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please help re:stray dog. Please dont read if squeamish

(100 Posts)
AnAngelWithin Mon 19-Feb-07 18:42:58

ok so last week we found a dog in our area. Apparently from what I had heard, he had been running round the area for a few days. He still had a collar and lead on. Anyway, we took him in. cleaned him up, fed him and then rang the local dog warden. He came and checked him and said that he didnt had a chip thing in him and asked what we wanted to do. He said that we could either keep hold of him and if after 28 days the owner didn't come forward we could keep him, or he would take him to the kennels for the month. Anyway, we decided that we would keep hold of him cos he was such a sweetheart, and the thought of him being in kennels. So the dog warden left us his number, said any problems to ring him. And that he would come and check on us a few times.

So fast forward a week of having a totally loving dog in the house who wants nothing but to sleep and be loved. Fantastic with the kids. Eats hardly anything, totally house trained, a dream to walk and leaves everything in the kitchen alone, even food that drops on the floor....

This afternoon I went to get the kids from school. I was running late and rushed out the door, ran to school and got home. When I got home, what I saw just mortified me. I had forgotten to move the rabbit and he had got into the cage and ripped her to pieces. When I opened the door he was stood there with the remains of her head in his mouth. The children saw and screamed the place down (understandably) He has never even looked at the rabbit before. Totally ignored her. Its my own stupid fault I know for leaving her in there. I might as well have killed her myself and I am beating myself up something chronic about it, so please don't tell me how awful I am cos I already know. I just screamed so loud and opened the back door he bolted out. I tried to let him back in after I had cleaned all the kitchen of the blood etc, but he has just stayed outside. He has been barking like mad (which he hasnt done before)

I know I was stupid letting him stay. At the end of the day I didn't know him. But I am an animal lover and the thought of him being stuck in a kennel mortified him.

Anyway, I said to DH that I think we should get the dog warden to come and take him after all. I don't think he wants to part with him but he said he doesn't trust him with the kids now.

The children wont' go near him cos of what he did to their rabbit.

I;m just wondering what the dog warden will do with him, if he will get him destroyed? I have tried so hard to find the owners but they havent come forward yet.

LostMe Mon 19-Feb-07 19:32:51

I hope you have recovered a bit by now - sounds awful (esp for the children!) but as someone who was bought up with dogs throughout entire childhood, I don't think that he would necessarily be dangerous to children. Rabbits are common prey for dogs - our two used to chase them like mad and bring home all sorts of dead animals (including half decomposed ones!), but were totally safe with children. That said, all dogs should be treated with a healthy dose of caution. Even the most placid dog could turn if being tormented by a young child. If you are at all concerned you should get rid of the dog. Sad I know, but children are your 1st priority. I love dogs but would always supervise young children around one.

bitzermaloney Mon 19-Feb-07 19:33:05

Very sorry you've lost your rabbit, but the dog was just being a dog. A lot of dogs will catch and kill a rabbit given the chance. I know mine would.

He has no clue why you are all so upset with him and it sounds like he is very very stressed now at being rejected by his adoptive 'pack'. Why doesn't your dh trust him with the kids? Killing a rabbit doesn't make him unsafe with children.

If as a family you can no longer live with the dog because of what he's done, it is not fair to keep him IMO.

Why don't you ask the dog warden what would happen to him if you handed him over?

NbgsYellowFeathers Mon 19-Feb-07 19:37:31

Aww you poor thing.

I dont think they would put him down for killing a rabbit.
IME dogs do go for rabbits. A guy who i worked with had 2 dogs and their neighbour kept ferrets. They escaped alot and to cut a long story short their neighbour bought alot of ferrets!

ohsmellyjelly Mon 19-Feb-07 19:38:11

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ohsmellyjelly Mon 19-Feb-07 19:38:38

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FioFio Mon 19-Feb-07 19:40:26

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MuffinMclay Mon 19-Feb-07 19:46:14

I'm sorry that you lost your rabbit, and it must have been a dreadful shock to you and the children. As bitzer says, that is just what some dogs do. I've lost count of the number of (wild) rabbits my dog has killed and/or eaten.

I reckon that he bolted and hid outside because he was scared by your reaction (although the reaction is quite understandable). He is probably terrified of you now and won't understand what he has done wrong. Also his adrenalin levels probably went through the roof when he got the rabbit, and it will take him a while to come back down to earth afterwards

You have to do what you feel is right.

I can only compare my dog. He kills rabbits, and would kill cats if he got the chance, but is not IMO a danger to children at all(although you can never trust any dog 100% or leave them alone with children).

ohsmellyjelly Mon 19-Feb-07 19:47:09

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ohsmellyjelly Mon 19-Feb-07 19:49:03

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shimmy21 Mon 19-Feb-07 21:00:45

So sorry about your rabbit. What a terrible shock for you all.

I think though that the decision to keep the dog or not shouldn't really be anything to do with its rabbit killing tendencies. It should be to do with whether or not you want a dog, can afford a dog and if yes if this is an appropriate dog for your family.

Taking on a dog is a massive decision. Have you considered what you would do with it if you go on holiday, have you checked out the astronomical cost of vets bills for jabs etc. Have you got the time to exercise it every day come rain or shine?

If you really can cope with all the normal dog responsibilities and want to, then you question if this is the dog for you. And I agree with the others. Dogs kill rabbits. Any dog will if it gets the chance.

If you decide you aren't dog people then the Canine Defence League rehomes dogs and never puts a well dog down.

