Court Orders Killing of Michigan Shelter Dog

I just read about a shelter dog named Dusty over on KC Dog Blog.  Please read Brent’s post and click the link he has to an online petition aimed at saving Dusty’s life.  Based on a bogus “temperament test” – and I use the words loosely – Dusty is marked for killing.  The first video is of the fake-hand-poking, food-taking-away, scaring-with-stupid-doll and witchy-poo-stranger portions of Dusty’s temperament test. The second and third videos are of Dusty meeting another dog. Beneath the vids are the evaluator’s comments which were presented in court in order to have Dusty killed.  I have my thoughts, starting with the ridiculous idea that a fair temperament test could be given in this environment, but I’ll hold off on additional comments for now. What do you think?

Dog  206 in cage 33 brown female with white markings Dusty

Wiggled at approach, stare and squat. Bit hand when petted and when eating.

avoided witch

Snarled at doll

jumped but no aggression to male or female dogs

The results of the testing indicates that […] one female  Dusty 206  who snarled at the doll should be humanely euthanized because of their lack of any useful purpose and the public safety threat they  pose.

Katherine Albro Houpt VMD PhD

Professor emeritus
Cornell University

Added:  The efforts to save Dusty and her fellow bust dogs are well organized and documented here.  Please visit the site for additional info and ways to help.

78 thoughts on “Court Orders Killing of Michigan Shelter Dog

  1. “lack of useful purpose” ??!!!!

    … and i haven’t even watched the video or read the link yet…

    1. I know, that’s an amazing statement. How does this vet know what this dog’s purpose is? Or ANY dog for that matter?

      My Lab’s “useful purpose” is holding down the couch and helping me take out the trash. Could this vet have possibly evaluated that when he was at the shelter?

      For all we know, Dusty will make an awesome agility dog. Or a frisbee dog. Or a model (anyone else picturing her dressed in pink and pearls for a photoshoot?). Or a drug detection dog. Or a hearing assistance dog. Or just a great companion for someone who needs one.

      How dare she write this dog off so casually?

      1. A f’ing MEN!!!!! No one can decide what a dog’s purpose is except for the dog. My dogs have decided their purpose is to keep my husband and I warm at night, to chase frogs in the pond and catch a ball as many times as I will throw it. Maybe Dusty’s purpose is to be a big couch potato. The audacity of that woman to make that statement is truly unbelievable.

  2. This is of utmost ridiculousness. My dogs would think that “hand” was a toy. And what’s with the millions of dogs barking in the background??!!!

  3. OMG… what a beautiful dog.. I loved the way she greeted the other dog… and what’s up with that woman with the clip board? My dogs would be doing the exact same thing if you didn’t do more than just stand there. That girl was telling that woman.. “See… I’m healthy and friendly and full of life.. Please .. let me out of here”

    Oh Dusty… I cry for you! People are such idiots..

    Someone.. Please get her out of there…

    1. This evaluation resulted in her being sentenced to death. Not sure if she’s actually been killed yet. There is a reputable, responsible rescue that wants Dusty and three other dogs, but the shelter refuses to let them and uses this evaulation as “proof” that the dogs are unadoptable.

      1. What kind of insane “evaluation” was that? Dusty seemed like a great dog acting better than most, especially under the circumstances. I would of bit her, pokeing me with some damn hand on a stick.
        Somebody please, save Dusty and do something about the echoes in all the dog shelters.

  4. Dr. Katherine Houpt should have her AVMA license revoked. She clearly knows dick about animal and dog behaviour. It is she, not Dusty, who has no useful purpose. Signed the petition, and praying like mad.

    1. Sue Sternberg is also a dog-hating hack, and shelters all over use her rigged-to-fail ‘testing system’. It’s pathetic.

  5. This Veterinarian(and I use that term loosely) needs her license revoked! Dusty did GREAT in these videos! We NEED reform in ALL government run animal facilities!
    Please, someone save DUSTY!!!

