SO CALLED DANGEROUS DOGS AND OVERLOOKED SHELTER PETS
Certain dogs breeds, such as those with the reputation of being dangerous dogs, are unpopular choices for adopters, even if that reputation is undeserved.
The majority of shelters put animals to death after a short time limit and due to them being so often overlooked, this means death for these breeds.
In more rare ‘no kill’ rescues, these dogs can be left there months, years, or for the rest of their lives, while being overlooked in favour of others.
One breed is no more inherently aggressive towards people than any other. To find out why a dog is dangerously aggressive, the way people have trained and treated the dog should be looked at.
Cats are often put to death at shelters and pounds due to not finding homes or rescue spaces, and rabbits and ferrets are also a problem.
If you choose, you can click on the titles below to go straight to that section of the page.
- So Called Dangerous Dogs
- What Can Make Dogs Aggressive Towards People?
- Rescues Assess All Dogs Before Re-Homing
- What Can Affect Whether a Pet Gets Adopted?
- Breeds Most Often Over-looked
- Why Do Certain Breeds Gain Bad Reputations?
- British Kennel Club: They Are Good With Children
- The Public’s Attitude To These Breeds
- The True Nature Of The Breeds
- Rottweilers – Another Breed Wrongly Feared
- Also Wrongly Feared: German Shepherds And Alsations
- Lurchers – Also Left Behind and Rejected
- Greyhounds: Killed Callously Or Abandoned in Droves & Overlooked
- The Truth About Why Pets Are Abandoned
- People Do Not Use Forethought
- Saving Over-looked Shelter Pets
- Want To Help Stop The Suffering?
Many people wrongly consider Staffordshire Bull Terriers to be dangerous dogs, especially in the UK. This breed is unpopular with adopters because a number of bad owners training them to behave in a negative way.
This breed is very loyal and eager to please it’s owner and irresponsible owners take advantage of that for the wrong reasons. This gives the breed the reputation of being aggressive, unpredictable and ‘turning’ on people.
In reality Staffies are extremely soft, affectionate, loving and tolerant dogs that are good with children. The majority of people who own them are responsible people who know this.
Short heart warming video showing the love and ease between children and a rescue Staffordshire Bull Terrier, and how perceptions of the breed are incorrect.
In the US, Pit Bull Terriers suffer a similarly labelled by many as ‘dangerous dogs’, suffering this undeserved reputation for the same reasons. Because of this, around 4000 of these dogs are put to death across the US EVERY DAY!
Pit Bull Terriers are banned in the UK because of the Governments belief they are dangerous dogs. Breed Specific Legislation was brought in to bring down the number of dangerous dog attacks in Britain.
Victimising these innocent dogs has been completely ineffective, as since ‘The Dangerous Dogs Act’ was brought in, dog attacks have sharply risen. However, the killing of these so called dangerous dogs continues.
Below: So Called Dangerous Dogs: Adolf, now called Bundles. Rescues sometimes change aggressive sounding Staffy names, such as Bruiser, Rambo and Satan, to names that suit their sweet personalities, such as Cuddles, Splodge and Munchie. Ali Taylor, Head of Behaviour at Battersea Dogs Home in London, says “Your biggest risk with a Staffie is getting licked to death. They get called `The Nanny Dog’ because they are so good with children.” Staffies have an undeserved fierce reputation and people who buy them expecting them to have such a personality are often so disappointed by their soft, affectionate natures that they abandon them. Sadly, Staffies are often abused and purposely trained to be aggressive by owners who want their dogs to be aggressive.
Any breed of dog can behave in an aggressive way.
Dogs that have been terribly abused by people can become fearful and mistrustful, resulting in aggressive behaviour. This is understandable, as abused dogs will naturally think that people approaching them are going to hurt them if that is what has always happened in the past.
Dogs specifically trained to behave in an aggressive way will do so. Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Pit Bull Terriers are loyal breeds eager to please their owners. They will try their best to behave in whatever way pleases them – even enduring agony to do so.
There can also be medical factors which explain uncharacteristic aggressive behaviour, such as brain tumours. This is also true of humans.
