Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Temperament Tests: An Unfair Way to Decide Who Lives and Dies

You have to click the link at the end of this post to a video by Eldad Hagar. I came across  Hagar  a couple of  weeks ago on the internet.  Put simply, he and his wife rescue dogs in L.A., calling their rescue Hope for Paws.

Hagar creates powerful videos of  rescues as they happen. I wish they were shown on TV -- on the mainstream news, on 60 Minutes, on the morning talk shows watched by women.  I can't imagine anyone who's seen one of his videos not saving a dog in a kill shelter instead of buying a pet.

Hagar rescues dogs who are so down and out that if picked up by animal control they would no doubt have been killed rather than being put up for adoption, and he also saves shelter dogs slated for death at the shelter.

One such dog, Chase, was to be killed the day Hagar rescued her. A small dog with dirty, matted hair,  abused by her owner then dumped at a shelter, Chase curls back her lips in a snarl and jumps at Hagar's hand when he reaches into her cage.  Who would adopt this dog?  And if the shelter used temperament testing to determine if she were adoptable, certainly she would fail. 

The video made me think about temperament testing, which can be used in one of two basic ways: 1) to determine what type of home the dog would best be placed in and what type of training it might require, and 2) to determine whether the dog should be put up for adoption or killed. 

Chase probably would have failed the test before it even started.  What's the point of testing a dog who tries to bite when you reach into her cage?

How many dogs are never given a chance because they are terrified at the shelter, victims of abuse, have never known any kindness, and only know to try to protect and defend themselves as best they can?

This video is worth a thousand words.  Watch it and you'll know what I mean.
Chase: Rescued the Day She Was Scheduled to be Euthanized

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