  6. I’m so glad you are highlighting this… I actually signed into my email to send you links to it and saw this post! That dog is impressively great in the videos I saw (there were three where I saw it), and seems to me would make a fantabulous pet!

  7. Dusty is about the friendliest, most playful dog imaginable. So she tried to play with the rubber hand? Hello! It’s a silly rubber hand that’s petting her all over and messing with her. She was scared of the creepy doll thing. It scares me too, and I know what it is. And then they get her all excited and then introduce random dogs. She’s a little pushy with her greetings but friendly. That was about the least professional temperament test I have ever seen and she still passes with flying colors. That evaluator was just looking for reasons to fail her.

  8. Are you friggin kidding me? How can she see something completely different than I see on these vids? Just goes to show ya a degree from Cornell does not mean your not still an idiot.

  9. Shirley, if it’s not too late please try to get my comments to the court. As a court-appointed rehabber in Minnesota with 50 years’ experience I have a documented history of working with the most dangerous of dogs assigned to me by our district criminal court. I am a reliable and credible evaluator.

    I am very confident in this statement: This is a wonderful dog who would make a fine family pet. This dog appears to present no threat whatsover in any form.

    First, Granny Goodwitch doing the testing is a moron. She shouldn’t be allowed to rotate tires let alone test dogs. All her attempts to frighten and intimidate that beautiful little female dog were unsuccessful. That dog passed every challenge with flying colors. Of course, I could have done a better and more thorough evaluation simply by walking that dog for a few minutes.

    As for the test it should be euthanized immediately. This is obviously Sue Sternberg’s horrible and discredited “temperament test.” As weak as it is compared to an evaluation by an experienced rehabber like myself, Dr. Emily Weiss’ “behavior assessment” profile tool, SAFER, is much better and more real-life. It does not work on a pass-fail basis, either. Combined with her (the ASPCA’s) Meet-Your-Match (MYM) category tool this can do a legitimate job of profiling a dog’s behavior – not their personality. The difference is critical.

    A few very important technical points in the videos:
    1) The dog at no time presented in a reactive or hostile manner. No physical displays were shown that indicate any form of aggressive attitude.
    2) Despite being threatened in an enclosed area by strangers in a loud, distracting environment, this dog showed only minor shyness from that crazy woman with the rubber doll. The dog’s reaction does not rise to the level of fear, and certainly is not aggressive.
    3) Despite a prolonged and very annoying intrusion while eating, the dog made no physical reaction to that rubber hand thrust in her face and continually rubbed around on her. That dog showed remarkable restraint. I’m not sure I know a human being who would be that tolerant of such an annoyance!
    4) What is with that Halloween costume? Frightening to any dog, yet this dog responded with a pleasant demeanor. No facial change, no setting of the ears, no hair rising, tail at a pleasant and happy set. Proof positive this is a family dog!
    5) Those handlers should be summarily dismissed. No two strange dogs should ever be allowed to go nose-to-nose in such a hostile and constricting environment. That put both dogs at great risk of physical harm. Fortunately, and as a testament to the dogs’ wonderful dispositions, neither reacted negatively or showed any aggression whatsoever. No thanks to the idiot handlers.

    Shirley, I will stand by that evaluation. That dog needs no rehab work at all. Put that dog into the hands of a competent trainer and in one week, working with the dog and her new adoptive guardian, I am confident this would be a permanent match and lifelong partnership. What a beautiful dog!

    1. I think your comment summarizes the videos perfectly. I watched all three and Dusty never showed any hostility and reacted in a friendly manner to every challenge! It is ridiculous that the assessor is recommending the dog be killed. How outrageous!

    2. willie wonka says:

      PURE INSANITY ! There is nothing wrong with this dog. I’d consider euthanasia for the terrible fake evaluator !