An additional reason can be if a dog is in pain and somebody is doing, or going to do something that the dog thinks will make the pain worse. The dog may lash out to try to protect itself from further pain.
Sometimes dogs can display possessive or protective behaviour. Dog psychologists and behaviourists should be able to help with aggressive behaviour.
The sad fact is that Staffordshire Bull Terriers in the UK, Pit Bull Terriers in The US, and other breeds wrongly considered to be dangerous dogs, are often victims of abuse due to the type of people who often tend to buy them as puppies. People who choose dogs with soft reputations do not tend to get them for the purpose of training them to be aggressive, intimidating weapons, or abuse such as dog fighting.
Most rescues assess pets before deciding whether they are suitable for re-homing. When adopting from a rescue that assesses dogs, you should not be worried about adopting one of the so called dangerous dogs breeds.
If they were not suitable for re-homing, they would not be available for adoption. You would be saving a soft, loving, affectionate, cuddly, snuggly and innocent dog from an undeserved and often distressing death.
People who buy dogs probably do not realise it, but by buying dogs, they encourage people to breed dogs for money and support extremely cruelpuppy farms by purchasing them from pet shops.
This results in the dog overpopulation problem being made even worse and even more innocent, abandoned shelter dogs are put to death.
Below: So Called Dangerous Dogs: Staffordshire Bull Terrier type dogs in the UK and Pit Bull Terrier type dogs in the US are the breeds most often put to death in pounds and shelters due to not finding a home. They are wrongly considered by some people to be dangerous dogs. The true affectionate and gentle nature of these breeds, and other so called dangerous dogs, is demonstrated above.
Smaller dogs are much favoured over larger dogs and pets in their later years are often overlooked, even though they make much calmer pets.
Adopters can also be put off an animal if a pet needs a special diet (even though this can usually be managed easily), is on long term medication, has any medical conditions or any other extra needs.
The colour of the animal even makes a difference – dark pets are less often adopted, as are brindle dogs. Larger black dogs are often left behind.
In some cultures, black dogs are disliked and thought to bring bad luck and misfortune. Black dogs and cats and the colour least adopted.
The combination of being a large, black, brindle or dark coloured dog of an unpopular breed, or with extra needs, means that the dog has virtually no chance of being adopted.
Due to the massive dog overpopulation these dogs will usually be one of the millions put to death each year.
Breed is a major factor. Breeds wrongly thought of as dangerous dogs, such as Staffordshire Bull Terriers in the UK and Pit Bulls in the US, are more often irresponsibly bred and abandoned due to commonly being bought by high risk, irresponsible owners. As a result, there is an especially high overpopulation of these breeds and crosses of the breeds.
A high number of these irresponsible owners buy the puppies from pet shops, which are usually supplied by cruel puppy farms. Plus, they often do not get their pets neutered, contributing to dog overpopulation and therefore the deaths.
Many even think it is a good idea to thoughtlessly add to the dog overpopulation problem of these breeds by breeding even more and trying to sell them. All they are concerned with is trying to make money and have no regard for anything else. See the Bad Breeders page for more information, including consequences of buying from bad breeders.
Sadly, many of the puppies bred by these irresponsible people also end up in shelters. The tragic reality is that many are likely to end up being one of the millions put to death every year due to being abandoned and not adopted.
Below: So Called Danerous Dogs: A large proportion of the 4-5 million loving dogs put to death across the UK and USA every year are Staffordshire Bull Terrier types (UK) and Pit Bull types (US). This is due to the especially high overpopulation and abandonment of these breeds, and them being unpopular with adopters because they have the undeserved reputation of being dangerous dogs.
(Credits: ohiocoalitionofdogadvocates.com, emilysanimalrescuejourney.blogspot.com).
In the wrong hands, any breeds can be dangerous dogs. People who want to train a dog to be a weapon are attracted to certain dog breeds because of factors such as their strength, jaw size, loyalty, perserverence and ease of training.
Pit bulls and Staffordshire bull terriers are very loyal and eager to please their owners, even if it means going though agony to do so. Bad owners can take advantage of that. Some owners abuse these breeds terribly by involving them in he cruel activity of dog fighting, and tra hem to be used as weapons.
