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Old 01-18-2013, 08:28 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Advice Please

One of my coworkers told me that her neighbor is going to be euthanizing her two year old Doberman because "she is too hyper" and "she showed her teeth." I, of course, had to get involved.

I am finally in contact with the owners and am trying to just get the dog out of there. They have three small children and another small dog. They leave the Doberman outside most of the time where it runs the fenceline looking for activity and interaction. The rest of the time it is locked up in a crate. They "rescued" this dog from previous owners who did a home-crop-job on her ears. I am not sure what this dog has gone through but she is typically sweet, compliant, and intelligent by both the owners and the neighbors. My personal thought is that this dog is annoyed with the family, has pent up energy and frustration, and doesn't know what to do with itself.

They say they took her to the vet and blood work, tyroid, etc. came back normal. The vet recommended a neurologist and they decided they would rather euthanize her than pay for that.

After talking with this lady things are starting to get weird. She wants me to come over so SHE can see how I interact with the dog- like she is doing ME the favor. She then called me later and said that she spoke with her lawyer and wants to send me an email documenting this so I can acknowledge it. What the heck?

I am not keeping this dog, but trying to give it a fair chance at life in a semi quiet home where she can get activity and exercise. I have a family friend in mind who may want her, but don't want to pass her along without having a chance to evaluate her. Otherwise, I was planning on working with friends in the Doberman world and trying to help her find a home.

Any thoughts here? The lawyer aspect spooked me, and I am getting really annoyed by this lady acting like she is doing me the favor here.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:36 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It all depends on what the lawyer thing has to say. Unfortunately, there are way too many people that think that " a dog is a dog is a dog". They just do not understnad anything about the Doberman Personality.

On the other hand there are people and dogs that are psycho and are better off being put down. I have no idea what the situation is in this case, but I have not heard anything so far that indicates she is psycho. I hope you can find a proper home for this dog.
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Old 01-18-2013, 08:55 PM   #3 (permalink)
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It all depends on what the lawyer thing has to say. Unfortunately, there are way too many people that think that " a dog is a dog is a dog". They just do not understnad anything about the Doberman Personality.

On the other hand there are people and dogs that are psycho and are better off being put down. I have no idea what the situation is in this case, but I have not heard anything so far that indicates she is psycho. I hope you can find a proper home for this dog.
Exactly- she didn't describe anything that seemed like the dog wasn't right in the head. It just sounded like the dog was frustrated and has too much energy.

I think this dog deserves a shot at a normal life. I did let the lady know when she gives her to me (if she does) that I would ask for the amount that euthanizing her would have cost, in case for whatever reason I have to do it, I shouldn't be burdened with the cost and it can offset other costs. She agreed.

Any idea what the average euth costs? Anyone? I hate to think that, but at the very least I will go get her all up to date on shots, get her on a quality food, and that can pay for that.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:05 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajp240 View Post
They leave the Doberman outside most of the time where it runs the fenceline looking for activity and interaction. The rest of the time it is locked up in a crate. They "rescued" this dog from previous owners who did a home-crop-job on her ears.
That poor dog has had a really bad start in life. She has 2 strikes against her already. I hope you can get her out of that situation and in a home that understands dogs in general and dobermans specifically.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:19 PM   #5 (permalink)
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If it was me and a dog had shown it's teeth or possibly shown signs of aggression, and someone offered to take the dog, I would want to talk to a lawyer too. If the dog were to bite someone in their "new home" I could probably still be held liable...
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:22 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Two quick kinda out there possibilities about the lawyer:
1. There is a custody/divorce dispute going on that the dog is a part of, so lady wants lawyer involved.
2. The dog has a bite history so lady doesn't want any liability on down the line if dog makes problems.