      1. haha – this gives me an idea for a new “temperament test”:

        Put a fake plastic evaluator on a stick and poke the dog with it. If the dog growls or runs away – PASS!

  10. Wow, I watched the first vid, then read the comments – did she mix up Dusty with another dog, maybe? BIT HAND??? No, touching with your mouth is NOT biting, dear. And there was no issue with food aggression (noticed that we had to have high value food on top).

    SNARLED? WTH? There was no snarling, there was hopeful greeting, then fear with avoidance, zero aggression. This is the sort of dog who will WORSHIP children if introduced to them properly.

    Someone needs to get a friggin grip on reality there. This is clearly a very good dog who will make a very good pet and is being written off because of some vet’s obvious breed prejudice. I’d like to see her evaluation records of all breeds and see what percentage of which breeds “fail” her evaluation.

  11. Wow, I perform and train employees to do temperament tests at my shelter. Ok, first off the dog is not to be on a lead while giving the test. You can’t get the true “feel” of the dog if they are restrained, it makes them anxious. No one else should be in the room. It shouldn’t be as loud, it’s suppose to be as calm of a setting as you can get. If those things aren’t followed by someone giving the test the test is deemed invalid. They are not used in our shelter as a life and death deciding factor but as a tool to see what the dog needs to work on and what kind of adopter it needs to go to. I swear one shelter can just make it look bad for all the rest. Summary:WTF?!

    1. A life becomes cheap indeed when a doctor such as this gives a temperament test in this way and fails the dog.

      This entire test is invalid because the methods used are bogus and geared to fail any dog. It also really bothers me that she doesn’t even write down and give a fair account of what she saw in the test.

      This woman should have her license revoked. Lives are at stake.

    2. To “humanesc” —

      Do you use the ASPCA’s (designed by Dr. Weiss) SAFER profile tool? It sounds like it. I love their Meet-Your-Match (MYM) tool which categorizes the dog into one of 3 nice categories: zooming around, couch potato lump or just a friendly doggy.

  12. First let me say that Morgana and Shelter Revolution pretty much summed up my feelings on this piece.

    I had serious difficulty watching the video – my dogs were NOT happy by the background noise, and I actually had to put them in another room when I turned the volume up and listened to it a second time to see if I could find the “snarl” (ummm…. yeahno.)

    The LEASH – oh dear doG, that LEASH. I was, quite honestly, awaiting some kind of negative reaction when Dusty was in the left hand corner trying to avoid that ridiculous doll, and the leash holder (no, I will not use the term “handler” here) was doing a stand up job trying to remove the dog’s ability to avoid. GREAT way to get yourself bitten by any dog.

    The food test was far too intense, and still he passed. That witch? I would’ve bitten her… Good dog, Dusty!!

    As for the “bouncy” introduction to the other dog, I disagree that it was bossy. A bit rude and without manners, but Dusty’s body from nose to tail looked totally relaxed from the camera angle shown. This is a young, incredibly stable dog who needs a few weeks of daily repetition to develop his manners to an acceptable level – which can easily be done in a foster home or even by an adopter with minimal experience.

    As for the veterinary evaluator… well, I’ll let Morgana speak for me.

    1. Thank you DogsinTraining, you did my heart some good on a day when I may have to have our Katrina rescue euth’d. :-(((

      That whole situation was ass-end-up from start to finish. I have NEVER in my life seen such a fucked up so-called temp-test, even when I saw Sue Sternberg in person in action! (Although, she came pretty close).

      And what I said about that alleged Vet stands on its own merits. She’ll have a nice place with VicktheDick in Hell.

  13. I agree with all of the above! That “vet” should be fired immediately. It really appalls me that during the entire video that dog did not get one pat on the head or any kind of acknowledgement. What’s with these people?????

  14. I watched that whole video and was just thinking what a great dog. And the noise in the background drove me nuts. I kept turning down the volume because I couldn’t handle it. I hated how they chased her with the doll. Poor girl just wanted to get away, didn’t even attempt to hurt the “kid” just did what we all want our dogs to do when fed up with something, remove themselves. Poor girly.