Other breeds that can suffer undeserved ‘dangerous dog’ reputations by being associated with aggressive owners include German Shepherds, Rottweilers and Doberman.
As with other breeds that can sometimes be thought of as dangerous dogs, they have gained this reputation due to the type of people who often purchase the breed with the intention of training them to be aggressive, intimidating guard dogs, or weapons.
These so called dangerous dogs breeds are no more likely to ‘turn’ on a person than any other breed of dog.
Also, the British Kennel Club states that Staffordshire Bull Terriers are highly affectionate and thought of as being the best dogs for children.
They are nick named “Nanny Dogs” because of being so good, loyal and tolerant with children by nature. Pit Bulls in the US are referred to by the same nick-name for the same reason.
Below: So Called Dangerous Dogs: Sometimes wrongly considered to be dangerous dogs, Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Pit Bull Terriers are known as ‘nanny dogs’ because their tolerant nature makes them so good with children.
Breed Specific Legislation punishes innocent dogs based entirely on what breed they happen to be and nothing else. Due to the worrying number of Pit Bull owners of questionable character training their dogs to be aggressive, Breed Specific Legislation was introduced in the UK and Pit Bulls were made illegal.
This meant every Pit Bull in the UK, even when completely innocent of any wrong doing and a very gentle, affectionate and friendly family dog, had to be put to death.
This is a heartbreaking situation and completely unjust. Numerous innocent dogs and owners have become victims due to the actions of irresponsible owners.
Breed specific legislation has been brought in elsewhere and is a constant threat to innocent dogs everywhere.
It is not only the law that unjustly vilifies these breeds. Many peoples attitudes that are driven by ignorance, misinformation and unfounded fear can also vilify the breeds, leading to tragic consequences.
One example of this is when both an adopted Pit Bull and his owner were recently bullied to death in New York. Nick Santino, owner of friendly rescue Pit Bull Rocco, was the victim of an unrelenting campaign of harassment by his apartment buildings management and other residents.
A neighbour spoke of how some residents even made up accusations of Rocco barking and being a noise nuisance when he was a quiet dog. The constant bullying and ostracizing started when Nick’s building, at 1 Lincoln Plaza, brought in a ban on Pit Bulls, which applied only to new residents, and not to him.
As a result of the endless harrassment, Nick became depressed and, under intense pressure, he eventually felt he had no other choice but to put Rocco to sleep.
Nick was in agony and torment over what he had done to Rocco. A neighbour, Kevan Cleary, said “He was distraught and remorseful about putting down his best friend.”The same night, wracked with guilt and grief, Nick wrote in a suicide note:“Today I betrayed my best friend and put down my best friend. Rocco trusted me and I failed him. He didn’t deserve this.”A friend, James Grant, said “Rocco was the sweetest dog in the world. Rocco wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
Below: So Called Dangerous Dogs: Nick Santino with his beloved rescue Pit Bull dog Rocco. Nick and Rocco were bullied to death when Nick’s apartment building management and some residents mounted a campaign of harassment against him and his friendly adopted Pit Bull, resulting in both their tragic deaths.
Although ANY BREEDS can be dangerous dogs in the wrong hands, people who know the true nature of Staffordshire Bull Terriers, Pit Bulls, and other breeds some people consider dangerous, know that they are not dangerous dogs. They know what soft, loving and non-threatening pets they make.
With the combination of Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Pit Bull Terriers usually being food orientated and so eager to please, they are very easy to train.
Unfortunately, some morally corrupt people use that to their advantage and make these dogs suffer terribly. For details, go to the dog fightingpage.
Below: So Called Dangerous Dogs: Staffies and Pit Bulls are affectionate, people orientated, friendly, tolerant, good with children, cuddly, snuggly and soft – far from the dangerous dogs reputation they have unfairly gained. They are generally healthy breeds with regards to genetic defects, and generally easy to care for. They are a great choice to adopt.
Rottweilers can also be feared and labelled as dangerous dogs for the same reasons as Staffordshire Bull Terriers and Pit Bulls. Plus they are larger, more powerful dogs. This means they are often undesirable to adopters.