If the dog's ears are butchered, I would do some extra checking of them when you're looking for sensitivity to being handled etc. in terms of its temperament. I'm making this up as I go but I would think that there would be at least a possibility that a dog with a home-done crop and poor after-care might be extra nervy or even snappish if those ears were handled roughly (by a child, for example).
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:27 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I wouldnt know about euth. costs in your area, but our clinic charges $50-100 for euth. including disposal of the body. The drug itself doesnt cost much.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:27 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Are you sure that "showing teeth" wasn't a Dobie smile? I know that people misunderstand this and misinterpret it. Sounds submissive to me, considering the situation. Good luck, I hope you can help this poor girl.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Welcome to the world of owner surrenders.

Now y'all know why so many rescues do NOT fool with owner surrenders.

Pulling from shelters can be a bit of paperwork and logistics arrangements, of course, but accepting animals from the KuhRayZee public is a whole other ball o' wax.

The best thing you can do, OP, is be very, very unemotional with this person, set reasonable boundaries in a polite manner--and stick to them--and make sure she knows by your attitude you are willing to walk away from the situation.

That sounds harsh, but really, a lot of this is like hostage negotiation. I've long felt rescue volunteers could benefit from that training, btw, not just police officers and the like

And, you're right, no matter how much you see it, it never ceases to amaze the way folks will want YOU to pay THEM in order to solve THEIR problem. (That they 'most always created, in the first place.)

And, I crack up when they talk about "being picky where she goes to," and "finding a forever home." Like their own home was NOT. <---Don't dare criticize them for their subpar care and commitment, though, or deal will be so very off.

Thank you for trying to help this girl, but stay safe (with both two and four leggeds) and try to focus on realistic goals and boundaries.

Wishing you best luck.
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:42 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I hope you will have the opportunity to give this girl a shot, and that her only problem is that she is bored out of her mind. My dog trainer was given a young male dobie because he was aggressive with their kids. He was like that because nobody exercised him or bothered with training at home; he was actually a sweet dog! Keeping my fingers crossed that's the case with this dog too.

As for getting a lawyer, the first thing I thought of was that she doesn't want to be responsible if anything happens after the dog goes to you, but who knows?!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajp240 View Post
Any idea what the average euth costs? Anyone? I hate to think that, but at the very least I will go get her all up to date on shots, get her on a quality food, and that can pay for that.
Hopefully it won't come down to this, but my vet charges about $70 for just the euthanasia (not sure how much the cost varies in different areas, but you could always call vets in your area and ask)...but let's look on the positive side for this gal and say that you will be using it towards her future vet care and food
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Old 01-18-2013, 09:56 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Make sure you get her to sign a surrender form, giving all care and custody of the dog, to you, OP.

Particularly if it should come to euth at some point (hope not), you want to protect yourself legally.
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Old 01-18-2013, 11:55 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Make sure you get her to sign a surrender form, giving all care and custody of the dog, to you, OP.

Particularly if it should come to euth at some point (hope not), you want to protect yourself legally.
Good point. Do you have an example or one I could use?

Thanks to others for the advice- I need to get some sleep but am wired thinking about this poor girl.

I also found out they told the local Doberman rescue group she was aggressive and they won't take her back. No bite history though. Fingers crossed!
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Old 01-19-2013, 12:50 AM   #13 (permalink)
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The fact that her reaction is to immediately involve a lawyer is a red flag to me. She won't pay for medical treatment, but she is willing to endure legal fees?!? The fact that she also wants to document the conversations and meetings makes me think that she is trying to escape further liability because of something she is not telling you. THERE IS SOMETHING SHE IS NOT TELLING YOU!! It sounds like the lawyer aspect was meant to spook you.

You are doing the right thing in my opinion, and it infuriates me to know end people who do not take care of their pets. I would just be careful because it's sounds to me like she's holding something back.

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Old 01-19-2013, 01:22 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I also feel there are red flags flying here. Trust your gut, it never lies.
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Old 01-19-2013, 04:29 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Oh dear, how we legal folk engender such trepidation.

Okay, here is my UK legal minds 2 cents worth.

In your culture suing is as natural as breathing. Which leaves me to say if this dog turned out to be the canine equivalent of Vlad the Impaler someone (not saying you) might go for the previous owners jugular and sue the crap out of them for non disclosure of previous history.

