Fatal Attacks: Rehomed,Shelter+Rescued 500% More Likely

Lots of people don’t want to agree with us on this, because they want to protect shelter dogs. But facing reality is better than ignoring the truth. The category of “re-homed, rescued+shelter” dogs are more than 500% more likely to inflict a fatal attack.

It has already been shown that 50%+ of fatal attacks are done DISPROPORTIONATELY by….

(1) *RESCUED*     (2) *RE-HOMED*    (3) *SHELTER*  DOGS

We say disporportionately because the categories above of rescued, re-homed and shelter dogs–only make up about 15-17% of all dogs. [HSUS claims it’s closer to 20% now by trying to cite APPMA data]

If there are 73-75 million dogs in the USA, the above categories are

ONLY a VERY small fraction of all dogs. To the left is the Golden Retriever that killed a minor child (see inset pic below) in NY.  Amazingly, this dog was then SENT TO THE HELEN WOODWARD CENTER IN RANCHO SANTA FE, CA where over 200 people signed up to adopt this dog that had already killed a child by strangling her with her own scarf. In 2005 in CT, another Golden Retriever had already attacked a child, but the dog was not euthanized. When the same dog attacked yet another child, they decided to kill the dog.

Many of the stories of dogs attacking– FAIL to mention whether the dog is rescued, re-homed, obtained from shelter, obtained as a stray, etc.  This is FAR more important than the dog ‘breed’ because if we believe the social situations and prior acts (environment) involving the dog–actually make up the largest part of the dog’s actions, we are foolish to ignore the re-homed aspect.


recent example 2012:

Woman who rescued animals is killed in dog attack

  • DECATUR, Ga. (AP) — Police outside Atlanta say a college student who took in abandoned animals was attacked and killed by a dog.

DeKalb County police tell The Atlanta Journal-Constitution            (http://bit.ly/TIau2T)              that 23-year-old Rebecca Carey was killed at her Decatur home sometime over the weekend.

Authorities say Carey had five dogs living with her at the time of her death. They included a pit bull she had owned for six years. Other dogs included a boxer mix she had taken in and a Presa, a large Spanish breed. Authorities say she was also dogsitting another Presa for a friend.

The friend discovered her body Sunday afternoon after Carey failed to show up for work at Alpharetta’s Loving Hands Animal Clinic.

DeKalb County police spokeswoman Mekka Parish says all of the dogs were euthanized Wednesday.


Many dog attacks are due to human negligence and lack of knowledge re canines (and thus likely avoidable)—-but it is FAR easier to AVOID the potential 50% of dogs that are rescued, rehomed or shelter—than to try and “claim” that ONLY certain breeds of dogs are responsible for attacking.

If we are just trying to avoid biting dogs, the best prevention is knowledge of canine behavior, NOT watching Animal Planet….NOT believing PETA (who kills 95% of dogs/cats they take in)  By using safety training for the kids–BEFORE you get the dog—Supervision of dog/kids (not leaving any infant or small child alone with any dog)—-Teaching kids what to do if an unknown dog approaches—Teaching kids how to PROPERLY pet a dog (especially NOT to put the hand out over the dog’s head)..   The 2yr old child that wandered into the garage, where apparently  five dogs were, was killed:

http://www.contracostatimes.com/contracostatimes/ci_23910933/trial-begins-grandfather-concord-child-killed-by-pit    Tragic. allegedly 3 of the dogs killed the child, the Mother dog (adopted from Lake County shelter)+2 of her offspring (from unknown male dog, prior to “adoption”)

Here is an example of not-so-smart people>> This is a “re-homing” ad:

…”100lb dog is leash trained, current with all shots, (allegedly rescued recently from a shelter according to this ad),
we have three young children and she is a no nonsense type of dog. Dog has nipped at them a few times, just enough to show them she has no intention of playing. The kids now don’t want to play in the yard while she is there.”

HUH???  What kind of parent goes and rescues a 100lb mixed breed dog, unknown origin, then finds it’s attempting to bite or is nipping kids that are now afraid of dog? Clearly–either kids don’t know how to interact w/dog, or dog is not used to kids, or both, and parent is not very smart in any way. dog100

A prime example of what we mean–those with small kids should avoid re-homed dogs, especially larger dogs. By taking such dogs and moving them in and out of different homes, this only continues to heighten the dog’s anxiety. And yes, this is the exact dog from the ad.

While dog incidents may occur disproportionately in lower socio-economic areas,  the likely cause is NOT because of dog breeds, but because parents and children are not skilled in canine behavior or dog training. The likely cause is NOT necessarily the  chaining of a dog; in fact, it might be that the dog was already known to be aggressive, and that is why it was put on a chain, to keep it from wandering.   However, if the dog was routinely denied human interaction due to never being off the chain, then the culprit is lack of socialization.

