TN Pitbull Rescue Posts Response to News Story

A website page has been posted by someone claiming to be Casey Phelps in response to the story run by a TN news program. In the interest of fairness, I hope you will read the entire posting as I will only be quoting parts of it here.

Regarding criticism that she rescues and breeds at the same time (which I have no problem with, as long as both are done responsibly and euthanasia is reserved to end suffering in dogs deemed hopeless or unmanageable by a Veterinarian):

I just felt like If breeders would also help out with the over population along with the rescues then a major dent could be made in the homeless Bully Population.

There is no pet overpopulation. That myth has been debunked to my satisfaction by Nathan Winograd. But I would agree that if breeders, along with all pet lovers, would participate in helping to save homeless pets, we could in fact get all of them into homes or sanctuaries. I have no problem with – and in fact I fully support – responsible breeders who stand by the pups they produce and will take them back if necessary at some point in their lives. Rescues who condemn breeders just for breeding usually cite the overpopulation myth which, as I said, does not resonate with me.

Regarding dogs with human aggression, Ms. Phelps writes:

But with the good parts of rescue also comes the bad parts. The human aggressive dogs! It’s heartbreaking,because with every people aggressive dog that comes in ,I regardless of being nervous I have to work with it. I have to feed it,walk it,clean it! They come around and they learn to love,but they only love me.

I’ve worked with them and I have walked them to other family members who live here but do not do the work with the dogs that I do. So to these people aggressive dogs my family members might have been a potential adopter,and they lunge,they growl,they snap and tuck that tail and they try to bite!!

Now I am not a certified behaviorist nor do I claim to be an expert at dealing with human aggressive dogs (far from it). But to my mind, a dog with aggression issues is not going to be helped by someone who is nervous. I can see a dog growing accustomed to being handled by this nervous person and falling into a routine which may give the false impression that the dog is being rehabbed. But the moment a family member or stranger is introduced, the truth of the situation would quickly be revealed – the dog has not been rehabbed, the aggression issues are still there, and no progress has been made. Time to call in a professional for assistance. If that is not possible, it may be best to redirect owners surrendering aggressive dogs to another rescue. Because the method currently being employed by Ms. Phelps is to have the dog killed:

So I did the right thing and I took that dog to Animal Control where they can handle him and have him put down.

I mean,should I have gave the aggressive dog to people with a family,and let the dog bite them or a neighbor?? Am I supposed to keep all the aggressive dogs forever!

I don’t see either option as advisable nor would I agree that these are the only two choices. Reach out for assistance from the dog community when needed. Ask for help.

Every dog that I have taken into Animal Control has either been human aggressive ad or un-stable. Some of those guys will wag their tails and growl at the same time.

Again, I’m not an expert but how do we know these dogs are “unstable”? Because they growl and wag their tails at the same time? Tail wagging does not always indicate happiness. It sometimes indicates excitement or fear. Would I kill an unevaluated dog over it? Absolutely not.


If that is your position as a rescue, why accept dogs that you feel can’t be adopted? Why not redirect the owners elsewhere or seek out a sanctuary for the dog? Believe me, I understand the challenges but that’s part of what rescue is all about to my mind – to meet those challenges head on, to rally the community to save pets’ lives and to help dogs in need. Adopting a policy that basically says “dogs that I am nervous about handling and unqualified to help must be killed” is inconsistent with the goal of saving dogs’ lives.

I want to support rescues with all my heart. But charging money to an owner for surrendering a dog and ultimately taking the dog to AC to be killed is not “rescue” to me – especially given that the dog never had a real chance to see if he could be rehabbed with guidance from a professional. That’s quitting on a dog. Every dog deserves a fair evaluation by a qualified individual to determine a direction for rehab training and/or the type of home environment for which he is best suited. Every dog deserves a chance. I don’t expect 100% success. I do expect a chance.

We are a no kill nation and a humane society. Join us.

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