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Old 03-13-2011, 10:24 PM   #1
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putting down a dog for biting

I've heard of this happening dozens of times: A dog bites someone and that person calls the cops and then that dog gets destroyed. In my neighborhood a dog bit a kids hand once, and that dog was killed the same day.

My question is, is it just standard for dogs to be destroyed if they bite? I have a dog bite in my book and the police are involved but I don't want the dog to get put down.
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:31 PM   #2
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I'm a vet in Maryland. It's standard here for a dog who bites someone to be quarantined for 10 days to determine if they were possibly at risk of transmitting Rabies at the time of the bite. After that, most pets are not put down. It depends entirely on the circumstances of the bite, the severity of the bite, and the history of the dog. Usually Animal Control would make that decision, with the dog's veterinarian and the owner having input.
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Old 03-13-2011, 10:34 PM   #3
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It depends on several factors. Generally a dog wouldn't get put down for a minor bite. If the dog does major damage, especially to a child, then it often will be put down.

Edited to add: I think Ibender gave you better and more complete advice.
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:06 AM   #4
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Very rarely will a dog be put down for the first bite. Animals have what is legally called "propensities" to act in certain ways. A dog is legally presumed not to have dangerous propensities until such time as it demonstrates a dangerous propensities. This is opposed to say keeping a wild animal like a wolf, where the animal is always assumed to have dangerous propensities.

For a first time bite to be fatal to the dog would require a severe attack, probably training (ineptly) as an attack dog, and a lack of control by the owner. It would be hard for the animal control officer/police to establish this.

Now once a dog is known to be a biter (one bite and the owner of the dog is legally presumed to have a known propensity as a biter), the owner is required to maintain the dog in a safe manner. Failure to do so would result in the owner being held strictly liable for the dog's actions. Failure of the owner to take appropriate steps to control the dog could result in the animal control officer/police to ask permission to put the animal down. The owner refusing to do so could result in the animal control officer/police going into court to request an order from a judge to put the animal down.

Most dogs are put down because of failure of their owners to either train or restrain their dog appropriately. And unless the dog is utterly vicious, people try to come up with solutions.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:14 AM   #5
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My big ole sweet doggie had to do the 10-day quarantine because he accidentally bit me on the arm while going for a rabbit. I got in the way and should have known better!

Animal control was sweet as could be. They made sure the structure I was keeping him in for 10 days was such that nobody could stick their hand in. I had him in an outdoor portico with lattice, so I just put wire mesh up with a staple gun.

Repeat biting would be the problem in a situation like mine. If the bite was more of an attack, I don't know how that goes.

My guy is a guard dog, so he does posture at strangers on home turf, btw. Animal Control understood the difference between that and aggression. If a dog were out of control with growling, etc, with the officers, that would probably change things, too.
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:30 AM   #6
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Thanks guys, that answers my question! much appreciated!
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:30 AM   #7
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I'm surprised they let you quarantine him at home, Slash.

Rabies laws vary by state, but there are federal laws as well. It's good to always keep your dog current on his vaccines. Speaking of, rabies laws vary BY TOWN/COUNTY, and some do not recognize a 3 year vaccine as more than a year's coverage. A dog which is up to date with his rabies does not need strict quarantine (Which maybe is why Slash was able to self quarantine her dog??)
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Old 03-14-2011, 01:40 AM   #8
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Oh, he was definitely up on all shots and everything. Taxes paid on him with another tag to wear, all of that

I tell my doggies the tags are their medals, lol. I think I told Istvan (the dog in question) he got his for having the fluffiest butt in town
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:36 AM   #9
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In my area, dogs aren't euthanized for merely biting. First, the dog is checked to ensure it has a valid rabies vaccination (all dogs are required to carry licenses and part of the licensing requirements is a rabies vacc/tag). Second, the circumstances are weighed. Did the dog bite a child/person who ventured onto its property? Was the dog protecting itself from a child who was tormenting said dog? Was the dog protecting its property and/or owner, etc.?

If, for example the dog was running at large and bit someone, or if the dog lunged at someone while leashed, then the dog is deemed a "dangerous dog" and is required to wear a tag IDing it as such, and a muzzle when it's off the owner's property (leashed, of course). There are cases of dogs who've bitten multiple times and aren't euthanized. Now, to clarify--we're not talking a mauling but a nip or a fear biter. Dogs that actually maul and/or kill someone (as in the case of the pit bull that recently killed a woman's min pinscher) are a different story (thankfully). I live next door to a bunch of people who can't seem to contain their people/dog aggressive Pit Bull (it's charged me multiple times while loose), and yet all they've received thus far is a fine.
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Old 03-14-2011, 02:49 AM   #10
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We had a dog named Jewels who bit a little boy in the rump and had to be put down. In her case, I think the fact that she bit a child and caused a severe bite were big enough reasons for my parents to decide to put her down. The little boy she bit was just petting her, turned around, and she bit him. Also, the doctors said that the bite was so deep that it would have required stitches, but they told us that they dont use stitches in dog bites or something.

