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LA Animal Services Vote On Aggression Screening

Pit BullRadio KNX 1070′s Brian Ping reports that the Board of Animal Commissioners is expected to have a special meeting this evening (December 12, 2012) to discuss and possibly decide on “temperament testing” of animals in shelters.

For the past 10 years, the policy has been to prohibit behavioral testing for animals in shelters. The current proposal would overturn that policy and  replace it with  participation in the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ (ASPCA) Safety Assessment For Evaluating Rehoming (SAFER) program. This program is described  as “an aggression assessment designed to assess the probability of future aggression in dogs age six months and older,”  and “is intended to be one tool used to help identify the risk of future aggression and the individual behavioral support needed before adoption for each dog in a shelter.”

It comes as no surprise that the proposal has triggered emotions on both sides of the proposal.

Supporters of the the proposal feel that it is an important benefit to provide potential adoption clients a more complete behavioral assessment before they commit to ownership and would help increase adoptions in the city.
Critics of the proposal feel that adopting the SAFER policy could cause a decrease in pet adoptions and a subsequent increase in the necessity of putting down dogs “to sleep.”

Almost half of the shelter dogs in Los Angeles are pit bulls – their reputation for aggressive, and often times dangerous, behavior tends to negatively impact their chances of being adopted.

What do you think?  Are you for or against temperament testing of shelter dogs?
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2 Responses to LA Animal Services Vote On Aggression Screening

  1. Ericka Bryant December 16, 2012 at 10:32 PM #

    Agression testing in a shelter environment is a poor idea. In that incredibly stressful environment, almost any animal may appear agressive, depending upon the criteria. Additionally, many animals who come to shelters have been abused and are generally mistrustful. But with some work and some love, they can be successfully rehabilitated and placed with a family. It would be a shame to take a chance for a good life away from a perfectly good dog simply because they are asked to perform and behave “normally” In a situation that is anything but normal for them.

    If you had been abused, abandoned, stuffed in a cold cage by yourself, forced to live in your own filth, and because of lack of volunteers not even able to get out in a yard and run once a day, you would quickly lose your mind. But that is exactly what you are asking of these animals. Have a heart and use some good judgement. Please don’t make “Agression Testing” a part of their already stressful little lives. Give them a better chance at finding a happy home.

    • LAdogs December 16, 2012 at 11:06 PM #

      Very well said, Ericka. Thanks.

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