Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Not half the story

From Toronto City TV news, Six-Month-Old Puppy Found Shivering Under Car:

"The pup is a lab mix and about 6 months old."

A lab mix? Judging from the accuracy of that statement, you may be tempted to think this particular news story could be missing some pertinent facts. And you'd be right.

It doesn't mention that this young dog is one of a pair of likely siblings which came into TAS. The other sibling was also found at large. The report also doesn't mention that the two dogs are pretty much feral, afraid of everything and everyone.

Take a careful look at the beginning of the video with the dog underneath the red car. The dog isn't lying calmly under the car. It's terrified. Look at the chain. It's stretched to its limit. There's a very short segment of the video at around the 17 second mark where if you follow the chain away from the dog, you'll see something a little surprising. The other end of the chain is actually lying under the wheel of the police car. This is because the police had to drive over the chain so the young dog wouldn't run away.

Watch the fear in the dog's eyes when the policeman hands it a bowl of food.

And here's the worst part. The dogs bite. They're terrified. They bite fast and hard. They've been ruined by their previous owner and now they're human fearing, untrained, big, young powerful biting dogs.

So what's going to happen to them? I don't know. No one knows yet. Assessments will have to be made, liabilities considered, politics will have to be played out, the media will have to be addressed.

Is there a place in our world for these two ruined dogs and can it be found soon enough?

Continued here.


monica said...

so sad.

Joanne said...

These dogs, with the right training, can learn to overcome their biting. They have to learn about human kindness and to inhibit their biting. It can be done and I hope someone has the skill and desire to help them. It is definitely not a lost cause by any means.

Cathrine said...

Yes, there is a place for them: they are young, they *can* be rehabilitated. Think of the Vicks dogs -- surely that is not a one off!

Whether or not this place will be found in time depends on how fast the network can get the word out, and how far the network spreads.

I hope TAS has a good network. Surely somewhere there is one human willing to invest the time and love needed to repair the damage done by another.

Anonymous said...

This story broke my heart, especially when I read the behind-the-scenes stuff that you posted (thanks, Fred, I was hoping you would...).

I'm with Joanne. Getting them away from their home situation may be the best thing that could happen to these dogs. I'm hoping they will learn about human kindness. It is possible. My youngest dog is a mill survivor and the sweetest dog on this planet, although I suppose some folks would want to debate that... ;o)

Anonymous said...

Fred, that dog is in a cell with just a kong? Or am I missing something? Tell me there's a warm blanket or something else besides the cold concrete! Poor little guy.

Anonymous said...

If these guys are cane corso's or mixes, Wikipedia is down on the American version: "Although many breeders claim that these dogs are aggressive, the true Corso should be indifferent when approached and should only react when a real threat is present. However, "the majority of the American version of the Corso do not possess the proper temperament for this breed."

On the other hand, we North Americans often want our dogs to be like Lassie or some quintessential golden retriever. So I can see the disconnect. But we don't all have goldens, and some of us actually do have very good guard dogs that would give pause to mainstream golden owners. There are two absolutely magnificent akitas in my neighbourhood. I hold out hope that these little guys can be rehabilitated.

Fred said...

I don't think anyone will be arguing whether or not these dogs can be rehabbed, it's whether or not TAS has the resources or the contacts who would be willing to put in the time and energy to do such a thing. Unfortunately, they are not Best Friends Animal Society and also unfortunately, in this case, cost will be a major factor. Money spent on these two will most definitely be money taken away from other rescue dogs.

This is absolutely unconfirmed but one of the two may have already sent someone to hospital.

Anyway, the assessments and politicking and all that other stuff aren't done yet so I guess it's wait and see. I'm preparing for the worst but hoping for the best.

If anyone knows any really good behaviourists who'd be willing to give some time to these guys ...

Fred said...

redstarcafe, the kennel had just been cleaned when the picture was taken which is why it's all bare. Aside from water and food, the dogs also get toys and blankets and/or beds during the day if they are housebroken and not super destructive. Otherwise, they only get the bedding at night.

Anonymous said...

The TV article sure made it look as though the little "lab mix" would be up for adoption any day now. Thanks for the other side of the story. As with the lhasa apso story last week, I wonder if the "owner" will come forward...

Are they at the south shelter?

Fred said...

redstarcafe, the Lhasa I'm sure will do well with adoptions and it is at the north shelter I believe.

The two "lab crosses" are at the south shelter.

Heather said...

Could we start a special fundraiser to rehab these two babies?
If we can raise a ton of cash to help with the BSL fight, I`m sure the dog people will kick in a few bucks to help these guys.
Please keep us informed as to their progress.
Both of them deserve a break. Not death because of a bad owner.

DogsDeserveFreedom said...

If my kennels were already built, I'd take them both and rehab them. They are very much like the ones I'm working with now.

They only bite from fear. Since they are so young, it will be pretty easy. This is exactly like the one I have now ... she's like a normal goofy puppy.

So unfortunate when people do this.


Caveat said...

The Cane Corsos from Italy look very different from what people are calling Cane Corsos around here. Most of the ones I've seen in Ontario look like mutts - English Mastiffs mixed with something else. They are too heavy and lumbering to be what they are supposed to be - the last of the running mastiffs.

A guy we knew where we used to take our dogs to run had two of them directly from Italy. They were fairly light for a mastiff type and could really cover ground. One was grey, the other was jet black. They were very aloof and extremely well trained, which is essential with any mastiff type.

To me, making a wild guess, the pup looked like a Malinois/Chesapeak Bay retriever type of mix. I don't see any Lab or any Cane Corso, even the local variety. But of course, there's no way to be certain.

My Dachshund is a fear-biter. I say 'is' rather than 'was' because early abuse and multiple homes mean he will never completely get over his early days of fear and mistreatment. You can manage dogs like that, retrain them, socialize them - but you have to watch them for their entire lives with strangers because you just never know. In my case, once the old Cayman has met someone he remembers them forever and they are fine. Typically, it's the non-dog-savvy types who are at risk because they behave very aggressively from a dog's point of view and always go to pat dogs on the head, which is a threatending gesture.

Roaming Tigress said...

Poor babies :( Some people have no business owning an animal. Is there any chance that Best Friends could take them?

Fred said...

Caveat, fear biting is something that's need to be really well managed especially when these guys get to full size. I suspect liability is going to be a major consideration when TAS decides their fate.

Roaming Tigress, sometimes I wish BFAS would take me. Seriously, I don't know if that's something TAS would consider but who knows. I think it's important to remember that many dogs come into TAS that are deemed unadoptable. It's just that this one made the news. To really change things means there needs to be the political will and funding to hire behaviorists, trainers, vets etc., do more outreach, etc. - all that big picture stuff.

Joanne said...

Yes but Best Friends does not consider any dog "unadoptable". They do whatever it takes, medically and behaviour wise to get the dog adopted. And if they don't get adopted, they live out their days at BF. Surely it is worth the effort of an email or a phone call. Hell, I will pay for the phone call ..... TAS has to come on board with a more proactive attitude towards animal rescue. I know that that is not their mandate but, hell, come on, they can do something.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Joanne, Fred, even though I know it opens up the whole debate about why THESE dogs when OTHERS will die as a result.

Reading and thinking about your post about TAS and THS, it would be great if we could get past the politics and bureaucracy and be more proactive.