Do NACA and HSUS Approve of Beating Shelter Dogs Who Get into Fights?

A Pitbull mix named Prada has been imprisoned at a Nashville, TN pound for more than one year after attacking another dog.  Her owner has been battling to save her life via the courts.  Prada is supposed to be kept isolated because the city contends she is vicious and may have an airborne fungal disease.  However, Metro AC has reportedly allowed her to get into fights with other dogs twice.  One of the fights occurred in an area where there were no cameras or witnesses.  But a fight which happened in August 2011 was caught on security camera.  Be warned, it’s disturbing to watch – not because of the actions of the dogs, who appear to be unscathed after the event but because of the actions of the trained professional handler.  The worker is depicted violently punching and kicking the dogs.  I was able to withstand the snippet at the beginning of the video piece but had to shut it off when the longer version is played later.  The city defends the violence in the video:

“I think if you look at a dog attacking another dog, our animal control officers are trained by the National Animal Control Association and the [Humane Association of the United States] has recognized our efforts on behalf of animals and today, is actually bringing us six dogs from an out-of-county felony cruelty case so we provide care for these animals while the criminal case is being handled,” [Metro Public Health Department spokesperson Brian] Todd said.

Really?  This is how NACA trains its members to deal with dog fights?  I assume the reference to the Humane “Association” is actually HSUS.  And the fact they they are bringing 6 court case dogs to this pound is supposed to be some kind of endorsement I guess.  Because we all know HSUS only drops off dogs at the finest killing facilities in the land.

Prada’s owner is due back in court on February 20 for the next legal step in the fight to allow Prada to be released to an experienced sanctuary.


14 thoughts on “Do NACA and HSUS Approve of Beating Shelter Dogs Who Get into Fights?

  1. Sounds like incompetence all around. If you know that this dog has some kind of dog aggression, how do you allow *several* incidents to occur where the dog can get into fight situations with other dogs? And then to say that beating and kicking a dog is an ok way to break up a fight? No, that’s how you get bitten, dumbass. And that’s how dogs end up with broken ribs and internal injuries.

    What the hell is wrong with these people?

    1. Completely agree.

      And why the eff has the dog been there for a year + ? God knows how much abuse was being done during that time.

  2. One of the things I see frequently in people who have been poorly trained or untrained to break up a dog fight is that they enter the fight as a combatant instead of a peacemaker. In some people a dog fight provokes an emotional response and there’s an element of punishment involved on the part of the handler, as if the dog has made a moral choice (which they have not).

    Entering a flight as a peacemaker also greatly reduces the chances that a dog will redirect on you. Force is your option of last resort and it is your obligation to use no more force than is absolutely necessary to get the dogs to disengage enough to be separated.

      1. Yes, *IF* you’re competent at what you’re doing. Sounds like these guys need some serious retraining…heaven only knows what’s going on where there are no cameras. If I were that dog’s owner, I would seriously consider suing them for abusing the dog.

        If I were the shelter director, I would immediately fire any employees hurting animals like this. This is not professional behavior, this is actionable animal abuse. If it were filmed on the street with a dog owner doing the same thing, the police would be involved…

    1. I don’t suppose you have any tips to share about how best to break up a fight between two dogs? Bonus points if you have tips for a person acting alone and unable to get help no matter how loud s/he yells.

      1. The best way to break up a dog fight alone is to grab the “winning” dog by the hind legs and drag them away from the other dog. The most important thing is to try and control your emotions. Dont react with emotion and excitement they can smell your pheromones, and the change of them… so if a fight breaks out quickly evaluate the situation, if you know who the aggressor is or the one who appears to be winning is the one you want to pull away, once you drag them pull them away and around you so that your back is facing the other dog, tell them to stay or sit or no. Be firm not scared. It may take a couple “circles” with the dog to get the other one to back off… but if you pull their back legs they lose all ability to fight. Stay away from their faces… this greatly increases your chances of getting bit even by the best dog. They are trying to protect themselves they see the dog not your arm, so always think and then react.

      2. I’ve used water to break up a dog fight when I’m all alone. The splash is often enough to interrupt the connection and cool the aggression so that they notice/listen to me. (And thanks to Michelle for her suggestion too! Although depending on who the *loser* is…dragging the *winner* away backwards doesn’t always end the interaction.) Controlling my own emotions and reactions is indeed critical.

  3. Listening to the shelter director “explaining” that what we saw wasn’t really what happened made me think of Matthew Pepper. Do they send these guys to a school to learn how to deflect and bob and weave whenever something is captured on camera?

    How sad for the dogs that apparently idiots only need apply at the shelters! They appear to be the only ones working at these places.

  4. 1. Whoever let that dog with known DA get into a fight with another dog not once but TWICE is an incompetent twit. Like the saying says “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me!”

    2. The rescue shelter I volunteer for has had dogs get into fights (with animals, sometimes sh&t just happens, forget to clip their run after you shut it and they hit their run just right and it pops open, etc.) and we’ve always managed to break them up without hitting and kicking dogs. Shocking, isn’t it?

  5. The violent and incompetent shelter employees, and the refusal of the Public Health Department spokesman to acknowledge reality, are (sadly) no surprise. What was out of the blue was the shelter vet’s claim that Prada has Blastomycosis. Never having heard of this, I looked it up. It’s not carried by bites, so why is the shelter vet claiming that it is? That poor dog who was tied to the wall was killed on the basis of this medical claim. I don’t believe that dog deserved to be killed any more than Prada does.

    I’m just glad Prada has an owner who can afford to fight for her. There are so many where that’s not the case.

    There’s a detailed account of the original incident that led to Prada’s incarceration here:

    Unfortunately they don’t cite their source for the information, but I assume it was the original police report.

    The petition for Prada is here:

  6. I think salary has a lot to do with the problem of shelter workers. I’m sure the pay makes it hard to attract quality employees. I know what they pay around our metro area for government shelter workers is the equivalent of little more than minimum wage. In the range of $12.40 and hour starting up to around $14.xx an hour. An ASPCA shelter was $15.00 an hour.

    1. Bull. Animal Control employees here make GOOD money! The benefits package is excellent. They are union employees and they have big networks fighting for their rights to have potty breaks and permission to stop and smoke a cigar whenever they *need it.*

      What makes it hard to attract quality employees (IMO) is that part of the job description is either killing animals, choosing which animals will die, or dealing with either lazy/uncaring co-workers, or the full spectrum of the public…which includes the unwashed masses, the irresponsible, and the politically saavy who know how to work the system.

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