But What About the Nice Dogs?

2 Jun

This might feel like we’re jumping on the bandwagon, but we’ve been discussing this on and off for weeks. First with the case of the dog that “mauled” the child in his own backyard and now lately with the dog that had its ass kicked by that cat when he tried to attack a child.


To get to the point we’re trying to make with this article first we need to talk about Real Dog People vs. Dog Lovers. We consider ourselves Real Dog People (you down with RDP? Yeah you know me.) Of course, we love dogs. More than we love people, most of the time. We also aren’t stupid. We know there’s a line. We know dogs, almost as much as we love them and that’s the difference between RDP and Dog Lovers. Dog Lovers LOVE dogs. They’re the people that come up and lean over a nervous dog, cooing in a baby voice and just asking to be snapped at. They’re the people that assume every undersocialized dog in a shelter was horribly abused and every slightly scarred pit type thing was a bait dog. They really do have the dog’s best interest at heart… or at least what they consider the dog’s best interest. Rather it actually benefits the dog or not remains to be seen.


That brings us to our point. We have a question for all the Save Mickey type folks  out there. What about the nice dogs? What about those fantastic loving dogs of all breeds and mixes that have never bitten a person, the ones who die while you tie up funds and space saving a dog that will live toothless in a concrete box for the rest of his life? Do those dogs not also deserve life?

We aren’t getting sappy here (Well, we aren’t trying to.). We’re asking a serious question. We also aren’t being inconsiderate of the dog. In fact, we’d say that we’re very much considering the happiness of these dogs, much more than those who fight to save them… only to have them stuck in a 4×6 kennel run for the rest of their lives. That’s no life for a young physically healthy dog.


So, naturally, the outrage over the recent lab/chow mix has us confused. In case you’ve fallen behind on your viral video watching, here’s the video.

The average person watching this video probably laughs at the cat going after the dog. Anyone dog savvy has an entirely different opinion though. To RDP, we see something disturbing. We see a dog that is quite obviously stalking a small child. This wasn’t a fear bite, this wasn’t even a guarding bite. The  child wasn’t speeding by on a bike, he wasn’t teasing the dog. He was peddling around in his own driveway and the dog clearly spotted him from quite some distance and began stalking him. This was a dog with extreme prey drive that stalked the boy, grabbed him, shook him, and attempted to drag him off. This is a dog with zero bite inhibition who meant serious harm to that child.


Now let’s talk about what the Dog Lovers saw. Go peruse any story related to this and you’ll find all sort of victim blaming and discounting of the dog’s actions in the comments.  Should the dog have been confined?  Yep. Should it have been trained?  You betcha. Is it still a seriously scary dog even taking into account those “human” elements?  Absolutely.  And yet, there are hordes of Dog Lovers begging the SPCA to save this dog and rehab him, even offering their own hard-earned money for his continued care. It should be noted that in this case, the Bakersfield SPCA ended up euthanizing the dog (the right choice, in our opinion) despite the public pressure to save him.


So, again, we have to pose the question.  When there are so many truly wonderful, truly adoptable dogs in shelters that are euthanized every day because of lack of space or money, why are so many “rescue” people focusing on saving this one animal?  We can’t save them all, but we fail to see why we should save one that poses a serious safety risk at the expense of throngs of others who ended up in shelters through no fault of their own. And even if we could save them all, should we? As animal lovers should we really be warehousing these dogs for an indefinite fate in a shelter with public funds?  While truly damaged and dangerous dogs are few and far between, they do exist, and even if this were just poor socialization and management, the damage has already been done. It’s a dangerous precedent when the indignation over the justifiable euthanasia of a dog who’s launched an unprovoked attack on a child garners more offers for adoption and help than the friendly dog a few kennels over. Where is the outrage when that dog gets euthanized? And the stable friendly dog in the kennel next to that one? And the next one? Where are the candlelight vigils and Facebook campaigns? How many spaces can dangerous dogs take up in shelters? What happens when there’s no space for any stable dogs, do we open another shelter? Is this really what animal rescue will come down to? We sure hope not.

*It is worth noting, since the time this article was stated, the Lab/Chow mix has been euthanized. Kudos to that shelter. Let’s hope it sets a precedent.

103 Responses to “But What About the Nice Dogs?”

  1. L.M. Ashley June 4, 2014 at 3:05 pm #

    I love dogs, and I know dogs. I used to be a trainer and handler, I have trained all kinds of dogs for just about every activity and purpose (except dog fighting of course), and I was horrified when I saw the surveillance video.
    The dog noticed the boy and hunted him. It was a completely unprovoked attack on a small child. Had the cat not intervened when it did, he could have been killed with a bite to the head or neck.
    The fact that this dog was not more than a pup itself and had that much of a predatory mind set, instead of being friendly and playful, makes me think it an extremely dangerous dog.
    Sad but true that some dogs are just not fit to coexist with humans and it has nothing to do with breed, or necessarily about background, and everything to do with individual personality.
    I believe that the right thing was done in this case.

  2. organictroll June 4, 2014 at 6:22 pm #

    I agree 100%. Why do the dogs with serious issues get all the devotion while so many sweet dogs get put down? It’s like if we’d rather save the life of one psychopathic murderer than a dozen little kids.

