DEBATE: Biting dogs - euthanize or no?

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Postby pitbullmamaliz » January 6th, 2011, 10:07 pm

If your dog, regardless of breed, bit you or somebody else in a non-self-defense manner (AKA - they weren't defending you or themselves from harm), would you euthanize? Would it matter who they bit? Would it matter what breed? Would it matter what level of bite? Discuss!
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Postby copperlegend » January 6th, 2011, 10:18 pm

If it was completely unprovoked, and either a 'bite and don't let go' or a 'bite and tear' situation, yes.

If it was in a situation where the dog was clearly getting very annoyed and did a 'warning bite', like a quick nip and release or a 'leave me the F alone already' sort of thing, I'd be a little less likely to euthanize, I think.

If it was a situation that made me feel uncomfortable owning the dog, I'd probably choose euthanization unless I found someone with a TON of experience that was willing to adopt it.

Really, it depends on the situation and severity of the bite. And it'd be the same no matter what breed.
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Postby pocketpit » January 6th, 2011, 11:11 pm

Nope, as a general rule I personally would not. I would however take steps to ensure that it doesn't happen again. If I felt that I could not properly contain, restrain or handle the dog in a manner that ensured people would be safe then I feel that euthanasia is warranted. I chose to take care of that dog and in my opinion that means living with the bad as well as the good qualities of said dog.
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Postby amazincc » January 6th, 2011, 11:12 pm

pocketpit wrote:Nope, as a general rule I personally would not. I would however take steps to ensure that it doesn't happen again. If I felt that I could not properly contain, restrain or handle the dog in a manner that ensured people would be safe then I feel that euthanasia is warranted. I chose to take care of that dog and in my opinion that means living with the bad as well as the good qualities of said dog.


Ditto. :)
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Postby mnp13 » January 6th, 2011, 11:15 pm

pocketpit wrote:Nope, as a general rule I personally would not. I would however take steps to ensure that it doesn't happen again. If I felt that I could not properly contain, restrain or handle the dog in a manner that ensured people would be safe then I feel that euthanasia is warranted. I chose to take care of that dog and in my opinion that means living with the bad as well as the good qualities of said dog.

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Couldn't have said it any better.

The VAST majority of bites have plenty of warning signs (I'd venture to say that it's so close to all bites that it's insignificant.) Frequently they are only seen in hindsight, but that doesn't mean that the dog was not trying to tell you ahead of time.
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Postby airwalk » January 7th, 2011, 12:07 am

pocketpit wrote:Nope, as a general rule I personally would not. I would however take steps to ensure that it doesn't happen again. If I felt that I could not properly contain, restrain or handle the dog in a manner that ensured people would be safe then I feel that euthanasia is warranted. I chose to take care of that dog and in my opinion that means living with the bad as well as the good qualities of said dog.


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Postby BullyLady » January 7th, 2011, 4:18 am

pocketpit wrote:Nope, as a general rule I personally would not. I would however take steps to ensure that it doesn't happen again. If I felt that I could not properly contain, restrain or handle the dog in a manner that ensured people would be safe then I feel that euthanasia is warranted. I chose to take care of that dog and in my opinion that means living with the bad as well as the good qualities of said dog.


This exactly!

Sirius bit in an aggressive manner, the simple fact that he was 160 lbs made it super scary, but it was our fault in the end. We knew that it was our fault and we worked with him to make sure it never happened again, and it didn't. It makes me sad to think that someone would insist we have missed out on all the wonderful times we had with him and his new family continues to have with him simply because of a bite that was our fault to begin with.
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Postby Malli » January 7th, 2011, 5:42 am

It would depend entirely on the situation.

I consider bites that happen in a "fit of panic" to be almost... omittable from the record, so to speak. Like what may happen when the dog becomes so stressed, panicked, and afraid that it's actions are autopilot.

If I couldn't keep others safe from the dog's behavior, or barring the above circumstance, I may consider it.
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Postby TheRedQueen » January 7th, 2011, 11:19 am

In my case, it depends on whether or not it's *MY* dog...a dog that I'm committed to 100%. If it's a foster dog than the circumstances are indeed changed, because now I have to find a home for a biting dog...and would worry about the safety of the public and that adopter. So that changes things for me.

It also depends on the nature of the bite...breaking skin, multiple bites, etc.

Yes, I have euth'd a foster dog...a pit bull, for trying to bite. And yes, I recommended another to be euth'd...but the rescue took her back and is trying to rehab her and her sister (non-pit bulls). I just don't see wasting money and energy on a project dog that may not work out in the end when there are so many lovely dogs that are being killed for lack of space in rescues.
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Postby dlynne1123 » January 7th, 2011, 3:45 pm

It would depend on if the dog were owned by someone or a rescue dog. In my personal case, I agree with every earlier, its my responsibility, I live with both the good and the bad parts of the dog. Its my commitment to the end. If things go unstable or unpredictable, then yes I would consider euthanasia. I've had to do it in the past, and it never gets any easier.

For rescues, I can't avoid feeling liable if something happens after a dog is adopted out so if I adopt out a dog, knowing it had issues before adoption, I couldnt' live with myself. I would choose euthanasia and have a spot for another, friendlier dog to adopt out.

It does not matter the breed. Pomeranians or bullies or labs, the fact doesn't change that they all have teeth and could hurt someone.
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Postby pocketpit » January 7th, 2011, 4:03 pm

I guess it would help to know if the question is aimed at an owned dog vs a foster dog. I stand by my original answer for an "owned' dog but I believe the rules are different for foster dogs. Then a lot of variables come into play when making my decision.
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Postby amazincc » January 7th, 2011, 4:08 pm

pocketpit wrote:I guess it would help to know if the question is aimed at an owned dog vs a foster dog. I stand by my original answer for an "owned' dog but I believe the rules are different for foster dogs. Then a lot of variables come into play when making my decision.



