Well hello there folks. Been a while. New house, moving, holidays, all that good stuff. But lets get right to it, shall we? This week I have two posts in the hopper on ethics; the first clear cut and the second less so. Let’s begin with the clear-cut one, which is now rather urgent.
In October a beautiful young shepherd named Nike (Now Nikki) was turned into the Brooklyn Center of New York City Animal Care and Control.
A volunteer spotted Nikki in the lobby with a young boy, who was immensely upset that his dog had to go away. The volunteer promised the boy that Nikki would not be killed. Nikki was very upset in the shelter and difficult to handle for medical, but she was pulled by Waggin’ Train rescue.
Waggin’ Train sent Nikki to a boarding kennel in New Jersey. German Shepherds frequently do not do well in either shelters or kennels, they tend to bond intensely with their families, are suspicious of all others, and do not do well in chaotic environments. At first she was reported to be settling into the kennel very well, where she was handled exclusively by the kennel’s owner. As recently as early November there were reports that she was showing steady improvement.
In late November the representative of Waggin’ Train finally actually met Nikki. She lives several states away and had elected to manage this rescue of a dog with known behavioral issues from afar without ever having met her. She was not pleased with what she saw, and Nikki was moved to the home of an SAR handler.
Several SAR (Search and Rescue) handlers had now worked with Nikki, and the Waggin’ Train representative seems to feel that they have all the experience that should be needed, even though SAR dogs are typically selected for non-aggression and there is no reason that an SAR handler would have any more experience than any lay person working with issues of fear aggression or socialization. There is no indication that Waggin’ Train sought a consultation with a trainer or behaviorist experienced with these issues.
You know where this is going, right? Yes, the representative of Waggin’ Train has decided to kill Nikki in the face of available options. In her words, “the liability is just too high”. Nikki’s death is scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday Dec 27th. The Waggin’ Train representative is sending a vet to the home of the volunteer fostering Nikki to kill the dog she has evidently met only once.
Waggin’ Train has been offered, by a donor, a consultation with an actual qualified trainer for Nikki. They have refused. They have been offered a consultation with a canine behaviorist for consideration for sanctuary placement, and they have failed to respond to the offer. There is a third option of course, and that is to return Nikki to the shelter. While no one is a particularly big fan of that option, a return to the shelter would mean a chance at life and a chance at life is always preferable to a certain death.
Time is short. Will you help ask Waggin’ Train to make the right decision? We need a one week stay of execution to have her evaluated by a canine behaviorist for possible sanctuary placement. Even if that is not an option, I would hope that Waggin’ Train would spare her a certain death and return her to the shelter where a group might take her in who are willing to work with professionals with applicable experience. I too would not want to see Nikki in a situation where she may hurt someone or herself – but I’d also rather not see her dead.
Time is short now and quick action is crucial. Please sign this petition and let Waggin’ Train know that we, their potential donor base, do not want them to kill an animal without exploring every possible placement option. You may also wish to leave a comment on their Facebook page.