  15. It looks to me like the evaluator was TRYING TO GET THE DOG TO BITE – either the hand or the doll or the witch or the ACO – as long as the dog would bite SOMETHING. But despite her best efforts, the dog didn’t bite. I call that a reliably safe dog who should be moved to the front of the adoption list.

    I don’t have monsters for pets but among my dogs, I can predict outcomes for this test and not one of my dogs would do nearly as well as Dusty. I’m pretty sure some of my dogs would have been pancaked in fear from the outset and I’m pretty sure there would have been some biting in there. Are my dogs void of any useful purpose and a threat to public safety?

    To be honest, I have some freaky dogs (but they are not a threat to the public, lawl). Someday, I hope to find a really balanced dog who only needs to be taught basic leash and house manners. A dog just like Dusty.

    1. Shirley, well said.

      My dogs are quite well behaved – in fact, they accompany me daily to work (in a retail store and as training assistants), interact with the public, frequent the dog park and generally are just happy dogs. My older girl wouldn’t have been phased by any of the objects, although the movement of those objects would have likely caused her to go into serious avoidance. My younger one would quite possibly have tried to taste that doll, and would have barked her fool head off at the witch.

      Most telling was when I showed the video to my husband. He accompanies me during training sessions, and while he may not know how to rehabilitate a dog, he sure knows how to properly handle one. His first comment after watching the video was that she was trying to give them a reason to kill that poor dog.

      1. I showed the video to Billy and he was so impressed with how well the dog handled everything and said that this was the kind of dog we should be lucky enough to have someday. Then I hit him with the zinger: “Evaluator said she has to be killed because she’s a threat to society.” Whaaaaaaaa?!

    2. That is exactly the intent of Sue Sternberg’s test. She put dogs into stressful, unnatural situations and pushes them to the limit. She creates situations in which to fail dogs who react appropriately. And then she did the most vile thing possible – she shared her cruelties with shelters and perpetuated one of the greatest disservice to dogs ever, the traditional “temperament” pass/fail test.

      That dog is a rock star. Freaking rock star. She engaged in so many appropriate behaviors in the face of noxious stimuli, it’s ridiculous – I would have sent her to the adoption kennels immediately. When you have a dog faced with something freaking scary like a jumping nonhuman doll, you want a dog who either positive engages or positively disengages. This dog did both! She playbowed, for cripes sake, appeasement licked the doll’s face and, when that failed to stop the onslaught of chucky’s bride, she avoided by using her human handler as a shield. At no point, despite being pushed and pressured in a semi-abusive manner, did she put teeth on plastic.

      1. I have seen Sternberg’s test used without such provocation though. Not that I’m defending it – quite the opposite. But whether pushing the dog was the intent of the test or not, it’s blatantly obvious that this was the intent of the testers themselves. Frankly, even the very best temperament test can be done with this intent, and in my mind, therein lies the problem.

      2. When I saw SS in the flesh, she actually said she was really like a “Hitler” for dogs, and that ALL dogs in the US over 40lbs. should be killed, because they were all a danger to society.

        She outta take a look at the scar I have from a Chi I rehabbed after her visit…oh yes, he rehabbed fine, but not before peeling my hand like a grape, and he only weight 13lbs. So much for Hitlers of ANY kind….

  16. I’m glad people who really know where of they speak saw what I did, with my amateur eye. They were doing their best to provoke that dog and I felt stressed out just watching it! And she was sweet about it all, my chihuahua mix would have gone ballistic. And she’s a lover, never bitten but wow, keep prodding her and she does get a bit ruffled. I really saw no aggression there. It’s a cruel farce.