Any foster biter would probably end up being a permanent houseguest at my house... :rolleyes2: :oops:
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Postby pocketpit » January 7th, 2011, 4:17 pm

Any foster biter would probably end up being a permanent houseguest at my house...


It's happened here :) I do not take on any foster with a biting history without being prepared to keep it or make a difficult decison. I've had to do both.
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Postby plebayo » January 7th, 2011, 4:18 pm

Dirt nap.

I don't tolerate biting unless the dog has a good reason ie: the dog was cornered, the dog is guarding property and someone ignores the dog and comes into the yard, the dog is fearful and was in a situation to fail.

Even though things can be managed it only takes once for something to wrong. I also don't really think that it is really a good life for the dog if the dog geels the need to attack things for no real known reason. Living lift crated isn't fair either.

all of this oppinion is based on a dog who is an unprovoked, random biter who even with time/training doesn't improve and is still dangerous.
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Postby amazincc » January 7th, 2011, 4:49 pm

plebayo wrote:all of this oppinion is based on a dog who is an unprovoked, random biter who even with time/training doesn't improve and is still dangerous.



I'm no behaviorist by any stretch of the imagination, but IMO very, very few dogs fall into the "unprovoked, random biter" category... it might look unprovoked and random to us, but clearly the dog has a "reason" for his/her response.
Could be anything from lack of training to health problems... I do understand that not everyone has the resources to do lengthy and often costly "detective work" on what makes their dog tick in any given situation.
I have lived w/two biters... who were euthanized for health reasons, not for biting. :(
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Postby airwalk » January 7th, 2011, 10:49 pm

First, I agree with Christine there are very few, completly unprovoked random biters...there are reasons, there are usually plenty of warnings...I have seen very few truly unhinged dogs that bite just to bite.

I agree with Dawn's comments on owned dogs and I also agree that there are many more variables with a foster dog. At the shelter, depending on the circumstances of the bite (before the dog arrived)...if it is a dog we are even considering the possibility of being adoptable..we push them very, very hard. We are trying to replicate the circumstances of the bite..we are trying to find the dogs threshhold and bite response. Too low or too unpredictable...not adoptable.
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Postby plebayo » January 7th, 2011, 10:58 pm

amazincc wrote:
plebayo wrote:all of this oppinion is based on a dog who is an unprovoked, random biter who even with time/training doesn't improve and is still dangerous.



I'm no behaviorist by any stretch of the imagination, but IMO very, very few dogs fall into the "unprovoked, random biter" category... it might look unprovoked and random to us, but clearly the dog has a "reason" for his/her response.
Could be anything from lack of training to health problems... I do understand that not everyone has the resources to do lengthy and often costly "detective work" on what makes their dog tick in any given situation.
I have lived w/two biters... who were euthanized for health reasons, not for biting. :(


I was on my phone earlier - perhaps I can better explain myself. All of this is situational, it entirely depends on the bite and what lead up to it. The question was asking if the dog bit in a non-self-defense manner, meaning the dog is not protecting a person or itself from harm etc...

I just will not tolerate biting. If it is defending itself[IE: trying to bite] from having its nails trimmed, simply because it doesn't want them done, I do not find that acceptable. You can cry, you can runaway, you can tell me how awful it is but you cannot eat me.

I would have no qualms euthanizing a dog that I could not trust to let me handle it. I like having dogs that I can touch all over, do anything with, and trust that they won't injure me.

I realize that isn't the way for everyone. I don't want to be liable for more than I already am in choosing to own dogs. It only takes one time for a dog to kill a child or seriously hurt a person, it just isn't something I want to be part of. I wouldn't want to live in fear of my dog. :|
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Postby mnp13 » January 7th, 2011, 11:31 pm

airwalk wrote:First, I agree with Christine there are very few, completly unprovoked random biters...there are reasons, there are usually plenty of warnings...I have seen very few truly unhinged dogs that bite just to bite.

Yup.
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Postby iluvk9 » January 8th, 2011, 9:06 am

Lenny came to me as a biter with "no reasons". No warnings: no lip curled, no snarl, no hair up. Sometimes I would just walk BY him and he would go for me with a nip at my leg or hand, if I was walking near him. I assume it is because he was crated 24/7 for his first 10 years. :|

I think he learned life isn't so bad living with me and the other dogs and cat. :confused: Now he only tries to bite when I try to make him do something he doesn't want to. (Drop something or come in.) But at least I see it coming...

I am no trainer 8) and still can't clicker train, but he came along rather well. I still tell people who visit: "DON'T touch the Golden!"
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Postby airwalk » January 8th, 2011, 11:33 am

The difference Joyce is I don't know, but I would bet somewhere along the line Lenny learned not to warn...he learned to protect himself. Not necessarily good and frankly, you and I both know that if Lenny had found his way to a shelter environment, he probably wouldn't have been found adoptable with those behaviors.

Because you saw what was happening and were sufficient committed to work through them, he is what he is today. That's what I consider living with both the good and the bad of our personally owned dogs.

As for bitinng with nail trims, etc....Scooter has nailed (pardon the pun) me twice in his life on nail trims. Would I have blown it huge if I had euthanized him...oh lordy yes! He doesn't like his nails trimmed...I mean he really doesn't like his feet messed with..period. I have worked very hard over the years to desensitize him to that activity and we can now trim somewhat easily. It still takes two people and I hold with some firm commands.

So would I have short changed both Scooter and myself if I had euthanized him for the bites...words cannot describe how lousy that would have been.
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