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50 thoughts on “Attacks by Vicious Dogs Inside Shelters Are Rising; A Closer Look at the Oakland County Animal Shelter Attack

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  1. As a long-time worker in the ever-changing animal control/shelter environment, I can honestly say I have never been as afraid of being attacked as I am now. The constant flow of reactive, untrained, unresponsive dogs that are encountered in shelters, Nationwide, keep escalating. Meanwhile, the sanity of society as a whole, seems like a long gone reality. The No Kill/Save them All, groups are only worried about numbers, not individuals. I believe we are quickly coming to a breaking point, and hope to get back to common sense animal sheltering. Thank you for touching on this escalating issue

    • Here in Pima County, Arizona, our taxpayer-funded animal care agency has been infiltrated by the No-Kill movement.

      The result: An upsurge in dangerous dogs being adopted out into our community. One adopter was attacked by her “rescue” dog, and, guess what, she got a lawyer and is now suing Pima County and that animal control agency.

      Mark my words, there will be a dog attack fatality that can be traced backed to the No-Kill infiltration of animal care. And we, the taxpayers of Pima County, will be paying the price.

    • Thank you for being so honest.Not many people who work at shelters can be honest cause many of them are for the dogs only as you said. A lot of these dangerous dogs end up in our communities where they end up maiming or killing people or their pets.Your so right! Society is in danger and all in the name of no kill. We really need change! I must say that this story is not an uncommon one. People take their chances adopting a very well known dangerous breed and then bring them around their children who end up paying the ultimate price for their parents ignorance. The children in the home where this dog lived were attacked and the owners wanted it back? That is just pure stupidity and imo it is child abuse! This breed is not meant for just anybody or any family. They are a fighting breed, not bred to be family pets.They require special handling and by someone who is aware of what they are capable of and who is wiling to protect the public and themselves but to many people equate pits to being any regular dog, and they would be wrong. Many families have had to learn this the hard way. Any dog that bites should never be given a second chance to do it again! This just allows another chance for it to attack and the next attack could prove to be fatal! The laws are skewed and should be in place to protect people not just the animal. I am glad that the right thing was done here with this deadly dog,it very well saved some ones life. I m hoping that we will get back to common sense and realize that no kill will not work and will just create much bigger problems and a very serious over population of dogs.

    • Dixie if you are comfortable with a firearm look in to your state’s laws. I suspect your workplace has a policy against carrying a gun but it may not be illegal. Obviously you would be fired if you ever used it or got caught with it. However it might be a case of it is better to be caught with one than caught without one. If you were fired for shooting a dog that would mean you were still alive.

  2. It is crazy that shelters basically need police riot gear to care for these dogs. Truly, this is a waste of taxpayer and donor dollars.

    On another note, this female employee that was attacked likely was a pit nutter or someone who really drank the kool-aid from the nutters. I base this on that fact she was so cavalier that she went in there without the bite garments on to protect her.

    • Bite suits are very cumbersome. Trying to move around in them is tough. And do shelters have bite suits that fit all their staff members? Trying to give a dog a bite sleeve in which it could sink its teeth might be a great idea, but how many of these dogs would avoid the sleeve and bite the person?

      Basically most of the video just demonstrated the staff did not know how to handle a dangerous dog safely.

      I suspect this dog could have been catchpoled, but I wasn’t there.

      • I agree, but hindsight is always 20/20. I think many mistakes were made, beginning with having an unsupervised inmate freely interacting with animals in an isolation ward. I know of no shelter that provides k-9 bite suits to clean kennels. I too believe a catch pole should have been employed. We never move/handle dangerous dogs with a slip lead…no matter how friendly they appear. I saw the catch pole they now have hanging on the board outside if isolation. I hope they provide a longer one for safety sake. The covered cages they have would have contained the dog had the inmate not opened the dog to PET it.

        • Animal professionals have to be educated in how to handle dangerous dogs and comfortable doing it. The good handler must expect problems in handling. This dog had bitten numerous people. Didn’t anyone understand that?

