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« Denmark Breed Ban is failing (and why the solution is not more banning) | Main | No Kill Conference 2011 -- how to follow along »

July 26, 2011


Alyn Dunn

wow, i guess my 7 1/2 year old pit mix is just waiting to kill us in our sleep, she acts just like dusty, she lets me man-handle her food dish, she even lets me pull treats out of her mouth, well things she thought were treats. she bounces on people, she approaches children and if they made that horrible racket made by that doll i imagine she would fond something else to be intrested in as well. every dog has a purpose, it's called being a pet, bringing us comfort, lowering our blood pressure, and making us laugh.


Keira -- I concur. As ridiculous as the Sue Steinberg test is Dusty still passed with flying colors. I have no idea what it would take to pass if this is failing -- unless the dog slept through the entire test.

Alyn, your comment is right on. There is no way a couple of my dogs would pass. One is super-toy motivated (she's a great frisbee dog) and would no doubt think that hand was a toy (there is no way it smells or looks like a real hand to a dog). And yes, pets have a very good purpose in our lives, and this dog looks like she would be perfectly suited for that purpose.


While you were busy reading, writing, or commenting on this article - several adoptable dogs were put to sleep. How about working on proactive matters instead of reacting by signing petitions? In order for shelters to stop HAVING TO put dogs to sleep, we need to get people to stop breeding, and spay/neuter their animals. Shelter workers are doing a job not many people would be willing to do, and most of them do it because they love animals but are realistic about the fact that not every one can be saved.



Animals weren't killed in shelters because I wrote this blog or anyone else read this blog or because someone took time to sign a petition.

The reality is that there are still a large number of shelters that a) still use the ridiculous Sue Steinberg test for assessment and b) call non-aggressive animals aggressive and kill them for no good reason.

If you want to end the killing in shelters, this is a component that needs to be addressed, as is spaying and neutering.

But don't let your singular focus hide the realities that many shelters are failing not becaue people are not spaying and neutering but because the shelters are failing on their own merits.

wanda beaven

realy that dog vicious WHERE.i have 3 staffies of my own they will jump and greet you my grandchildren take their foood away,dusty 2 me was tryin to get away from it and at 1 point tryin 2 ignor it but had the doll ram n his face,im sure this dr would not love something shoved in her face that she tryin to ignor and escape from,i think she should give up her job as it clearly shows she not capable of doing it properly,people likke her make me sick bless her she couldnt prove herself anymore xxx to u dusty xxx

Lori S.

MJ, this dog has a rescue willing and able to take her (and three other dogs from the same court case). There will be three more dead dogs as a result of these bogus evaluations. These are dogs who will be deemed "unadoptable" by the shelter who is killing them, so the killing "doesn't count."

If this shelter would stop fighting (and fighting) to kill these dogs, they would have four more kennel spaces for many OTHER dogs who need saving.


That dog showed absolutely NO signs of aggression!! What is wrong with these people?? She was so happy and wanted to play. This really does need to be changed because helpless, friendly dogs are being put down for NO reason!! If she was so visious she would have tried to attack the handler who was right at her side!!

Jim Stay

I would have bit that person if she poked me with that "hand" 20 or 30 times like she did. She wasn't petting him. Dogs know a hand from a stick.

Then he did a "submissive" bow at the doll, and after she pushed him into the corner with the doll, he still just avoided.

Any other breed would have gotten an A+ for the behavior

Toni Liguori

That is a bomb-proof dog if I ever saw one. I really was most disturbed that not once did any human ever touch that dog or try to give it any sense of assurance and still she behaved better than some of my own dogs would have. What a fantastic dog. I'd give my right arm to have her in my rescue.


Imagine that scenario from the perspective of an animal that lives throught scent and sound. What a brave-hearted creature. I know in my heart that humans, including that vet and whoever designed that test...well, their day of "testing" WILL come. My heart hurts for the innocent creatures, but I also pray for the humans who are someday answerable to their own Judge.


They barely got out with their lives!! What a nazi ***hole quack doctor.


This video not only angers me, it saddens me deeply...


This dog clearly is wagging his tail the whole time and looking to play. Anyone who knows Pits knows that these are not agressive moves at all. This is totally unjust!!! And just look at that pibble smile!!! I would let her into my home in a heart beat and I have a 5 year old child and two other pitties....

Michael lafferty

The truth of the matter is that you need to use this video to show that the person doing the "temperment testing" should be tested and found incompadent of being able to do her job correctly and should be removed from being allowed to test any other animals. This animal never stopped wagging it tail even when that scary doll followed it around the room,the dog kept moving away but still waged its tail most of that time also. PLEASE report this lady !

Jackson Savage

In this video, Dusty chose the right answer with most things he was presented. I am a canine behaviorist with 30+ years of experience & deal with aggressive & misbehaving dogs on a daily basis. This isn't the first time I have blatantly disagreed with Houpt - she may be a scientist but she obviously has NO practical experience if she is deeming Dusty aggressive & not adoptable. It saddens & sickens me that she is conducting evaluations & interpreting them incorrectly, & even worse, she instructs veterinary students to do the same. Very sad & very wrong!!