  17. I have some experience using an Assess-a-Hand (used appropriately i find it a safe tool) as well as a doll.
    I intentionally did not have sound on for the videos- i wanted to watch the body language of the dog without listening to the handlers (granted- that wouldn’t let me hear any growling, but you can usually ‘see’ that anyway). These were my thoughts:

    At the beginning i felt the dog may be more environment oriented than people-oriented, as she was social but more interested in sniffs than cuddles. But seeing her later in the video i changed my mind on that.
    The dog seemed a little mouthy during the petting exercise, but not overly excessive. I did not see a bite
    I did not like how the food test was administered, but nevertheless i did not see any signs of resource guarding. If the dog snarled i didn’t see it. And even if it did, the dog eventually gave up the food, so that’s an appropriate response.
    Dog acted timid and submissive to doll. I like the gentle submissive kissing to the doll’s face. I might put a child restriction on her (maybe 8 or older) just for her comfort level.
    During the Old Lady (?) she seemed fine- in need of some training to not jump
    On the dog intros she seemed rude and in need of some doggy manners, but not aggressive

    As i said above, i didn’t have sound on so i couldn’t hear the background noise that others are commenting on. Evaluation spaces should be as close to homelike as possible. Is that realistically possible for every shelter to achieve? No. Most shelters are lucky to even have a spare room that’s empty to use. So yes the environment is not ideal, but i won’t knock them on that- can’t make dogs stop barking.

    Overall she seemed like a nice dog. Honestly- i want pitbulls that are placed for adoptions to be ambassadors for the breed (along with their owners), so i’m a little harder on them just because they have more to overcome in our society (it’s like a horrible catch 22, i know). i wouldn’t say she ‘passed’ with flying colors- i would like to see less mouthiness and less timidness with children. But i don’t feel like she did anything to warrant euthanasia. Seems like a fun gal who probably needs some exercise and obedience training

  18. i totally forgot to ask- does all Euthanasia at Michigan Humane Society have to be approved by the court?

    1. I’m not 100% sure, but I don’t think this case involves the Michigan Humane Socieity. I thought that it was Monroe County AC that wants the dogs killed and Buster Foundation and Monroe SPCA that are trying to save them.

  19. That dog did GREAT! Ive seen dogs do worse on ‘Animal Cops’ and still get adopted out. Hell, even my own dog wouldnt be as great passing these tests. She was not food-aggressive, even though you could tell by her face that she was probably starved when they took the bowl away, I think she did great with the fake toddler, she wasnt too jumpy for a younger dog and had no problems with the “witch” (what is the point of that one anyway?) all while being in an enclosed space listening to a TON of barking in the background (Id be scared!). How in the world does she think that Dusty needs to be euthanized? Even at the worst, Dusty should go into a foster home for a bit, but not killed. Please keep us updated on this situation because I want to see what happens next. That lady should be fired at the very least.

  20. My 7month old puppy who LOVES every person and dog he runs across would fail by her standards.

    In the setting they put that dog in he’d be over-stimulated and scared first off, and I can promise that rubber hand would look and smell like a toy to him, and possibly the same with the doll. Either that or the doll would have him heading for a corner. He does very well with real kids though. No jumping on them, or nipping, or anything, even with my 3yr old nephew.

    Meeting a strange dog? Sniffs all around, then playbow, pretty much right off the bat, with yippy growly “play with me” barks. And the strange person, no matter how strangely attired? Jump up to try to lick the face. Yes we’re working on teaching him jumping up to say Hello is bad, he still struggles with it when overly excited or stressed, which he would be in that environment.

    Fail. By her standards he’s an aggressive dog. Yah right.

  21. this person ids far far beyond her useful purpose.. kick her upsatis.. or better yet to the unemployment line.. and leave the “temperament testing: to those who know the “hand ” of Sternberg is a killer hand.. and that witch.. honestly how many dogs encounter a witch on the street? my dogs wold have had the thing in SHREDS.. along with the hand,.. and they love people.. BUT plastic hands are NOT PEOPLE.. duh..