          Let me explain it in another way. Dairy bulls are extremely dangerous animals. They will kill people. So someone familiar with their behavior should NEVER assume it is safe to go in a pen with them alone. If someone is that dumb, maybe he/she deserves to have his/her body rearranged.

          All the shelters in the country need to carefully look at their protocol for handling dangerous dogs. Veterinary clinics can simply refuse vicious dogs. Shelters cannot.

      • I wanna know what this moron ” inmate ” was doing opening and petting a Pitbull that was there for a bite quarantine!?
        Why don’t we just let folks from the mental ward take care of these quarantined walking chainsaws….how about kindergarteners 🙄 Smh
        I can just see it now……
        The owner of the Pitbull will sue for mishandling the dog
        The inmate will sue for been deliberately exposed to this dog without his consent.
        The dog warden will sue for medical, hospital bills.
        The cop will sue for mental anguish and having to waste perfectly good bullets on a walking land shark.😂

        What a clown car

        • I can speculate, that the inmate was ‘making friends’ with the dangerous dogs in that ward. So many pit bull fans seem to want to prove: a. That all pits are not bad, and he really didn’t mean it, and, b. That they, the person are really good with dogs. Guys, this isn’t a popularity contest. It is quarantine, isolation to hold dangerous dogs. You showing me that you think you know how to handle these dogs does not impress me. The true experts actually know how to keep themselves, society and animals safe, and quietly practice those skills daily.

    • I would encourage those here to not judge without all the facts. To name call a person who has sustained serious injury and probably feels remorse and will have permanent daily memories of the attack for her life? Really? The visceral fear is enough, don’t you think? My memories are permanent and have changed forever how I feel about being alone (which I once loved, and I resent that every day). Thank you.

      • I was not meaning to judge/be judgemental, and sincerely apologise if it appeared that way, was only offering up a possible line of reasoning the inmate may have used, based on what I have encountered at the shelters I have been at. Never, would I hope to blame a victim for an attack. Even owners are often victims of the propoganda pushed every day.

  3. …carrying only a “rope loop”? Rope loops should be highly effective tools to carry when there are absolutely no dangerous animals in the situation. Not so effective when there possibly can be.

  4. The scary thing is that attacks like this probably happen everyday, but people are reluctant to report it. Either pit nutters don’t want more stories of pit attacks in the news, the shelter doesn’t want to be deemed unprofessional, people are in denial and blame themselves, and probably many more reasons. Just think of how many people (espcially children) could have been seriously mauled or killed in a shelter that the public will never find out about becasuse shelters are desperate to cover up pit attacks.

    I rememeber I used to frequent a dog forum years ago, and every so often you’d see a post with an account of someone’s pit mauling another dog or person and you’d see not only multiple members encouraging the owner to not report it, but also see them urging the person to convince the other party not to report it or saying “I hope they won’t thell the authorities and just let it go” becuase pits lives matter over all else appearantly.

    It’s horrifying.

  5. Quote snip: “…people are reluctant to report…” Big time.

    In the USA, 1,000 Emergency Department visits per day, and 38 hospital admissions per day, but these numbers are probably much, much higher. More than 14,000 hospitalized every year. Figure thousands and thousands of lives tragically devastated annually due to pathological attraction to dangerous, unpredictable, uncontrolled animals. All this just in one country. India, Mexico and many others are much worse off.

  6. Gotta love all that new BD lingo they’re using to ” hide ” or make it sound less threatening like……
    Dog Reactive, which used to be Dog Aggressive !
    Food or resource guarding , which means toy and food aggression!
    Slow to ” warm up ” used to be fearful and unpredictable !

    They deliberately change the lingo to hide the true temperament of the dog that back in the day would get the animal euthanized !

    The s is criminal if you ask me !

    And what the hell are convicted felons doing in a Kennel that should be filled with payed and trained employees!?

    • If Pitbulls were a brand of toaster or car, that suddenly and randomly catches on fire or explodes and injured or killed ppl……it would be pulled of the market immediately!

    • That’s a pet peeve of mine as well, Christine.

      “Leash reactive” doesn’t exist. The only dog I ever met that was “leash reactive” was a greyhound that had been whipped to bloody shreds and so, panicked and ran whenever it saw a leash.