Anyway, like others have said, it depends on the circumstances. Did your dog bite a child or an adult? Was it their "first offence", if you will? They told my parents that if your dog bites someone a second time, you can go to jail/be fined, because you knew your dog was a biter.

Also, my dog was quartined at home. We had to go with her when she was outside, and they but a sign in our yard saying something to the effect that we had a dangerous dog.

I miss her, but she was kind of crazy...actually probably a lot crazy...had lots of Dalmation and I wouldn't be surprised if she was inbred. People sue over dog bites and can get LOTS of money for them.
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:04 AM   #11
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Generally to force euthaising the dog it need to be court ordered a dangerous dog and it takes some time. In most cases, if it has been done quickly, the owners have consented.
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Old 03-14-2011, 03:15 PM   #12
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Since this is in story research; true story:

A certain vet school used to have a policy (long ago), that if someone came in and wanted their dog put down for any reason, they would do so. (for medical reasons or 'convenience euthanasia' such as 'he dribbles urine'). No questions asked.

One day a guy came in and said 'This dog is aggressive, he needs to be put down'. The vet looks at the dog, who seems quiet enough, but given the policy, does as asked.

Well, turns out the guy didn't own the dog. It was his neighbor's dog and he brought it in to get rid of it (for whatever reason), knowing the vet would do as requested.

Needless to say, the policy was changed. Not sure what happened between Evil Neighbor and Dog Owner. Pretty damn tragic though.
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Old 03-14-2011, 05:32 PM   #13
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OMG, Fenika, that's an awful story. Glad they changed that policy!!!
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Old 03-14-2011, 05:47 PM   #14
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Obviously I'm in Ireland, so my experiences might be different - first off we don't have rabies here.

If a dog bites then it's usually put down, but there is a difference between a bite and an attack, and that's taken into consideration. A dog that attacks a person or child will be put down, usually that day. A dog who bites once will usually be considered on a case by case basis.

For instance, a dog we used to have once bit one of the neighbours kids. His mother raised all merry hell about it, the dog warden and the police were called and it all got a bit messy, until it was pointed out that the boy in question had been seen pulling the dogs tail and she snapped at him because he was hurting her, and in that case it was all dropped.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fenika View Post
Since this is in story research; true story:

A certain vet school used to have a policy (long ago), that if someone came in and wanted their dog put down for any reason, they would do so. (for medical reasons or 'convenience euthanasia' such as 'he dribbles urine'). No questions asked.
One day a guy came in and said 'This dog is aggressive, he needs to be put down'. The vet looks at the dog, who seems quiet enough, but given the policy, does as asked.
Well, turns out the guy didn't own the dog. It was his neighbor's dog and he brought it in to get rid of it (for whatever reason), knowing the vet would do as requested.
Needless to say, the policy was changed. Not sure what happened between Evil Neighbor and Dog Owner. Pretty damn tragic though.
The policy at our hospital is much stricter. For a euthanasia to be done, we require either that the dog is a patient of ours and we know and understand why it's being done, or that we are able to contact the pet's current veterinarian to determine that euthanasia is justified.

We will not euthanize a pet for someone who walks in off the street, hasn't seen a vet in years, and 'just wants to'.
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Old 03-15-2011, 03:46 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lbender View Post
The policy at our hospital is much stricter. For a euthanasia to be done, we require either that the dog is a patient of ours and we know and understand why it's being done, or that we are able to contact the pet's current veterinarian to determine that euthanasia is justified.

We will not euthanize a pet for someone who walks in off the street, hasn't seen a vet in years, and 'just wants to'.
Good to know! This is way off topic but...

My first senior rescue belonged to an older lady who dumped him at the vet and demanded they euthanize him (because he was sick). He had recently developed diabetes and went blind as a result. The vet refused and instead asked the woman to sign him over. Thankfully she did, they put him up for adoption on PetFinder and a friend sent me his link. Of course I adopted the little guy. He had cataract surgery and regained his sight--lived out his golden years in luxury. One of the best dogs I've ever known.
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:12 PM   #17
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I live in (liberal) California where animals have a rights!

Seriously, unless the law has changed (here) recently your dog can get away with a whole lot. Bites included. It has to be a repeat offender to be executed.
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