Adoption and Rescue Groups Should Be Licensed

A college student who had a passion for rescuing dogs is dead, killed by the same dogs she wanted to save. (See Rebecca Carey, Georgia Student, Killed by Dogs She Rescued.) The breeds of the dogs are interesting: two pit bulls, a boxer mix and two Presas.

All rescues. She was out to prove a point, namely that breeds known for their violence toward people can be tamed with enough loving care. Unfortunately she was going about it the wrong way. One of those dogs, in the hands of a skilled behaviorist, would be risky enough during the training, and would remain a safety hazard afterwards. But trying to deal with 5 of them at once? 

Remember, a rescue dog is an abandoned dog. One must wonder why the dog was abandoned. Was there a reason why it was sent to the animal shelter? It is folly to assume that only bad people abandon their dogs. When a dog is violent toward people, good parents, good animal control officers, and good cops send the dog to the shelter. Not all abandoned dogs are good dogs. 

As one of many rescuers who have been injured or killed by dogs in the recent past, Rebecca Carey has helped to prove two other points. One is that we need to enact restrictions on the number of dogs that can be kept at a residence. 

There are laws that forbid people from having more than a certain number of dogs. Generally these are considered to be zoning restrictions but such laws also are safety laws. Not only for the safety of the person who has the urge to hoard animals, but also for the safety of friends and neighbors. It has been established that there is a pack instinct in dogs and that normally docile dogs can become aggressive toward humans when the dogs act in concert. For that reason, and to prevent a person from going out on the street with 5 leashes attached to 5 muscular dogs, I have urged the enactment of laws restricting the number of dogs that can be present at a residence, with the number being sharply reduced in the case of larger, more muscular dogs, including pit bulls, Presas, Rotties and the like.

The other point is that adoption and rescue groups need to be licensed.

I am hearing, almost daily, about unsuspecting people who adopt a dog, get attacked by the dog, and then learn that the adoption organization knew that the dog was violent toward people but did not provide a warning about the dog. A horrific example that led to the permanent disfigurement of a toddler occurred in 2017 (see Merritt Clifton, Anatomy of a Disfigurement by a Misidentified Shelter Pit Bull.) People like Rebecca Carey — I call them “humaniacs” — do not recognize the dangers inherent in rescue dogs. For that reason, I urge the enactment of laws that regulate adoption organizations, to the extent necessary to make all of them accountable (legally liable and having sufficient liability insurance) and to prevent the humaniacs from recycling known dangerous dogs into communities.