      “Leash reactive” is a dog that is behaving badly on leash. Period. It is either aggressively panicking or aggressively charging. The leash has zip all to do with it.

      A dog does not “guard resources”. It snarls/bites whenever it wants something that humans have let it think, it’s entitled to, because it’s spoiled rotten.

      A dog is either behaving, or it is not. An owner either fixes that bad behaviour, or can’t/won’t.

      This isn’t rocket science.

      Problems don’t get fixed in dogs because owners want to believe all the touchy-feely crap that dog trainers (oh wait, “behaviouralists”) have to do, to sell their services to unbalanced, sentimentalist owners who don’t have the assertiveness or understand enough animal husbandry to own a dog. And the same dog trainers have a half score of crappily behaved “rescues” they can’t train at home, either while they make excuses for their training failures.

      Some dogs can’t be fixed, either. New trainers often believe they are Dog’s gift to the world until they learn better.

      And anyone honest about pitbulls will tell the owner. “Even if we get some behaviours under control, you will have to spend the rest of this dog’s life managing its behaviour. Is that a 15 year relationship you want to have? Because it’s a LOT of work. You will *never* be able to relax with this dog. Ever. You can’t afford any errors.”

      How many people want to commit to that?

      These dogs need to come with a sticker attached to their foreheads. “Take home at your own risk…and everyone else’s”

    • There are many prison programs that teach inmates to train “service dogs” that they get from the local animal control which make most of those dogs pit bulls. That is my vision of hell, being trapped in a max security prison with rapists and murderers, training abandoned or surrendered pit bulls to be “service dogs” who will then go in to savage people in airplanes or coffee houses or Michaels.

  7. All this safety equipment won’t do a fraction as much good as a shot of euthasol. Stop warehousing these vicious mutts! Put them down at the scene of the crime.

  8. Watching that dog being shot in the head and laying still and prone for minutes and then getting back up was like watching a revenant rising up in a horror film! How utterly terrifying! That alone shows how dangerous these dogs are.

    So many failures here, illustrated so well by the careful analysis you’ve provided of an otherwise confusing video. But, I have a question… since the family did not want to give up Roscoe and he was still considered their “property,” then will they be held by liable for the damage their property has caused? And where does child protective services fit into such a scenario if they had been allowed to get the dog back after his quarantine?

    I could only clearly see two other dogs besides Roscoe in the video, both of which are presumably being held in quarantine due to biting. The one seen in the latter part of the video was clearly (and not shockingly) a pit bull. The other seen in the initial portion seemed to have a cattle dog type build and coloration about it. But I noticed there was a distinct lack of Chihuahuas, despite what pit apologists would want us to believe.

    • Actually, in viewing some of the footage again, at the 4:20 mark I saw enough of another quarantined dog to get an idea of its size and earset. Any guesses?

    • Ultimately, it was the county’s responsibility to safely house this dog until the results of the court hearing. So the dogs’ owners have no liability at all, neither criminal nor civil. The hearing did pertain to child services. The county was seeking the ownership of this dog to prevent the dog from being returned to a household with children (“County animal control officers informed the family that if they didn’t release Roscoe to the county’s custody, officials would by law need to file a child protection complaint with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and would go to court to request that the dog be given over to animal control.”) The county was clearly going to prevail in court. What should happen now, given all that has occurred, is for this family to at least be placed on a watch list by child protective services.

  9. I am not a pit bull advocate…in fact, just the opposite…but what struck me in watching the video is how stupid the employees were in handling the situation from start to finish. I honestly felt some sympathy for the dog as he lay on the floor after being shot. Incompetence, poor judgment, and bad handling from start to finish.

    • This dog had attacked several people before it got killed, including children. Incompetence and poor judgment started at the point when some sick person decided to breed dangerous dogs that have no place in a civilized society. This dog should have never been born to begin with. Not to mention that countless pit bull attack victims died way more painful and horrific death, compared to which a bullet in the head is a very easy way to die.

