Shelters, rescue groups must make difficult choices

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The recent attack by two Rottweilers on two people at a self-styled “no-kill shelter” illustrates how misguided efforts to “save them all” are doing more harm than good (“2 Injured in Rottweiler Attack at For the Love of Dogs Rescue,” July 6).

Just last month a pit bull with a history of biting was adopted from a rescue in Virginia and fatally mauled a 90-year-old woman within hours of being placed in his new home. Groups can be sued for such attacks, like the rescue in New Hampshire that placed a dog with “aggressive tendencies” in a foster home where a man who was severely bitten, and the Georgia rescue where two volunteers were attacked by a dog with “dangerous propensities.”

Incidents like these are increasing across the country as animal shelters are being pressured by people who are opposed to euthanizing animals under any circumstances. Not only is the end result thousands of people and animals being harmed and killed, but adopting out dangerous dogs also makes the public leery of adopting any dogs from shelters — the vast majority of whom are friendly and loving — which ironically results in even more euthanasia.

Warehousing frustrated, stressed, aggressive dogs also takes away kennel space that could be used to house adoptable dogs, who are turned away when “no-kill” shelters run out of room.

Instead of focusing exclusively on “saved rates,” shelters and rescues must renew their commitment to preventing suffering, which sometimes involves difficult choices.

Teresa Chagrin
Norfolk, Virginia
Editor’s Note: The writer is animal care and control specialist for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.