1st March 2007, 06:30 PM
The problem is: if a dog is handed in for being aggressive few shelters or pounds have the resources to temperament test and for most the LAW says there is only one option.
Then consider the strays and other surrenders: there are literally millions put down every day who are delightful, happy dogs and no one cares to get those out. Weighed against the probably two dozen dogs that Dundalk pound will put down this week alone, strays who are happy and healthy and friendly, the life of a dog handed in with specific directions that he be put down for aggression is not going to register. This is not just for reasons of convenience but also legal reasons and resource reasons.
I ask people to take their frustration from this incident and look to their own local pound and shelter and think about how they can help there. Investigate their own policies regarding such dogs (I am sure your local pound has just the same policies) and consider whether to lobby to change, to get in contact with a professional trainer who might volunteer to temperament test; to offer to foster dogs for a local rescue, to foster for breed rescue, to volunteer at a local shelter and start to retrain dogs so they stand a better chance of being rehomed (see how Dee Ganley does this and her training guide for shelters at www.deesdogs.com -- very successful program in new Hampshire that could be duplicated at your local shelter!), to join a lobby group to change how pounds are run and how large breeding facilities are often given state or regional funding support to churn out thousands of dogs many of which will be dumped into pounds to face a similar fate.
I cannot stress enough that these issues are just as big a problem at everyone's LOCAL POUND AND SHELTERS. There are a hundred similar cases as this B&T and some of those killed are cavaliers, every day at shelters across the US, Canada, UK and Ireland in particular. Getting involved enables change to happen. Simply feeling frustrated allows them to continue. We can all work DIRECTLY for positive change.
In memory: Lucy