    • I am not sure “stupid” is a great way to discuss what happened and how it can be prevented in a constructive way, but I (ex-vet tech, extensive Zoo and small animal busy big city ER) would have closed the door, maybe thrown some food in, and waited until everyone calmed down. Then I would have discussed with each person their role, and yes, donned protective gear and used a catch pole.

    • Dogs get out of physical control all the time. It’s not bad handling, or incompetence, it’s the fact that people do not handle domesticated pet animals with the same caution and fear with which they would approach a tiger. Even a dangerous dog should not behave as that pit bull did. That was *extremely* abnormal dog behavior. It didn’t just lunge and bite, it sought freedom, then established territory, then began stalking prey – a human. It is difficult to overstate how predatory that pit bull’s actions were. It’s simply not reasonable to expect even trained dog handlers to expect that sort of severe abnormality from a dog – no matter the breed. This sort of behavior has no place in the species, no matter what people claim about schutzhund or military dogs or herding breeds or flyball. This BS isn’t drivey, it’s insanity. And if people approached all dogs as if they were capable of this, it would be cruelty to dogs.

  10. ” All dogs can be dangerous ”

    Funny how you don’t see a single Poodle in there
    or Greyhound, Goldendoodle, Beagle, whippet , Dachshund, Bernese mountain Dog ,Pointer, Saluki, Schnauzer etc, etc

  11. Another insane pit bull owner who loves vicious dogs more than her own children. The attack happened because she was “talking on the phone too loudly”. You can be attacked by these killing machines for talking too loud, walking too fast, smelling of the kind of perfume the dog happens to not like, for being a child, for having a seizure… pretty much anything. Imagine a defense attorney at court saying the defendant murdered the victim because of seizures or some smell – that would be laughable and not an excuse in any way. But for sick dog worshipers, anything and everything is an excuse why their dogs should be allowed to attack people.
    These people are sick and will never stop.
    When their dog attacks someone, they need to be arrested and charged with assault. If a child is attacked, the parent needs to be charged with child abuse. They need to be held responsible for their dogs actions, that’s the only way to stop this madness.

    • Totally agree. This is insanity. If someone ran out of their house, and knifed you on the sidewalk or wherever, they would be tried and convicted of a crime. But if a pit bull does bodily or fatal damage…it’s not the dog’s fault. It was triggered. It was abused. The victim was chewing gum. It didn’t like the way you parted your hair. Blah. Blah. Blah. We need to put “teeth” into these laws and BIG consequences for people who harbor these killers.

  12. Thanks, Colleen, again for your marvelous and precise reporting. This is like watching a horror movie unfold. Not only are these dogs unpredictable and SO dangerous, but one bullet wouldn’t do the trick. And then the backstory of a mother who isn’t concerned about the safety of her children? This goes against all maternal instincts. It’s as if people have gone mad. This No Kill policy is also impacting “good” dogs who need shelter and adoption. These monster maulers are clogging up these shelters and putting their workers in harm way.

    • Not to mention that many of the adult pits that end up in shelters (for some mysterious unfathomable reason) are suggested for single pet homes only (again one would wonder why, if it’s not the breed). You know how they oh-so-cleverly word it to make it not sound like they are likely to kill cats or other dogs… “Mr. Wiggles will love you so much that he doesn’t want to share your attention!” So every shelter pit that requires a single-pet home is taking away potential homes for MULTIPLE other normal dogs and cats. Unless of course the adopters are planning to crate-and-rotate, disrupting their family’s lives with strict routines and leaving none of their dogs with the freedom they should have.

      Way too much time and money is invested in saving and adopting out both dogs with a history of attacking humans as well as those which are so dangerous with other animals that they must be an only pet. No-kill is a policy that benefits no one but those whose pockets are filled with donations and government money meant to help animals.

  13. Nope, I still think she (shelter employee attacked) is a nutter or kool-aid drinker. This shelter’s Petfinder is all pits, American bulldogs, mastiffs, Cane Corso mixes. There are only 4 out of 77 photographed dogs that are not these mixes (and there are 2 dogs not photographed who are not listed as these breeds). You don’t work at a shelter in which only 5% of adoptable dogs are not pit types unless you are a pity partier.