  22. Please allow one more dog trainer and shelter behavioral evaluator to chime in. I don’t see a single thing wrong with this dog’s responses. She was pushed and pushed and she responded beautifully. I see a dog that could benefit from a little manners training and some additional socialization, easy peasy. This is not a dangerous dog. This is a lovely dog that I would pass with no reservations. This “doctor” needs to be fired for incompetence.

  23. I see nothing wrong with her responses, she did wonderful. She would make a wonderful companion. This Doctor has seemed to lost something in her job along the way. Perhaps compassion, understanding, the love of her job? You took a oath as a vet, to save as many animal lives as possible. You as a Vet know a pets purpose to a human. They all have a purpose….This dog did very well on all tests and you know it. Perhaps you need to re evaluate your purpose here.

  24. Please read Brent’s column to which Shirley provided a link. It gives the rationale for why the dog was deemed to have failed the test. It’s not valid rationale, but it’s not as if the vet is stupid.

    My shelter temp tests, and I believe there is value in it. The test should push the dog’s boundaries to see how the dog reacts. Because shelters are not home environments, shelters have a tough time assessing how dogs will react to all the various situations they may encounter once they enter ‘the real world’. A temperament test can at least provide a bit of insight into how a dog will react when the dog is pushed into new, strange situations. This can be helpful information.

    The problem arises when shelters use temperament tests as pass/fail assessments to decide whether to kill a dog or not. Unless there are extreme red flags in the temperament test (which I have seen before, and this dog isn’t anywhere close), the results of the test should be viewed as information for potential adopters – “In a test, Spot didn’t get along with cats very well”, “Based on our test, Fifi seems like she may have some food guarding issues that you might need to work on”, etc. Results should not be used as a reason to say a dog is unadoptable and make everyone feel OK that the dog has been killed.

    1. Joel, really? “…rationale for why the dog was deemed to have failed the test.”

      The dog serves no useful purpose? That’s rationale? That isn’t even thinly-veiled contempt; it’s outright hatred for a particular breed or look. I suspect that the dog’s behavior played no role whatsoever in her demented judgement.

      Can you imagine if she said those words about a human being? She’s be villified and dismissed from Cornell. Her license would be revoked. But because her “credentials” give her license to run at them mouth she is taken seriously – because “it’s just a dog.”

      Please give that phoney no weight at all in her “rationale.” It’s exactly the same rationale Dr. Josef Goebbels used before World War II to classify anyone not of The Master Race as subhuman and unfit to live. “Serves no useful purpose” my ass!

      1. Shelter Revolution has hit THIS nail on the head. I am sorry, but “Temp Tests” per se are NEVER or VERY RARELY any indication of how an animal will behave in a home environment. First off, get the dog out of the shelter, even if its on the damned sidewalk, and let them get their initial ya-ya’s out before you try any “testing” on them. Yes, she was sniffing and environment oriented as someone above said, but every single dog I ever eval’d was the same way after getting out of a bare nasty cage with yowling growling and barking going on all around them. Jeezus give them a minute to come to themselves before trying to invoke the WORST in them, which is all I can see a temp test has ever been used for. That is why I use the SAFER method.

        BTW – does anyone know WHAT happened to these dogs? Were they killed? I’d really like to get my hands on that damned vet!!!!!!

  25. Results should not be used as a reason to say a dog is unadoptable and make everyone feel OK that the dog has been killed.

    Thats the reason why I am hating these temperament tests so much, though I have seen some dogs that would just not be good at all in a home environment (too aggressive) and had to be put down, This dog; however, did GREAT.

  26. Since I’m in a room with other people who are watching TV, I watched the videos without sound, watching only the dog’s body language.

    All I see is a dog who wagged her tail throughout the whole trial. Yeah she was a little shy about the “witch” and the doll, but she probably just needs a little confidence building. It looked like Dusty did very well with the food test. I don’t see any reason this dog should be killed.

