Dusty is a red 'pit bull' type dog that was given a behavioral evaluation by Dr. Katherine Houpt. I've embedded the four minute long evaluation:
As you watch the video you'll note tht the dog happily walked in the evaluation room with the animal control officer with the lead. Then, when being stroked by the (clearly) fake hand, the dog shows clear play signals with the hand. The dog showed no aggression when the food bowl was placed in front of it and removed multiple times, and play bowed to the fake doll (and upon the doll's continued approach showed signals of avoidance). The dog jumped up on the stranger at first, but not in an aggressive manner. In a separate video, you can see the excitement with which Dusty met another dog (keeping in mind that this is a high-stimulous environment as you can clearly hear a lot of dog barking in the background.
Dr. Houpt declared Dusty aggressive and recommended killing Dusty because of his "lack of any useful purpose and public safety threat (he) poses". Threat? The dog in the video? Really?
This sure seems like an effort by someone to have the dog killed because of, possibly, perceptions based on the type of dog she is vs any actual behavioral issues.
I've talked about Temp Testing in shelters before -- and strongly believe that too many shelters are using bogus temp testing to declare too many animals "unadoptable" and killing them in the shelter. But in declaring them "unadoptable", don't count them against their kill numbers -- and there are no shortage of shelters out there that are declaring 25-30% of all of their impounds "unadopatable".
There is no rational person who would view the video above and think Dusty poses a threat. She may need to develop better manners, but threatening?
There is a petition on Change.org from a group with the Monroe, MI SPCA appealing the decision to kill Dusty. Please sign the petition and show your support.
And if your shelter has a similar policy on temp testing please stop it now. Temp testing should largely be designed to give behaviorists an idea of what type of training/situations the dog needs help with to make it adoptable. In some rare situations, dogs will be too aggressive to be safely rehomed, but this will be the exception, not the norm. For the most part, temp testing should be designed to show the dog's training needs so people can work with the dog on those needs. Temp testing should not be treated as a pass/fail concept where any dog that "fails" is killed....and certainly dogs that show the behavior of the dog in the video above should not be "failed" and certainly not "killed".
It is a shame when the shelter system fails the dogs it was created to save. So please voice your support for Dusty...and stop Dusty, and dogs like her, from being needlessly killed in shelters.
Here is a link to the backstory behind the dogs in question, who were "rescued" from an alleged dog fighting ring only to be unjustly sentenced to death by their "rescuers" - -the backstory is from the Buster Foundation.
Bad Rap discusses behavior evaluations at their best, and at their worst - -and some good thoughts on how dogs from these situations SHOULD be judged on their evaluations.
The Monroe Daily news has now picked up the story -- unfortnately, without the video footage, it is simply a he said/she said situation. The video really is the damning evidence here.
Shirley over at YesBiscuit! posted the other behavior evaluation videos at her place.
Thanks everyone for covering this story.