  14. It’s unbelievable that there is a whole ward of dangerous dogs that are being kept alive on the taxpayers dime. THAT is what gets me.

    • Me too. When a dog seriously injures someone the dog needs put down. If they need the dog for a court case they can put it in cold storage.

      It blows my mind that dogs that have killed people are kept alive so they can have their day in court. Dogs do not have a right to due process. If you owned any other type of property that had injured someone you would be required to make it safe or the city or state will do it for you and send a bill. The only way to make pits safe is to put them down.

      It would seem to me since the shelters are full of them the actual cash value of a pit is $0. Animal control should be free to keep people safe without having to warehouse dogs that have attacked. If the owner doesn’t like it, send them a check for $0.00.

  15. If the inmate had not gone in to pet the dog or if the dog had been wearing a collar so the inmate had something to hang on to, I doubt this would have happened.

    Once the pit was loose if the man in the bite gear would have had a catch pole I suspect it would have ended there. Thank God some one had a gun. Nothing else they were doing seemed to have any effect.

    Crazily enough I think if they had put the beast back in his cage and let him sleep off his headache he would have shrugged off that first point blank hollow point to the head. It was strange watching that thing reanimate. First the head moves a little, then the front feet, then the back legs and tail come back on line and it is back on all 4’s wandering around.

    Even after the 2nd shot there was still some movement. I wonder if it got up again. The 1st shot to the head did end the attack. I am thankful the officer came back for another shot instead of summoning medical help. In many jurisdictions if a citizen had come back for that 2nd shot they would have been arrested.

  16. Why are we paying for this? And by we, I mean all of us in every municipality. My city (the tax payer) pays our humanse society $122.22 per dog and $265.90 per pit brought in. This is a big waste of money and it shows you the cost of housing these worthless pits is much higher. I assume the price differential is based on how long they stay in the shelter prior to “adoption” and on insurance costs. My local shelter is full of pits and their mixes. The next most common breeds with much less of them are different types of coonhounds and Catahoula leopard dogs and mixes of these. It is a rare day that any other breed is there and when there is, it is a discarded geriatric dog that is months away from the grave.

    • Well, here in Pima County, there was this Proposition, 415 to be exact, that was put forth a few years ago. The proposition was for $22 million in funding for an new animal care shelter.

      I hate to say this, but the opposition to this boondoggle was disorganized at best. On the other side, the animal lovers and the animal rights people got it passed. In a landslide.

      Among the opposition to Prop. 415 were a couple of local talk radio hosts. They liked to refer to the $22 million shelter as the Pit Bull Palace.

      • I am not sure “stupid” is a great way to discuss what happened and how it can be prevented in a constructive way, but I (ex-vet tech, extensive Zoo and small animal busy big city ER) would have closed the door, maybe thrown some food in, and waited until everyone calmed down. Then I would have discussed with each person their role, and yes, donned protective gear and used a catch pole.

    • Wow, you’re so right. Our county just built a 7 MILLION dollar shelter chock full of pits. And, yet, we don’t have a battered women’s shelter. Thank God for this forum full of intelligent people. I feel like a pariah in a society that’s gone canine crazy when it comes to this.

  17. The statement, “Any dog that bites should never be given a second chance to do it again,” bothers me greatly. It doesn’t leave any wiggle room. Dogs bite for many reasons. Misdirected aggression can be fatal if the biter is a pit bull but pretty insignificant if the biter is a two pound Chihuahua. Sedated dogs lose their inhibitions and may bite when sedated but not when they are not sedated. Grabbing a painful body part can elicit a bite. Some dogs get too greedy over treats and inadvertently nip. A child abusing a dog can certainly cause a bite. Some dogs, most notably Golden Retrievers, can turn into vicious monsters while under the influence of corticosteroids. One of the nastiest ones I saw had an AKC CDX title. The cure is to send the dog back home, withdraw the drugs, tell the owner to isolate the dog, and wait.

    One of my GSDs inadvertently bit me over
    jockeying for position on a dog fight with her mother. The dog that bit me that night was the victim, not the aggressor.

