Is there anyone among us – canine behaviorist, dog trainer, rescuer, foster owner, breeder, shelter director, pet lover or county official – who is so qualified to judge a dog’s so-called aggressive behavior that his word alone is good enough, even if that word means death? I would think not.
But what about cases where the dog’s behavior has been judged by two or three individuals – will any two or three individuals do or should they bring specific qualifications to the table? For example, what if one breeder, one pet lover and one county official all agreed a dog should be killed due to behavior – is that acceptable?
What about alternatives to death – for example an offer of evaluation by an accredited behaviorist and possible sanctuary placement based upon the behaviorist’s recommendation – should such alternatives ever be ignored when the dog has a death sentence hanging over him? If a reasonable alternative is ignored by a rescue group or shelter when killing a so-called dangerous dog, can that group truthfully call itself no kill?
Keep in mind as you answer that there are many different types of dogs who get labeled “aggressive” by rescue groups, shelters and individuals including:
- Dogs who have no bite history of any kind
- Dogs who have attacked other animals but never a human
- Dogs who are fearful and snappy in a shelter environment
- Dogs who have bitten a person (or people) resulting in varying degrees of injury
In other words, not all “aggressive” dogs are equal.