Trudy Menard

Are you fu***in kidding me? This is most unfair thing I have ever seen. This dog is super sweet even looking to the animal control officer for guidance on what to do. I notice the animal control officer is not too interested in the dog either. How can you be around that dog and not offer him a pet of reassurance or comfort while this bony wicked granny witch sends him to death for doing nothing? In my opinion with excitement and noise level alone I think this dog absolutely a winner! Sweet sweet soul just looking to please the cold heartless humans around it. I don't think the boney granny bitch likes pit bulls. I mean really the stranger coming in with that outfit and demeanor. I am telling you my little Cairn terrier would have looked like Cujo compared to that dog and might of even tried to nip her and the environment alone would have him all out of whack anyhow. I have heard about this gruesome granny evaluator and her methods. She needs to go!


Many "no kill" shelters are only allowed to kill for medical or behavioral problems, and so look for the tiniest cold or the smallest "aggression" as a means to save themselves space and money. The NY animal control is notorious for this, killing an everage of 20 dogs a day, even ones that rescues request. They also abort puppies and kittens (even full term) and because they were never born, they never even count their deaths in their tally. And they can do this while still claiming to be "no kill". Disgusting.


And what is that woman a doctor of, exactly? It can't POSSIBLY be in animal behavior, because any number of novices could tell you that dog showed no signs of aggression. Where did she get her degree, a cracker jack box? I'm also still thunderstruck over the "any useful purpose" line. Dogs have a vast array of personality traits and all of them can be harnessed into productive activities. Some of the smartest dogs behave the worst in shelter situations. German shepherds shut down and growl. Border Collies spin in circles. This system is so absolutely broken beyond words.

Lori S.

I think as a general rule, you could say that the local media has been very biased against the Monroe SPCA and Buster Foundation. You'd think that with the he said / she said angle, they'd be all over it looking for some kind of scandal at EITHER end, after all, the love government "corruption" and government waste stories. But so far, not so much. Disappointing.


My friend lives in the Detroit area and became involved with these dogs through her scent detection trainer. She spent several weeks getting to know all of the dogs, and specifically Dusty, spending time with them and actually taking them to her home and allowing them to play poolside with her other dogs (two pitties, a golden and a lab).

Here is her write-up on the incident--some "behind the scenes" details as well as extra videos, including one of Dusty and the other pit bull Razzle poolside and playing with other dogs.


That Dr. Houpt should not be allowed to evaluate any more animals, because she is obviusly dilusional, and has no concept of reality. Is such a high anxiety situation, I believe that Dusty passed with flying colors. He even did not jump on the "child", and when he got nervous he backed away.

I think it is obvious that ignorant people are trying to weed out the pit bulls in this country. And when their erradicated, they ill move on to another breed, until all we're left with is Labradoodles and whatever the newest designer breed is.


This is dog is so sweet. There are CGC dogs in my class who passed who weren't has calm and sweet as this one. If it were a poodle she would have passed him. I have a home right here with me, Dusty! You are sweet and Jess has it right, she was smiling at the doll. I don't think she was afraid of the doll...but I would be hiding too if it kept coming after me. Dusty was probably thinking...what do you want from me?

John Brooks

AGREE 100% that this was most definitely a set-up. Same thing happened to a good friend's sweet APBT she'd gotten as a service dog. It had a CGC and had been fostered by a family w/3 little kids since puppyhood, and had also traveled to all kinds of festivals and functions as a breed ambassador. I'd been recommended to this "trainer" who worked with the disabled to train them as service teams, but I guess I missed or ignored the first "red flag" when I told him over the phone the dog's breed. He said he'd have recommended my friend get a different dog if we'd asked first because of public "perception" of pits, but agreed to an eval. The dog passed every test w/flying colors, but then the trainer had the assistant put on a nylon poncho and a "Jason" mask and advance menacingly on the dog while furiously flapping the poncho. No reaction from the dog; in fact, she walked right up to "Jason" wagging her tail and looking up expectantly. This evidently annoyed the trainer who crowded up behind the dog and bumped her repeatedly with his knees, pushing her into the masked figure still furiously flapping the poncho. The dog finally let out one short little "arf," cocked her head, and tried to back away but the trainer was right behind her still thumping with his knees. Then he turns to us shaking his head and says the dog is too "aggressive" to ever be a service animal. Incredibly, he then told us that "new research" has shown that the way pitbulls' skulls grow creates pressure on the brain, causing them to become increasingly more unpredictable and "vicious" as they get older. Instantly I realized his problem all along was breed bias, and he'd never intended to "pass" this dog. I couldn't help laughing at first, but when I realized he was serious I told him this was a myth I'd first heard myself in 1970 about DOBERMANS. I said it was irresponsible to use his position as a "professional" to spread false and prejudicial information as fact, especially in the current climate of sensationalism about pitbulls which causes people to fear and hate the breed and ultimately results in BSL. He got nasty and we left. Yes, there are still far too many biased and malicious people in this world with too much power, and the person in this video is unfortunately one of them. Poor Dusty. I'm physically sick as well angry.

Ted Moore

Look carefuly at the first 2 minutes of this video. What a remarkable dog to have done so well during such a botched "evaluation".

Dixie Crosspost

World Animal Awareness Society has also been covering the case. Protest regarding the dogs:

Monroe News about protest:

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