In reality, they too have gentle, loving and affectionate natures. They do not deserve to be discounted from being adopted because of peoples’ misconceptions.
Below: So Called Dangerous Dogs: These images show the true nature of Rottweilers when they have loving homes. It is far removed from the image of being dangerous dogs. The top left image shows adopted deaf Rottweiler Trina having cuddles with her guardian Judy. Judy says of Trina “She is a sweetheart! I love her!”
(Credits: rottweilerrescuetrust.co.uk, deafdogsatlas.com, therottweilerclub.co.uk)
German Shepherd Dogs and Alsations are often feared, and considered to be dangerous dogs, like the breeds above for similar reasons. They are also large, strong dogs which can be used as weapons in the wrong hands.
Like with any dog, if they have responsible guardians who do not purposely train them to be aggressive, German Shepherds too have gentle, loving and affectionate natures.
Below: The true nature of German Shepherd Dogs / Alsations, when not purposely trained to be aggressive, are shown in these images. These are hardly pictures of dangerous dogs. The centre picture on the right shows adopted German Shepherd Baron with his devoted guardian Norma. Norma cannot speak highly enough of her wonderful dog Baron.
(Credits: idoggy.co.uk, betterwords.typepad.com, Norma Farrell, ocregister.com, dogster.com, Aileen Yeagle ODea)
Lurchers are another victim of being overlooked at shelters and pounds, and are often put to death. Lurchers usually tend to be bred and bought as working dogs, in order to assist the owner in hunting animals. This is a shame, as they make wonderful, affectionate pets and love to be around people.
They are often made to live outside if working dogs. If they are no good as working dogs they are usually not wanted. In this case, many meet inhumane deaths, but some make it to rescues.
Although tall in size, these quiet dogs are usually placid, gentle, loving and loyal. They love to live inside around people. Contrary to what many people believe, they do not tend to require any more exercise than other breeds, although may enjoy a good run around if the opportunity arises.
Below: Lurchers are often over-looked at shelters and pounds. Many are bought to be working dogs, used to help the owner hunt animals, and are often made to live outside. They are unpopular with adopters as they are large dogs, associated with hunting. However, they make excellent gentle and loving pets. They need no more exercise than other dogs and are usually happy to laze around.
(Credits: lurcher.org, thevelovegan-blogspot-com, forum.rescuehelpersunite.co.uk)
A huge number of Greyhounds are abandoned, also becoming victims of dog overpopulation, mainly because of Greyhound Racing. Once they are no use for making money as a racing dog, they become unwanted.
Many are killed inhumanely, but some make it to rescue – some with their ears cut off without anaesthetic, suffering life threatening infection.
To find out more, go to the Abuse Of Greyhounds In Greyhound Racingpage. Greyhounds make wonderful pets, having a calm, loving, loyal and gentle nature.
The Spanish Galgo, a breed of Greyhound in Spain which is used as a hunting dog, is treated particularly badly. Only a lucky few can be rescued from their tragic fates and re-homed. More information can be found on the Galgo page.
Below: Greyhounds are victims of dog overpopulation and pet abandonment because they are used for Greyhound racing. Normally, if they are not killed (in various, horrifying ways) when they are no longer making money, they are abandoned.
They are often unpopular with adopters as they are large and people assume they need excessive exercise. They do not need any more exercise than other dogs, they make excellent gentle and loving pets and are known as quite lazy dogs.
(Credits: greyhoundhomer.org.uk, halfwayhomegreyhounds.com, maxandmollydesigns.com, ourgreyhounds.co.uk, forum.rescuehelpersunite.co.uk, blogs.inlandsocal.com/pets/dogs)
The reason most pets end up abandoned and in pounds, shelters and rescues is because of the personal problems of the owners and their circumstances, or because of their lack of forethought and their irresponsibility. They often did not realise the time, effort and money owning a dog takes. It is hardly ever through any fault of the pet.
To see a list of common reasons why dogs end up in shelters, open up theAdopting Rescue Pets, Fostering Or Sponsoring Animals page. The same is true of cats and of any pets that end up in a shelter.
