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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Is This Dog Dangerous? Shelters Struggle With Live-or-Die Tests

Bacon, a cream-colored retriever mix, took a behavior test recently at an animal shelter here. He flunked.

Bounding into the evaluation room, Bacon seemed like an affable goofball, ready for adoption. But as he gulped down food, Dr. Sara Bennett, a veterinary behaviorist, stuck a fake plastic hand attached to a pole into his bowl and tugged it away. Instantly, Bacon lunged at the hand, chomping down on it hard.

Shelters have used this exercise and others for some 20 years to assess whether a dog is safe enough to be placed with a family. For dogs, the results can mean life or death.

“If you failed aggression testing, you did not pass go,” said Mary Martin, the new director of Maricopa County animal shelter in Phoenix, which takes in 34,000 dogs annually. Between January and June 2016, 536 dogs were euthanized for behavior, most because of test results.

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13 comments:

Anonymous said...

We had a dog with food aggression issues once. A pitbull basset mix. You did not mess with her food, but in every other respect she was a sweet dog.

Anonymous said...

Seems like more of a liability thing

Anonymous said...

Stupid test. Alot of animals are feeding aggressive. If thats the only issue, dont take their food away.

Anonymous said...

Good test! Keeps adopters (and their children) safe from dog bites and attacks.

Anonymous said...

If a dog snaps at an hand, it has to die. This is a very good test for later attacks. Try it on a Pitt Bull, they rip the arm apart! We test them and other dogs on their food in a bowl. Has never not happened on a Pitt.
I worked in county pound for 25 years.

Anonymous said...

536 out of 17,000 euthanized. That's 3% of the dogs they take in, that are put down due to aggressive tendencies. Sounds like a VERY humane shelter. Dangerous dogs have no business being adopted. Especially biters.

Anonymous said...

I have two Welsh Corgies, They are always aggressive at meal time, but have never bitten me unless I get between them if they start fighting. I have always learned to never tease a dog or play with them at meal time. They have to be trained and they learn fast to be gentle when taking food from your hand. I am a firm believer there are no bad dogs, just bad dog owners.

Anonymous said...

If anyone bothered to read the article, they deemed the test unreliable and faulty. So it is a stupid test.

Anonymous said...

What would most humans do if someone came in to take away the one meal a day, which is what most dog owners do, one feeding, which they got? How would you react if the only source of nutrition was taken away while you were eating? in dogs it is instinct to protect your food from other dogs or animals from taking it. It is the same with any animal with the exception of cats who always have food available. Just try to feed your cat once a day and they will become aggressive for food from anywhere they perceive it to be, even in a closed cabinet!

Anonymous said...

10:20 is full of excrement! What a joke some of these commentators are...

Anonymous said...

most dogs are protective of their food & must be taught not to be.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have two Welsh Corgies, They are always aggressive at meal time, but have never bitten me unless I get between them if they start fighting. I have always learned to never tease a dog or play with them at meal time. They have to be trained and they learn fast to be gentle when taking food from your hand. I am a firm believer there are no bad dogs, just bad dog owners.

August 2, 2017 at 10:39 AM:

What??!! You have dogs that you will allow to bite you? If the dogs can do that, then they are the masters of the house. You are a wuss for making excuses for allowing dangerous behavior by your dogs in your house. It sounds like you have allowed the dogs to train YOU, and not the other way around. Too bad you are "anomynous." No children should ever be allowed on your property, and if you don't cage the animals when you have house guests, you are wide open for a lawsuit when the dogs bite a guest. You have already admitted that you know the dogs will even bite their "master." That should NEVER happen. I agree with your last statement. You are one of the "bad" dog owners.

Anonymous said...

A dog must learn, or be taught, not to bite the hand that feeds it. If it is an adult dog that hasn't been taught, then it shouldn't be allowed for adoption. If it isn't eligible for adoption, then it is euthanized. Perfectly logical, and acceptable policy concerning placement of unwanted animals. Biters cannot be allowed to be placed with families.