Appleton, WI – Betsy Quaintance and her daughter Allie found a very scared female Beagle wearing a collar but no tags on October 20, 2013. Once they gained the dog’s trust, she was very affectionate and appreciative of the food and love they gave her. The women suspected she was a lost pet and took her to the Fox Valley Humane Association in order to give the possible owner a chance to find her. There, the story took a tragic turn. Betsy writes:
We asked what the process was, and we were very clear that if the no one claimed her, or if they would want to put her to sleep, to please contact us, as we would be willing to adopt her if that happened. They instructed us to call back in a week. We called and stopped in at the end of the next week (as instructed). They said that she had not been claimed and gave us the adoption application. They then told us to go home and watch for her to show up on their website as an adoptable dog. Once that happened, we could bring the application back and pursue the adoption. We watched the site daily and did not see her, so on Monday 11/4, Allie called them to find out what was going on. She was told that the dog was food aggressive and had been put down.
I went to the FVHA the next afternoon and asked to meet with Liz, their new Executive Director. Liz did not have personal first hand knowledge, so she had to rely on what her staff have shared with her. The 7 days stray hold was up on Sunday 10/27. They completed her temperament test on Wed 10/30. They determined that she was “food aggressive to humans and dogs”. I was unsure what criteria is used to make that determination, so Liz shared that this would include bearing her teeth, growling, posturing or a combination of these actions. Once this determination was made, she was put to sleep that same day.
I reviewed our actions in pursuing her – and Liz did state that the staff that received her when we brought her in reported that we expressed an interest in adopting her if she was not claimed, or if she would be put down. I clarified that we also followed up when we directed to by the staff[.]
I’m guessing that Fox Valley Humane Association poked this dog in the face with a plastic hand on the end of a stick while she was eating and the dog got scared by such an absurd action. She showed her teeth or adopted a posture out of fright. And then they whisked her off to the kill room.
There has been a massive public outcry over the killing of this dog, who was never accused of biting or even nipping anyone and who had an adopter waiting. In response to the backlash from compassionate pet lovers, Fox Valley Humane Association posted a statement on its Facebook page this morning. It reads, in part:
During testing, after numerous attempts to acclimate Peanut to a typical meal-time routine, she continually demonstrated severe food aggression. In cases of manageable food aggression, FVHA seeks to correct any negative behaviors through multiple training techniques. Unfortunately Peanut’s aggression elevated to a dangerous level.
FVHA is extremely sensitive to cases in which humane euthanasia is deemed necessary for the best interest of the animal and the community. For the safety of Peanut and those who would provide care for her in the future, FVHA was faced with making the responsible decision to humanely euthanize her for all those involved.
Humane. They keep using that word. I do not think it means what they think it means.
My takeaway from their statement is, when the dog reacted normally to being poked in the face with the stupid plastic hand while eating, they kept poking and watched her fear escalate to the point where they felt satisfied that killing was the super right thing to do. They didn’t feel any obligation to inform the adopters they knew were waiting on the dog. Because posture. In one part of one test given once on one day. They didn’t feel any need to contact local rescue groups. Because humane.
Betsy tells me that several local TV stations will be telling this dog’s story tonight. I hope Fox Valley Humane Association has topped off its Bag o’ Lame Excuses for the media.
Thank you Betsy for trying to do right by this dog. I’m sorry for your loss. It seems like the so-called irresponsible public is getting burned by these so-called shelters all too often.
Instead of trying to find an excuse to kill pets people want to adopt, maybe Fox Valley Humane Association needs to put away its plastic hand on a stick and start doing its job to shelter animals. At the very least, couldn’t they stop killing pets they know have adopters waiting to take them home?
If anyone comes across any local news pieces on this dog, please post links in the comments.