog etc.etc. I'd be concerned about this particular dog being rehomed, if you produced this reaction.

    It's a difficult one because on the one hand, some rescues appear to 'give up' too fast (especially where a more reserved type ends up in rescue, and is obviously more totally confused, than outright vicious, but is said to be impossible = pts), and on the other, these Centres have a responsibility not to put a dangerous dog out there.

  • 10 years ago

    I think its a tough question to answer correctly (I don't even think there is one) but MY opinion on it would depend, I think a dog of this manner could be given a chance, there are people out there who are willing to work with dogs like these and people who can keep certain situations away until they've worked on the dogs instant reaction and then bring in the factors that make the dog react in controlled environments. I think is a person is willing to prove they can and will work with the dog then I think they should be given a chance. But then again, if no one is willing to do that then yes it would be best to have the dog put to sleep instead of releasing it into the hands of some one who doesn't know what they're doing or is willing to bring in outside help (trainers, behaviorist)

  • Anonymous
    10 years ago

    As long as the shelter is giving full disclosure of any issues to all potential owners, what is the problem...?

    There are lots of decent, dedicated dog-lovers who will take on 'difficult' dogs and who will work with them, maybe with expert help, to help socialise them properly.

    So long as the potential buyer is fully aware of the dog's temperament and any problems, there shouldn't be a problem.

    If you watch programmes like the 'Dog Whisperer' and 'It's The Dog Or Me' etc, you'll see MANY aggressive and yes even vicious dogs being helped and becoming gentle and loving pets.

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