A male, year-and-a-half old border collie/Labrador mix bit Kayla Singleton, 6, of Alameda County, California, on June 15, 2008. The Singleton family was at the Alameda County animal shelter to select a pet. They picked out this dog and were spending time with it, when it attacked. Kayla was bitten on the eye and was taken by ambulance to Children’s Hospital and Research Center Oakland, where she had surgery that night.
The dog had been through the shelter’s temperament evaluation, and had passed its tests. We do not know what the tests were, or the dog’s history — why it was in a shelter to begin with. (To read the news article, click here.)
Great care must be exercised when picking a “used dog.” Not all shelter dogs are from kindly masters who gave them up because of the rising cost of kibbles. Some of the most serious injury and death cases in recent memory involved dogs that were from shelters.
Temperament tests are non standardized. Many shelters have a “no kill” policy. Some shelters are dominated by people whom I refer to as “humaniancs” who consciously release known dangerous dogs to unsuspecting families in the hideously wrong belief that enough love can turn a Charlie Manson dog into a Charlie Brown dog.
To protect themselves and the public, all shelters, rescues and adoption groups should institute the policies and procedures that I put together forAvoiding Liability When You Train, Shelter or Adopt-Out.