We can just make up an example—if Mrs. Rich in the rich neighborhood obtains a dog, an animal extremist or animal rights person might tell her to “adopt” a dog.  Maybe she doesn’t find a dog she likes in the shelter after searching for one.  Finally she manages to “adopt” a small Yorkie from a national Yorkie rescue.  Cute dog, but very spoiled, has bitten 4 people (rescue admitted) and doesn’t like to be petted. Weighs 6lbs.  Mrs. Rich takes dog home, and on 2nd day, dog bites her twice.  Bites the husband on the ankle.  Attempts to bite the in-law.  Mrs. Rich calls her friend and friend says she needs a dog trainer.  Mrs. Rich hires dog trainer and dog trainer tells Mrs. Rich she needs to do some reading on canine behavior and then starts working on the dog’s behavior. Mrs. Rich does not call Animal Control to report the dog bite.

Now let’s go to Mrs. Poor in the not so rich neighborhood. Mrs. Poor has 4 kids and they want a “dog.”  Mrs. Poor doesn’t have enough  money to buy a small breed dog because it’s way over $100, and she can’t really afford the shelter dog either as it’s over $100. [Many rescued dogs are priced at $250, $350, $550, $650 or more, esp. small breeds under 10lb.]  The kids tell Mrs. Poor one of their friends can give them a puppy, so they go and look at them. They don’t know anything about dogs at all, they can’t identify different dog breeds, they have never owned a dog, and they don’t have the slightest clue as what a dog needs.

But the kids are excited and want to get the puppy, which has large feet. [Not going to be a small dog]   Mrs. Poor says ok and they take the dog home.  All of the kids are very excited over the puppy and constantly play with it. When the pup gets tired they still want it to play. After a few weeks, the pup starts to growl at kids when they start tussling over who should feed the dog and one of the kids grabs the dog’s food bowl.

Mrs. Rich is watching TV and doesn’t know anything about what the kids are doing. They take the dog outside and a neighborhood kid comes to visit. He thinks the dog is ugly and wants to hit it with a small stick but the kids owning the dog stop him.  However the pup doesn’t know what’s going on and becomes afraid. The neighhood boy starts to reach out over the pup’s head and the pup bites the boy’s arm causing the boy to scream and shout.  The neighborhood boy’s mom decides to call Animal Control re the puppy biting.

Now you can imagine how this entire scenario would be–if the pup was instead–a larger dog of 65lbs.  It doesn’t really matter so much about dog breed, it depends more on what temperament that individual dog has, and what experience that dog has encountered before it came to owner.

The clear disadvantage of a re-homed, rescued or shelter dog is just that:  We usually don’t know what the background is, or was.  It has already been shown that owners relinquishing dogs to shelters are less likely to disclose owner aggression by the dog.  They don’t want to decrease the dog’s chances of getting a home.

Unfortunately, the truth is that many dogs are surrendered or rehomed and placed in shelters because they have faults. Behavior faults, temperament problems or other issues. It is not based on breed type, or size, but rather lack of training and socializing and sometimes genetics.   An animal of true value–with a good temperament and health–is not usually placed in a shelter, especially if a purebred. [A good example: a purebred Dobie was placed in shelter for euthanizing; rather than killing it, the shelter adopted it out. It killed the new owner shortly after adoption. This was clearly an animal extremist decision.]

Most shelter surrenders are mixed breed dogs.  And most dogs not adopted are usually mixed breed dogs of medium-large size with some type of issue.  They don’t all have issues, but may just lack training.  The deal is, we don’t know exactly what has occurred with each dog–the history will usually never be known.  Many SPCAs and even shelters, will not let families adopt a medium-large dog if they have kids under 10yr of age.  Clearly that is done from a liability standpoint. This is not to say mixed bred dogs are bad.

If I had a small child, however, I would not adopt a dog or obtain one from the shelter. Not because I think the dogs are bad, but because it’s too difficult to tell which dogs have been exposed appropriately to kids, other animals, etc.  I also would not obtain a “re-homed” dog under any circumstances.  The person re-homing may not tell the truth and if/when something happens, your recourse will be difficult and it may be impossible to even find or sue them.

Under the law, if you actually buy a dog from a dog breeder or even a pet store, your recourse is clear because there are usually laws that govern those sales.  The laws are made for the express purpose of covering the consumer, such as in CA.   That doesn’t mean your child can’t be bitten, but the behavior of the new pup is mostly controlled by the owner. Just like a child, a parent needs to mold the behavior.  It is much harder to mold behavior for a pet where you don’t know what it has been through and you have to keep guessing.  For example Jon Katz, the author, obtained a re-homed Border Collie of two years.  The dog ended up biting I believe, 3 people, but in any event, Mr. Katz tried many solutions before finally giving up and realizing the dog could not likely be changed.  He finally decided to put the dog down out of obvious concern for his child.

Clearly, one only has to look at a group of 15% of dogs causing more than 50% of fatal injuries.  That one piece of evidence ALONE is so significant, it clearly shows that re-homed animals, which are PUSHED by animal rights people and extremists—-is NOT necessarily the best CHOICE for ANYONE with kids.  The number of fatal injuries is a very small number to begin with.  But to find that more than 50% of those injuries involve re-homed dogs,  indicates an alarming fact: such dogs are killing way out of proportion to their numbers.