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Adopting a Dog from an Animal Shelter or Rescue Organization - Preventing an Attack or Bite Incident

Earlier this week, a mother and her 2 children in Northeast Philadelphia were attacked and bitten by a dog they had just recently adopted from a local animal rescue organization. The dog had just been adopted a few days prior to the attack. According to local authorities, the dog was friendly, and it is unknown what caused the attack. *Source: http://6abc.com, Woman, 2 children attacked by recently adopted dog in Northeast Philadelphia (March 18, 2015).

This recent case is a reminder for anyone thinking of rescuing a dog from a shelter or rescue organization to take proper cautions before completing the adoption. While many adopted dogs go on to adjust well into the new family, some dogs, like this most recent case, simply snap. Here are two basic things to consider when adopting a dog from a shelter.

1. Make sure you know the dog’s history.

Just going to a shelter, pointing to a dog in a cage and bringing the dog home can result in a mismatch and a dog attack or bite incident. Like people, dogs have various temperaments. Therefore, it’s important to find the right dog for the right family.

There are various factors which should be discussed with the shelter employees to determine the best fit. You should know the circumstances of how the dog ended up at the shelter:

  • When/where the dog was found, i.e., was the dog found wandering alone without a collar?
  • Was the dog just dumped at the shelter?
  • What medical treatment has the dog received at the shelter and when?
  • Was the dog spayed or neutered recently?

These are just some of the factors to consider to help determine the best fit. For instance, if the dog was found wandering alone, then it's likely the shelter has absolutely no knowledge of the dog’s history. Therefore, you should think twice about adopting this dog, if you've never owned a dog or have young children. The dog may be better suited for an older couple who have experience with dogs. On the other side, a dog who came from a family with young children and was given up for adoption because the family moved may be a better fit for a family with young children.

2. Consider a temperament test.

This is especially important if you have young children. You may want to pay for a temperament test, or make sure the shelter conducts one before you bring the dog into your home.

Temperament tests are conducted by trained professionals and assess the dog's behavior and attitudes. If performed correctly, these tests serve as a predictive tool for how the dog will react to various stimuli. Ask your vet to help you find an animal behavior specialist who conducts temperament tests.

About Our Dog Injury Law Practice

Our injury lawyers have been handling dog bite and attack lawsuits in PA for decades. We fight for dog attack victims' rights to full compensation from all negligent parties, including breeders, shelters, etc. Call for a free consultation. (877) 944-8396


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