Rescue Journal

let me ask you this...

Carol  ·  Jul. 4, 2010

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


clyde...weaker dogs

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 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 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. 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 i move him from this possible disaster zone to one several miles away?

this is important to think is not just finding a temporary solution to bailey so we can feel better inside our 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 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.

Elaine Strozek

I know and so does many other people that is involved with Saints you will do what is the best for the animal Bailey, staff ,friends and visitors. Im feeling much better now. is there anything I can do to help eg. spend more time with Bailey like nearly every day? Im unable to foster him as i have three cats, two dogs Joey and another small dog. But will be very willing to spend a lot of time with him if you think that will help. Remember I had Buddy gshep dog for 16 years. thanks. Elaine


I remember when Carol had to make the decision about putting down Angel after she killed Carol's beloved cat Murphy..the whole thing was so heartbreaking as Carol had devoted herself so much to Murphy to help him...everyone had an idea re Angel but when Carol needed to have Angel removed from SAINTS no one stepped up...but they sure had lots to say once Angel was put to sleep.there was no way Carol could safely contain the dog from the cats at the time ..I hurt for all of them but to hear critisism when one does not have to manage and live with the difficult problem is most upsetting..and life was much easier after at SAINTS with Angel was also very sad as Murphy left a huge hole in lots of people's heart..

Mauro Salles

Bailey is an old guy (and a big baby too), good to humans and other dogs and I do believe it makes things more difficult.

Since you don't have additional open area that could be isolated ("high" fenced) and shared by him and the other dogs, there are only extreme and even desperate attempts, like Prozac (Cheryl and Stef posted about it). Did you consider things like prong collars?

Anyway, I think tou must contact Best Friends or another rescue group, looking for another alternatives or ideas.


there is a shep rescue that does do good work, but she too has put down dogs who pose a threat to others.

people think there is a magic "no kill " out there somewhere....well there is a couple that i know of in bc but they are not very nice places for animals to live.
best friends is no kill but then they have a $35 million annual budget and 300 paid staff to look after their 1800 animals well.
and their focus is changing..their no more homeless pets project and large scale rescues like puppy mills, hoaders, and laboratory animals...good media coverage and the opportunity for maximum effect of educating the public thru shock and awe and the dogtown series...even bf learned you can't save them all individually so they are focusing on the bigger picture now.
the only problem i see with this is...the dog town series always has happier endings and i am not sure that is true of all dogs there..some are forever confined safely in kennels...they don't all get the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
and maybe those are some of the stories that need to be told.

but here is the good news in rescue, you learn these things as you how to be cynical!


i wasnt thinking just unload bailey so hes someone elses problem, honest! its never really occurred to me that other rescues would NOT be as good as you are, although i guess it should have. i certainly wouldnt give him to animal control, back to a cage with cement floors, i was thinking in my very very inexperienced mind that there was a sheperd rescue group like tdbcr and that they would provide him with a great cat-and-farm-animal free environment. this would be why i run machines at a mill and you run a very successful animal shelter. shit, now i cant find my rose colored glasses anywhere....