But there is the crux. If an owner knows the dog has a bite history and then tries to cover their arse by getting you to sign you accept the risk of taking this dog on without detailing she has bitten before a good lawyer would argue, non disclosure. Now before you start thinking such a contract is worthless I feel I must say you may be considered acceptant of the dogs issues because you have still taken her in after you have been told of the teeth bearing. It all depends on your lawyer and the judge at the end of the day with regards interpretation.
My advice, get a copy of this contract or whatever this woman wishes to call it and get your own lawyer to read it through. Make what amendments you deem fair (if you wish to make any) are notorised by your lawyer and initialled / signed by the owner.

As for the cost of putting the dog to sleep you can ask and it can be agreed upon but put that in writing as well as rehome intentions.

Or you can accept her terms without advise and hope for the best.

Bless you for trying to help this girl. I hope it all works out.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:12 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I have already decided I won't be the one signing anything, so she won't be coming home with me if that's the case. I wouldn't sue for a dog bite since that would be my responsibility as the new owner. But if she is turning this around on me when I'm
the one helping...I can't do that

She already tried to give her back to the rescue group but said the dog was aggressive. Lovely.

Maybe she is leaving something out but I would rather find out for myself instead of know this girl's life was ending for no reason.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:19 AM   #17 (permalink)
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I don't want to sound naive. It's just that the situations she described to me didn't sound aggressive. It sounded like the dog was frustrated. I hope that doesn't make me sound like a big idiot...
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:32 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Oh God, what a terrible thing for the poor dog to be going through. I really hope you are able to do something for this poor animal. Two years old, I would think they are still more a puppy. Some of these stories are so heartbreaking.
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Old 01-19-2013, 07:59 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajp240 View Post
I have already decided I won't be the one signing anything, so she won't be coming home with me if that's the case. I wouldn't sue for a dog bite since that would be my responsibility as the new owner. But if she is turning this around on me when I'm
the one helping...I can't do that

She already tried to give her back to the rescue group but said the dog was aggressive. Lovely.

Maybe she is leaving something out but I would rather find out for myself instead of know this girl's life was ending for no reason.
I would say, take a look at what she has had her Lawyer draw up, then decide. Contracts as seldom as watertight as most folk think. Heck, this is why we lawyers get involved and even then we will try to find a way for our client to wriggle out of it if that is what they want and there is some loophole present.
If I were you I would check for any mention about 'in the event of a dog bite you hereby relinquish the right to seek recompense from the previous owner' or words to that effect. If something along those lines is within the contract/agreement. I would add an adendum of.. 'I (owners name) certify that this dog does not have a previous bite history.' You then get the owner to sign this part (run this by your states laws) and you are both protected. If the dog does have a bite history then she has openly lied, in writing, so if someone were to sue her later she cannot defend herself with you having signed a waiver. This clause would also show her true colours, if she refuses, then you can probably deduce from this she is lying, that the dog is aggressive and from this to take what you will and make a decision based upon such facts.

I do not know how much your lawyers charge in the US, but for someone to read through a contract and advise doesnt cost a fortune in the UK, around a hundred pounds usually sees it all done and dusted, sometimes less.




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I don't want to sound naive. It's just that the situations she described to me didn't sound aggressive. It sounded like the dog was frustrated. I hope that doesn't make me sound like a big idiot...
It doesn't to me, but then, as neither you or I know this woman you cannot always take folk at their word.

If she cares about the dog I am sure you will be able to sort something out.

Don't let the word 'Lawyer' scare you, it is a double edged sword, it can work against you and it can work for you, in such matters.
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Old 01-19-2013, 10:30 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I happened upon another post recently where the OP was of the opinion that euthanasing her dog was a more responsible thing to do than running the risk of the dog being rehomed with someone who wanted to use the dog for things the OP didn't approve of ( can't remember what, exactly, but say it was dog fighting, or chained-in-the-yard security, or byb).