Many rescue shelters will allow you to take one of these dogs on a trial period, so you can see just how you get on with them, without having to commit first.
People not neutering their pets contributes largely to the cat and dog overpopulation, pet abandonment and the resulting innocent deaths of these animals.
People could be forgiven for having to give their pet up for re-homing because, although they have tried every avenue to resolve the problem, genuinely unforeseeable circumstances have made it impossible for them to continue to care for the pet.
Unforeseeable circumstances are events people would never in a million years have imagined would happen during the lifetime of their pet.
However, the majority of reasons that dogs and cats end up in shelters and being put to death is because people do not use forethought. They buy kittens and puppies from pet shops and back yard breeders, then quite predictably, further down the line, their circumstances change.
They end up getting a job and are out at work all day, their relationship breaks up, or they have a baby, etc. As a result, they decide the cat or dog is now an inconvenience, so they get rid of it. Those circumstances are not ones that cannot be foreseen.
The most common reasons for abandoning pets are easily predictable circumstance changes. If people took pet ownership seriously, they would realise that they are responsible for that pet’s welfare for it’s entire natural life.
They would use forethought and consideration before getting it, and make contingency plans for if or when their life circumstances may change within the pet’s life time.
Pet abandonment would then not be the huge problem it is and the massive number of innocent animals would not be put to death.
It is important that people ask themselves questions about how they would continue to care for the pet if certain situations, such as financial hardship, a birth, a relationship break up, long working hours, having to move to rented accommodation, etc, occurred, before making such a serious, long term purchase.
Numerous people lacking this forethought is largely why so many millions of innocent dogs and cats are put to death each year.
Why do people think that their dog will get adopted when they abandon it, and people will not go and buy a new puppy instead – especially if they did not adopt.
The sad fact is that a huge number of dogs and cats do NOT get adopted. The percentage of dogs and cats killed in a large number of shelters is around 75%, whilst only 25% get adopted.
It is estimated that in the UK and US alone, between 4 and 5 million animals a year – mainly cats and dogs – are put to death in a variety of ways. Some countries deal with their cat and dog overpopulation by killing them in extremely inhumane ways.
Apart from other serious problems with pet shops selling puppy mill puppies and irresponsible breeders selling puppies, they will sell indisciminately to totally irresponsible, and even abusive owners, as long as they have the money (see Bad Breeders to find out more).
Below: A small, terrified dog is dragged away to be put to death after being abandoned and not adopted whilst in the municipal council shelter. Other dogs look on. It won’t be long before it is their turn. The dog’s death may well be an unpleasant one. See the
Animal Overpopulation Controls page.
Purchasing dogs as pets in itself encourages breeding for money, causing pet overpopulation, and in turn more innocent, healthy, adoptable animals being put to death.
Millions of newly bred puppies are purchased every year while millions of healthy, loving, abandoned dogs of all ages are put to death every year at pounds and shelters because people bought puppies instead of adopting them. Most puppies bought from pet shops come from extremely cruelpuppy farms.
PLEASE HELP SPREAD THIS MESSAGE: Millions of innocent animals are being put to death at pounds and shelters every year due to pet abandonment. Instead of buying animals and causing more deaths by encouraging breeding, please adopt. Please do not support extremely cruel puppy mills by buying pets from pet shops. PLEASE SAVE INNOCENT LIVES BY ADOPTING!
Other animals that are often found at shelters and often put to death due to not being adopted are ferrets and rabbits. Please consider giving overlooked shelter pets and wrongly labelled dangerous dogs a loving home.
If you think you would be interested in helping save the lives of victims of cat and dog overpopulation by adopting, fostering or sponsoring a pet, you can find more information on the Adopting Rescue Pets, Fostering Or Sponsoring Animals page.
If you have already decided which of these you would like to do and would like to see animals available, you can go to the Find A Pet page.
If you would like to help stop animal cruelty and suffering, there are many ways you can help do so. See the help stop animal cruelty and suffering section of this site. We shake our heads in disapproval and talk about how things are awful for animals, but unless we take action, nothing changes for them.