Social media campaign saves chihuahua from being put down
LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. (WDAF) -- Lee's Summit Animal Control is hoping behavior modification will keep them from having to put down a dog who has bitten two staffers.
Lee's Summit Police Sergeant Chris Depue said the decision to euthanize the three-and-a-half-pound chihuahua after those bites, which illustrates aggressive behavior. Lee's Summit Animal Control has a partnership with Blue Springs Animal Control, which is where the dog was found. Animal Control says the owner abandoned the dog after moving, realizing she couldn't take care of the pup anymore.
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Police say a metro animal rescue group, Karma's Rescue, became very vocal on social media, blasting animal control and launching personal attacks on the shelter's director for the decision to put the dog down. The city said that's the protocol after an animal bites humans.
Depue also said, regardless of the type or size of the animal, public safety is the priority, though balancing that with putting down a pet is not an easy decision. Following Karma's Rescue's posts, the city decided to give the female chihuahua to another rescue group, for a period of two weeks. The rescue group will watch and train the dog during that time, and after two weeks, the two groups together will determine whether enough behavior changes are shown to make the dog adoptable.
Depue said, "It's a partnership for us and it's the ability to get the best possible outcome while still balancing public safety.What's important to remember is, they don't evaluate the dog on its size or its weight. It's aggression. Any dog can be aggressive and any dog can do damage."
Animal behaviorist Wayne Hunthausen, with Westwood Animal Hospital, said, "You always take aggression seriously, no matter what the size of the pet."
He said you can never guarantee that a dog, no matter the type, won't bite, though he said training might help.
"Even small dogs, while they're not likely to take somebody out, they can cause serious injuries in some situations, a face bite to a lip, nose or eyelid, you can have serious disfigurement. There are things you can do to significantly decrease the likelihood of a bite," said Hunthausen.
The dog is in quarantine until Monday following the bites and to monitor for rabies potential. After that, the dog will go to the animal rescue group for two weeks.
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