So the OP was ruthlessly challenged on her world view on the forum, but the perspective was what it was, and maybe in your situation it is similar?
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Old 01-19-2013, 11:13 AM   #21 (permalink)
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If they are getting a lawyer it is better for you. I know in most days they have to disclose any problems that they know if. So then you have an real ideal of what you are dealing with. Then again they could list a 100,000 problems that the dog does not have. I can get a release forum we use at the rescue tomorrow if you want an ideal what they look like. It was done up by a lawyer. Works in Texas but in Texas your word is also binding. Dont know about other states.
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:35 PM   #22 (permalink)
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I don't see the lawyer as an obstacle, to be honest.

In this woman's head, this dog is out of control and baring his teeth. Now I know that Murphy bares his teeth sometimes, as well, but only when we're play fighting or messing around.

This puppy (yes, I'd still consider him a puppy, especially if he hasn't been trained properly) does not know how to interact with people, and there's a good chance he was trying to play. Think of how our puppies interact before they're trained properly and how people who don't understand them think.

Puppy jumps up out of excitement = puppy lunged at my face.
Puppy bites gentle on hands while playing = puppy bit me.
While sitting on the couch puppy barks in face to beg you to play = puppy was aggressive for no reason.
Puppy bares teeth to initiate play = puppy wanted to bite me.

Yes, there is a chance that the puppy is a liability. Yes, there is a chance that the lady is holding something back. But the reality is that this is a (probably) untrained and understimulated dog that needs work. Definitely not a task for the weak. But I'd read the contract first.
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Old 01-19-2013, 03:55 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Is it possible for you to contact the rescue to explain your side of the situation and what type of behavior you've witnessed in order to describe the "aggressive" nature of this dog? Do you think if you described her to them as you've described her to us that they'd reconsider taking her back?

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I don't want to sound naive. It's just that the situations she described to me didn't sound aggressive. It sounded like the dog was frustrated. I hope that doesn't make me sound like a big idiot...
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:19 PM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajp240 View Post
I have already decided I won't be the one signing anything, so she won't be coming home with me if that's the case. I wouldn't sue for a dog bite since that would be my responsibility as the new owner. But if she is turning this around on me when I'm
the one helping...I can't do that

She already tried to give her back to the rescue group but said the dog was aggressive. Lovely.

Maybe she is leaving something out but I would rather find out for myself instead of know this girl's life was ending for no reason.
I'd be curious to know what rescue was contacted. I could be wrong, but it has always been my understanding that if a rescue adopts a dog out that they will always accept the dog back. Even if the dog was aggressive, although she may not have been when she was initially adopted out, I would think that the rescue would take her back even if the only alternative would be for the rescue to humanely euthanize her.
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Old 01-19-2013, 05:40 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Oh dear, how we legal folk engender such trepidation.

Okay, here is my UK legal minds 2 cents worth.

In your culture suing is as natural as breathing. Which leaves me to say if this dog turned out to be the canine equivalent of Vlad the Impaler someone (not saying you) might go for the previous owners jugular and sue the crap out of them for non disclosure of previous history.

But there is the crux. If an owner knows the dog has a bite history and then tries to cover their arse by getting you to sign you accept the risk of taking this dog on without detailing she has bitten before a good lawyer would argue, non disclosure. Now before you start thinking such a contract is worthless I feel I must say you may be considered acceptant of the dogs issues because you have still taken her in after you have been told of the teeth bearing. It all depends on your lawyer and the judge at the end of the day with regards interpretation.
My advice, get a copy of this contract or whatever this woman wishes to call it and get your own lawyer to read it through. Make what amendments you deem fair (if you wish to make any) are notorised by your lawyer and initialled / signed by the owner.

As for the cost of putting the dog to sleep you can ask and it can be agreed upon but put that in writing as well as rehome intentions.

Or you can accept her terms without advise and hope for the best.

Bless you for trying to help this girl. I hope it all works out.

GREAT ADVICE!! I'm Prelaw right now. I wanted so badly to give you more info about it, but I'm not yet a licensed attorney and it is a BIG no no (plus it's illegal) for me to give any type of legal advice here. I'm glad this member replied. I hope you are given the chance to give this doberman a great home and life and it all works out!!
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