Tuesday, August 16, 2005
An Unnecessary And Preventable Euthanasia.SS asked me to look at a dog the other day. Simon, who came from a local animal shelter because he was way too much for their volunteers and potential adopters to handle and therefore was going to be euthanized, is your typical big, dumb dog. Perhaps I should rephrase that...he is your typical, big, dumb dog that hasn't been trained or taught any decent manners. He is hyper, mouthy, and obnoxious. Yuck. Who would want a dog like this?
The dog had failed our temperament test because it was constantly jumping up on us (not in a good way) and putting his mouth on us. SS wanted to get my opinion. Did I think we should work with him to see if this totally unpleasant behavior could be modified or was it too little too late? I didn't see anything terribly dangerous in the dog, but I did see what the trainers had seen and again thought yuck.
But then SS said, let me put a prong collar on him, work him and see what happens. A PRONG COLLAR!! A collar with prongs? How can a humane society that is dedicated to preventing the cruelty to animals suggest such a thing????? Very easily. Here at the East Bay SPCA, we do what is right for each dog, not what is 'politically correct' for all dogs. Every dog is different and we work with each one in a way to address his or her individual issues. "Never" is in not in our vocabulary. Although positive reinforcement has been proven to be most successful at changing behavior long term, from time to time, it isn't enough.
She brought Simon to me two days later and he was a different dog. Obedient, mannered and on the right track. Only time will tell if he'll make it into our adoption program, but I could not be more proud of SS because she looked past the stereotypes and training peer pressure and did what was right for that dog. I think the ultimate cruelty is not a prong collar, but an unnecessary and preventable euthanasia.