  3. Alicia Graybill June 4, 2014 at 8:18 pm #

    You want to know why people want to save this dog and not the other one? Because this dog is “famous.” If I adopt a “famous” dog, I’ll be looked on as a great person and I’ll get a lot of attention for putting forth the extra time and money to take on a “difficult case.” Want to know one of the reasons I stopped volunteering at my local shelter? We had a golden come into the shelter who had been roaming the off-ramp area of the local interstate highway. She was very frightened and nearly impossible to catch but with patience and lots of raw liver, she was eventually captured. Now, being a golden, she should have been a happy-go-lucky, outgoing dog but she wasn’t. Even allowing for her time on the loose, she was tremendously shy–definitely not the appropriate temperament for a golden. When she went up for adoption, over 100 people applied to adopt her. They checked everyone out but there were still a large number of potential adopters so they did a lottery. When the “winner” was announced, there were several who hung around for a while to see if the winner would back out. While they waited, I walked around and talked to several of them, There were a few other big retriever mixes in the kennels so I mentioned those perfectly wonderful dogs to these “dog lovers.” To a one, they all said “Oh, no! We wanted the freeway dog because she was on TV.” It’s not always for love of dogs that people adopt the “famous” ones.

    • Christal June 5, 2014 at 3:42 pm #

      I know exactly how you feel. I live in Alabama, and about eight months ago, we had a puppy mill bust in Colbert County. All 200+ Yorkies and Poms went to the local animal shelter. They were inundated with calls from people wanting to adopt these dogs. They saw purebred toy breeds that got some tv time and lost their minds. It was so bad that the police were called when want to be adopters were beating down the doors like a crazed mob.

      Most of these people, like the people that wanted to adopted that Golden, had no idea of what it would really take to get these dogs to be normal household companions. Some puppy mill survivors never come around.

      We did pull ten of the 200+ dogs from that shelter. Most of our foster homes that deal with toy breeds, my home included, had fosters that were just recently adopted, so we had the room for them. We also knew that if just anyone was allowed to adopt these guys, they would likely end up back in a shelter when the adopter finally realized just what they had gotten into.

      One of those particular dogs is still in foster care, and after 8 months with an experienced foster that has puppy mill survivors of her own, he is still a hot mess.

      We did get some flack about why save those ten instead of the other dogs in that shelter. Well, we pull what we have fosters for. Most of what was in that shelter before the puppy mill dogs were large breeds. It’s unfortunate, but the toy breeds place quicker, so it takes a lot longer for one of our large breed fosters to open up. We just didn’t have any large breed fosters available at that time.

      As for the overall content of this article, we will not waste resources on a dog that we feel poses a serious threat. With the dog from that video, there was no doubt in my mind that it should be humanely euthanized.

  4. Becky June 4, 2014 at 8:29 pm #

    We adopt senior dogs at our house so no need to look for famous ones since it’s too darn easy to find a senior. Animal Rescue is starting to become a “bad” word to me for exactly for the reasons you’ve stated. The other place to look for the craziness is with the carriage horse controversy in New York. Well cared for (better than many pet horses) horses being driven out of their jobs by “Animal Rescue”. Animal Rescue, no thanks, I’ll stick with RDP!

    • pommom101690 June 5, 2014 at 3:44 pm #

      I, too, love a senior! It’s really all I adopt anymore! My newest foster is ancient. We pulled him from the shelter knowing he would likely be in foster care forever. He’s just a special guy.

      I disagree about the horses though. I have never seen a carriage horse in a big city that looked content. I don’t doubt that some of these horses may be well cared for medically, but I do doubt that pulling a cart in a city like New York is the healthiest thing for a horse.

      • Becky June 6, 2014 at 5:05 pm #

        We can agree to disagree.

  5. Aiden June 5, 2014 at 4:49 am #

    im not sure how anyone could say the kid was at fault for this one. that dog stopped. looked at the kid and went right for him like he was a little bunny and snapped that poor kids leg.. thats the kind of dog that cant be helped and im glad he was put down even if it is still sad for an animal lover like me.

  6. Leaena June 6, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    I’m glad the dog was humanely euthanised, the stalking was incredibly scary and I shudder to think what might have happened if the cat wasn’t there. After watching interviews of the family it seems like the cat was protecting her human kitten, I have seen one of my foster mum cats attack like that when she thought her kitten was in danger from my dog. The silly kitten decided to steal food from my dogs bowl, which I thought was empty, and then choked on it luckily I was able to dislodge the food and I made sure that my pup was finished his food before letting the kittens out in the future.

    On another note I didn’t realise that Chows had such a bad reputation in the USA. I have only met one Chow in my entire life as a RDP and she is the sweetest thing. Here in Western Australia we also don’t have Pitbulls (restricted breed like Dogos and Tosas) most of our big scary dogs are labelled as Mastiffs, GSD, Staffies, Ridgebacks or Rotties! Also most of our shelters are full of Staffies, kelpies and Australian Cattle Dog mixes though we are getting lots of Sharpei’s and Maltese coming in aswell.

  7. Jen November 16, 2014 at 6:39 am #

    Loving your blog! Stumbled upon it and feeling content to say I identify as a RDP! Nice to know there are others out there- I was starting to feel concerned that I didn’t classify as a true dog lover (no candlelight vigils for a while, but I have a lovely and well-trained Havanese pup from a reputable breeder) and where is there a place for someone like me? I’m interested in pursuing professional training and I think a little bit of objectivity is incredibly useful for that.

    From a behaviour study point of view, that video is pure gold. Glad the kid is ok and situation got sorted. Looking forward to reading the rest of your material.

  8. KaD July 2, 2016 at 5:32 pm #

    We can’t save them all, and we shouldn’t try: http://dogtime.com/dog-health/dog-behavior/19805-advocacy-column-we-cant-save-them-all-and-we-shouldnt


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