    Anyone putting fingers in a seizuring dog’s mouth deserves to get bitten.

    Anesthetized dogs (coming up or going down) can inflict serious bites to anyone dumb enough to put fingers in their mouths.

    So here are my rules:
    1. Was the bite provoked? If so, how provoked?
    2. Was the dog fully conscious? If not, the dog wasn’t responsible for the bite.
    3. Was the dog under the influence of corticosteroids? If so, wait for evaluation.
    4. Was the dog just seriously wounded or is it seriously ill? If so, is it in pain? Is it in shock? Is its temperature significantly subnormal? If any of this is true, protect people from injury and wait to evaluate temperament.
    5. Was the bite inflicted by a large, dangerous, fully conscious dog without provocation? No second chances.
    6. Was the bite inflicted by a bratty two pound Chihuahua? Owner’s choice.
    7. Was the dog given any recreational drugs? If so, wait for evaluation?
    8. Did any person get very heavy handed on an untrained dog and spook it? Fight or flight! Get rid of the handler. One idiot’s one year old male Doberman was getting too nosy with the dog in front of him in the dog’s first obedience class. The handler hung him with a prong collar and was bitten. I was a witness to the abuse.
    9. Did someone spook a sleeping deaf dog? If a bite occurs in this situation, my recommendation depends on if there are young children in the home around the dog.

    Let’s remember that dogs are dogs. They react to us. We may be causing some of our own problems.

    No matter what, I am NOT recommending giving truly vicious dogs any extra opportunities to maul. Dogs with idiopathic rage syndrome are never truly safe animals. I also don’t support adoption of dogs with severe animal aggression. Some common sense here is needed.

    • You have put a lot of thought into this and it is good…we have become a very “all or nothing” society, in our rush to be right and shout the other side down…what other side? We have fiercely loyal dog owners (I am sure there is co-evolution here, the “pack” defense response is so strong, and we have innocent people, some of whom have just as much (if not more) right to not have to deal with a tertiary predator, its noise, and its poo against their will. You want this dog, you keep it away from other people unless they have consented to exposure to it. It should be permitted and registered, with the owner documenting training for the dog and owner.

    • One of the GSD’s I fixed and kept, nailed both my ex-hubby and me, once, each. However, that dog was abused, and I mean broken ribs, cigar burns, battered. Yes, the dog was fixable. Both my ex and I had decades of dog training/experience between us to make that commitment+equipment and keep the dog and everyone else safe, while I spent a year, working with that dog.

      So yes, sometimes, there are extenuating circumstances.

      That’s not most owners and it’s certainly not 99.9% of pitbull owners.

      Do dogs nip or bite when people make errors in handling? Yes, they can–often from panic.

      What a fixable dog *doesn’t* do, is repeatedly maul, or attempt to maim or kill. They bite, release and attempt escape. If they do repeatedly attack, they either view their victim as prey, or they’re too “game” to ever be safely handled outside of a dog training facility.

      Any dog that’s bitten shouldn’t be adopted out to regular dog owners. Ever. It’s just too risky.

      I don’t disagree Rachel, that there can be extenuating circumstances. I am saying that when it comes to adopting or re-homing such dogs, that should not be done because the risk is too great.

  18. We remind commenters of the following: “Hindsight, particularly through watching surveillance footage, always offers new ways to improve safety protocols. That is the lesson here, as well as to show readers the escalating aggression of this pit bull and how it was handled in a bite quarantine kennel block.”

    While we appreciate the individual responses to the video, learning/improving is what is applicable. It is rare to have footage like this. We hope that many shelters can learn from the mistakes seen.

    None of this is going away either. Today, more vicious dogs are housed in shelters than ever before (due to single metric no-kill “save rate” policies) and more families fight to keep their vicious dogs too, further exposing shelter workers to them.

    • Thank you for this wonderful learning opportunity. Our shelter personnel have watched the whole video with corresponding breakdown, and it has allowed us to honestly review our safety protocols.

    • Same thing is happening in Pima County, Arizona. And it’s only a matter of time before this animal “care” policy results in tragedy.

      Mark my words.

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