  27. Is she blind or just stupid? This dog aswell as the others are wonderful dogs and deserve to live a wonderful life in a home. I would be honoured to have any of those dogs live next door to me. Heck I wish one of those dogs could come home with me!! Who do we start writing letters to?

  28. that dog didnt look vicious to me. the food dish test, ok, whatever , i saw nothing wrong with that dog, just like any other dog, given a chance they can be your best friend. so why is that dog being put down ? ppl are worse then that & they get away with everything , yet a dog cant & they lose thier life ? whats wrong with todays society ?

  29. The dog was wagging his/her tail the whole time. I certainly didn’t see what this vet saw. What a shame! She’s so cute and friendly.

  30. I counted the hand trying to irritate Dusty on numerous times and all Dusty does is lick it over and over, even when it (as doll and as witch) took away her food, spilled her food, walked in her food. The doll walks towards Dusty and Dusty tries to get away as it (the doll) corners Dusty still she only licks the doll.

    Dusty is inquisitive of what is going to come through the door next as she is wagging her tail. Witch comes in with hand banging it at Dusty, while all Dusty does is look towards her handler for direction and gets none.

    Dusty in cage is nothing but friendly, wagging licking, barks for attention, cries and even licks the cage as she wants to play. Dusty becomes very submissive and sad as she starts to give up trying to make friends with the lady that does not talk. Dusty looks towards the person with the camera as if to say, won’t someone talk to me.

    Dusty meets black dog and licks and wags.

    The fake hand spills Dusty’s food but Dusty just continues to eat off the floor even as the hand takes the bowl away, Dusty looks to guard for instruction and is told NO. Doll walks on spilled food, but Dusty continues to eat off floor then cowers submissively as she tries to lick the doll while wagging tail and no barking.

    Again the witch comes in and Dusty tries to befriend him/hand, but witch bangs the hand and Dusty still wags but looks a bit scared of the hand now.

    This whole thing was a set up that any normal family dog would have a hard time passing. This so called expert should go find something else to do. I hope she doesn’t get paid to do this silly testing.

    If I watched these videos (and please tell me why the Judge can’t just watch and decide) I would have no problem taking this dog home with small children, dogs and cats.

    ps, never saw or heard a growl

  31. That dog passed with flying colors.

    Katherine Albro Houpt VMD PhD, is flat out WRONG!! in her evaluation of this abuse victim and should have never been rated on a pass fail system? They set these dogs up to fail to get the outcome they wanted

    People of Michigan should be ashamed and appalled if they knew. What a waste

  32. With your permission, Shirley…

    I found the page of email addresses for Monroe County’s prosecution team. Sadly, I couldn’t find an email address for Judge Vitale. I’ll be sending them a copy of my comments and asking the prosecutor to ask the judge to rescind/reverse his ill-advised decision on the dog, Dusty. I encourage everyone else to email them, as well.

    It would be great if Judge Vitale, the presiding judge in this case, would simply read down the comments in this blog.

    Here’s the link to the county page =

  33. At the very least, they ought to allow a second temperament test by another person. That dog needs to be lying on somebody’s couch!

    1. How about a SAFER test instead of “temp test”, the words of which I despise and, as Gandalf said in the movie, I will not utter here…..there is a great darkness growing in the east…or wherever this is.

  34. This dog displays a happy, easy-going demeanor in a high-stress environment, despite the evaluators testing. I disagree strongly disagree with the conclusion and would place this dog with a family.

  35. When this is biting and snarling I bite and snarle all the time….!
    There must be a law against this type of charactertest and still more against the fact that clearly unsuitable people (whatever their fancy degree) judge it.

  36. I know I’m late to the game, but …

    My friend lives in the Detroit area and became involved with these dogs through her scent detection trainer. She spent several weeks getting to know all of the dogs, and specifically Dusty, spending time with them and actually taking them to her home and allowing them to play poolside with her other dogs (two pitties, a golden and a lab).

