how many of you have lived with a seriously aggressive dog that can and will kill, or seriously maim another animal or a human being? (i am not talking about bitchy occasionally bitey..i am talking about the ones who fully intend to do as much damage as they can)
let me count mine both past and present...
bailey..cats and farm animals
maude..chickens and ducks
amos... pigs and who knows who else.
jesse...cats (i won't count his human biting because he is just out to bite, not maim or kill)
dusty.... any animal over 25 pounds...esp. goats, sheep or dogs.
champ... small dogs or cats
angel (the one who came in with an existing bullet lodged in her head..not our current sweetie)...cats
look at the known human biters here that i don't include...jerry, reggie, phoebe, jesse..jerks yes...actually majorly harmfully dangerous no.
some i have managed, some i have found homes for, some i have euthanized...never have any of the decisions been easy...there are consequences to all of the decisions...life long guilt for the ones i put down, future risk here or elsewhere to other animals or humans.
if you have lived with a truly aggressive dog...try living with three or four at one time with people in and out of here and animals everywhere....try living with new ones coming in every year...it is not like you can pick just the nice guys to come in.
mission animal control has 2 known old and wrecked biters waiting for me to go and see them...these dogs have had shitty chained up lives..they have each bitten a person since they came into AC...i am poutting off going to see them because i don't want to deal with more pain in the ass dogs. and i don't know how aggressive these dogs are to other animals either.
there are no easy fixes or easy answers to dogs who pose a significant threat to other living creatures. if i can safely manage them with a reasonable and safe quality of life then that is what i will do. but you cannot always do that.
these guys all got here because when push came to shove and life started to get tough..their owners did the magic and made their dogs and their problems disappear. and i bet any of them who actually cared about their dogs have a pretty nice fantasy going inside their heads about how great is life for them now. they don't want to know that bailey is still at risk because bailey has a big problem that i am not sure i can solve.
animal control will do a trade with me...i can unload bailey on them and take one of their problem dogs instead. but...do you honestly think it is a good idea to send bailey out anywhere, knowing what he is capable of without my safety net under him?
the folks who i think can probably handle his issues and find him a really good home...all have cats..do i move him from this possible disaster zone to one several miles away?
this is important to think about..it is not just finding a temporary solution to bailey so we can feel better inside our heads...it has to be the solution that is permanently right for him..or really ..what is the point in just moving him around...from his home to the spca to saints to rescue A to home B and maybe C or D where he kills a cat and then gets put down anyway.
there are a lot of different kinds of really hurtful things in life...getting booted from place to place to place to place and then getting nuked anyway is a big one.
and i am not saying that i am going to nuke him..i am not even saying that i will forever confine him in a cage...i don`t know what the right thing to do for bailey is but i am trying to figure it out BEFORE all options are stripped away.
but this is a good lesson for those who want to be involved in rescue..it is seemingly small things that can grow really big if we are not careful and totally mess up the animals we were trying to save. if we take our day to day responsibility lightly, and pretend it does not really matter too much`...we are dead wrong.
rescue and caring for sheltered animals is not some kind of disney flick that always has a good ending no matter how messed up the plot actually gets.
rescue is real life and death and turmoil and pain and sadness and unhappiness for the animals themselves if we are not careful in what we do.
rescue is a burden, every single day.
I just wish to pt this out there - not for you Carol because I know you know this - but for your readers because the way it's up now makes it seem black & white & it's not.
I have a very prey driven malamutexgsd. She would have failed the cat test in the shelter. Lucky for her they didn't administer it. She will still go after other cats but she she is completely respectful of OUR cat.
I also foster for a rescue which pulls dogs from native communities where cat is on the <b>menu </b> for the dogs. These guys not only chase & kill b/e of prey drive - they do it to eat & survive.
My current foster fails the cat test outside EVERY freaking day when he lunges like a mad dog after every kitty & squirrel & skunk we see. If he were offleash, he'd be gone like a shot after every furry thing. But he lives peacefully with OUR cat.
So just because a dog exhibits strong prey drive, does not mean they cannot live safely with <i>their</i> cat.
The other thing of course is that they can live safely in a regular home without other pets.
Tons of dog breeds have strong prey drive in their breed description but they live safely in a variety of homes. A cat killing dog is not abnormal - but I grant you that it is increasingly undesirable in our culture. I love cats too so it's not something I take lightly & obviously all these prey driven dogs that stay here aren't allowed to just 'do their thing'.
I have also had one foster who was extremely prey driven & the whole time she was here we had to keep the cat safely locked away. She was deadly serious & she was not going to differentiate between OUR cat & other cats. She was adopted to a non cat home & afaik, is living a happy life.