    Here is her write-up on the incident–some “behind the scenes” details as well as extra videos, including one of Dusty and the other pit bull Razzle poolside and playing with other dogs.

    I appreciate your efforts to get this tragedy out into the blogosphere. It makes me sick what is happening to these great dogs.

    1. What a sweet/beautiful video. Thank you for sharing it with us! Youre right, I only see a sweet dog wanting to play in that video, and she was just as sweet there as she was in the testing area. Is there anything more we can do to change this besides sign the petition (as Ive already done that)? I feel so hopeless in these types of situations. Would Dusty still be “euthanized” if the person who fostered her took her out of the shelter so she could survive?

      1. At this point, as far as I know, they are refusing to release the dogs to potential foster homes. Many people have stepped in saying they would be willing to foster and train these dogs, and the courts have refused to listen.

  37. Dusty seems to be a very sweet dog. The only thing I seen in these videos was a dog who liked attention and wanted to play. Only to be teased over and over, scared by a doll that was pushed on her several times. The vet and other people involved in this testing shouldn’t be in there position. Let’s give them this kind of testing….betting they would fail the test.

    1. Still alive. The efforts to save Dusty and her fellow bust dogs are well organized and documented here. Please visit the site for additional info and ways to help.

  38. Wow! Euthanize based on what?! Shelter Revolution says all that I would really have to say on this. Dog beautifully tried to take herself away from the scary stimuli and to diffuse the situation and stress she was feeling. The test is a tragic joke and ends the lives of many great animals. Read “Dog is in the Details” article from The Bark (find online). These tests are not reliably predictive of anything. Dr. Houpt’s assessment is ridiculous. Wishing this dog a happy outcome…

  39. Ugh, that is so awful. I guess its because they are afraid to release them to the public in fear of “being too aggressive” but they take that chance with any foster essentially, plus these people have already fostered the dog and knows how it is anyway.

  40. This is an example of expectations overwhelming actual behavior facts. This is a lovely dog – friendly, happy, and mostly balanced. Her reaction to the child doll was an underreaction in my opinion – what kid behaves like that!!!!???
    The shelter I work at uses the SAFER assessment by Emily Weiss, pHD. This dog would have passed this assessment with flying colors. We have a lot of pit bulls where we are in Florida, and this one showed a lovely temperament. Her social skills with other dogs needs work but her body language showed not one speck of aggression – just an eagerness to greet another member of her species in an inappropriately overboisterous way.
    I wonder what they would have ‘labeled’ this dog as if it was say a Labrador or a Beagle? I am disgusted at the so-called ‘assessment process’ too – the dogs barking in the background, the obviously tiny room, the pestering of the dog with an Assess-A-Hand and a ridulous child doll, until a behavior they could use to label the dog was obtained (according to them anyway). Poor, poor dog.

  41. I signed the petition. I watched the videos several times and never saw Dusty show any aggression what so ever. When I read the results of the report I nearly fell off my chair. I was so angry that this women so called vet would deem this dog dangerous. My rescue who is friendly would have never passed this test, she would have coward from the doll, she would have allowed her food to be taken away…but she would have bitten the hand because it looked like a nice chew toy. She would have barked and raised her fur at the stranger and would have greeted the dogs in the same manner.

    This lady needs her head examined and her license to practice anything revoked and her ability to work with animals of any kind removed.


  42. This dog did fine he did not snap back when he was eating i have seen dog do a lot worse when it came to their food. As far as the child section of the video he just looks scared of this item coming after me it does not even look real but once again did not attack which means he could be trained to get use to a child. may not have been around any. As far as the witch of course he was scared but again did not attack in any way just coward away had a little interest. And as far as the other dogs he really wanted to get to know the other dog looks like they could have gotten along. so all in all i believe this dog could be worked with to end up in a loving home. I believe that they should try it first.

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