Hope your kids are feeling a bit better now.

colditz Mon 19-Feb-07 21:03:04

the way he is with the kids is nothing to do with the way he was with the rabbit. They even put rabbit in dog food.

but, if you are going to reject him for his behavior, then if you can't find him a home it may be kinder to have him put down.

poppiesinaline Mon 19-Feb-07 21:07:37

that is so sad.... so sorry about the rabbit and the kids having to see that.


I do feel very sorry for the dog.

How are you all feeling now about this? Has the dog come back into the house?

Booboobedoo Mon 19-Feb-07 21:14:09

AAW - just wanted to reiterate what others on this thread have said: this is totally normal dog behaviour.

I don't think there are many dogs who could be left on their own with a rabbit in a flimsy cage and not do the same.

It must have been awful to walk in to that scene, but please don't reject the dog because of it.

FWIW, my dog is desperate to kill squirrels. We've stuck a tinkly collar on her, so she can't sneak up on them.

AnAngelWithin Tue 20-Feb-07 09:51:28

sorry I had to go and see to the children last night.

The dog came back into the house and just spent the whole time sleeping. DH took him for a walk as normal at night and he said that he wasn't as fast as usual.

When I said about DH not trusting the dog, I just meant it in the fact that the dog is a stray and we don't know this background and he has only been with us a week so we don't REALLY konow him so it's best to be on the cautious side.

The dog is a boxer dog.

Anyway, we said that we aren't going to make any decisions while emotions were still running so high. We are going to sit down with the children tonight and discuss how they feel about it all and whether or not they want the dog to stay. Ultimately though it is up to us. While I can understand that this is what dogs do, I am too soft and just think about things living in harmony etc. I don't like animals killing animals. I can't even watch wildlife programmes. DH is of the opinion that its what dogs do. He is from farming/gamekeeping background so that decision is made easier for him in that respect.

I still love the dog dearly. Its just that at the moment there are so many horror stories in the news about dogs and kids. I am more worried about my youngest who has just started crawling, but then at the same time, I doubt he would ever be left alone with her anyway. All my friends last night who I told immediately said to get rid of him. He's a risk to the kids. But like you say, its probably just a dogs instinct with rabbits and doesn't mean he is a danger to the children.

Anyway, we are spending the day muling things over, talking to the kids tonight. At the end of the day if they are too scared to go near him and not give him a chance then thats not fair on either the dog or them do you think? Then we will make a decision over the next couple of days I daresay. The owner may still come forward to claim him in the next 3 weeks anyway.

FioFio Tue 20-Feb-07 09:53:13

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Chloe55 Tue 20-Feb-07 09:59:08

My 2 dogs managed to get in to my guinea-pig run and ate both the guinea-pigs That said, both dogs are the most placid things when it comes to me and my family, including the cats. I would never trust a dog 100%, I don't think most people would however his choosing to eat the rabbit shouldn't be a reason to judge his character so I'm presuming the dog warden won't put him down. It's a shame the kids saw the incident, poor buggers.

MuffinMclay Tue 20-Feb-07 10:05:57

If you decide that you don't want to keep the dog it might be worth contacting www.boxer-rescue.org.uk. They might be able to find a suitable home for him. I had a brief look at their website and they seemed to have links to a number of boxer rescue places around the country. Many rescue places will put dogs into temporary foster homes until they can be rehomed permanently in situations like yours.

As someone who recently had to take the very painful decision to have one of my dogs put to sleep because of aggression, I'd hate to see a healthy dog put to sleep if it can be avoided.

AnAngelWithin Tue 20-Feb-07 10:11:21

yes fio i have. have checked him for chip but hes not got one.

OrlandoTheMarmaladeCat Tue 20-Feb-07 10:11:34

Also, don't forget that boxers have a low boredom threshold - they need lots of things to do when they are awake - toys, chews etc. I understand that when bored and left alone for too long, they can decide to trash your house! But that's just a friend's experience with boxers over the years.

Me - we've got lurchers, so we're used to dead animals being brought to us at all hours. They've not yet gone for the guinea pig but I wouldn't trust them as far as I could throw them!

nuttymum1 Tue 20-Feb-07 10:20:23

hi sorry abot your rabbit you should check this site www.doglost.co.uk and see if the dog is reported missing there you can also register him as found on there

ohsmellyjelly Tue 20-Feb-07 12:26:13

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AnAngelWithin Tue 20-Feb-07 13:53:28

i am doing all i can to find the owner. if i had lost my dog the first place i would ring was the dog warden but he has heard nothing.

ohsmellyjelly Tue 20-Feb-07 14:37:21

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LittleB Wed 21-Feb-07 16:46:18

I used to work as a dog warden, it might be worth finding out what would happen to the dog if it went back to the dog wardens kennels, any strays we had went into good kennels where they were then hopefully rehomed to good owners, but this doesn't happen everywhere.
I think you need to be really careful with your deceision - I've got a collie who has killed a rabbit, but trust her with my daughter because I know her, as many others have said.
But this dog may not be lost, it may have been abandoned becaue the owners had problems with its behaviour, it may be behaving well, but it takes several months for a dog to settle into a new home and its true nature to come out, particularly if it has owner/household protective agressive behaviour which I've come across in boxers before.
We're getting a puppy this summer, as althugh we've had rescue dogs before I would never trust one with my daughter who's almost 2 as you don't know their history. Having said that it could be a wonderful dog whose owners circumstances have changed and they just can't be bothered to look after it. Or someone may be hunting for it, as others have said you can ask vets, police and RSPCA etc.I would've said the fact its pedigree doesn't make any difference, we had beuatiful abandoned pedigrees - thats why there are rescue organisations specifically for some breeds.
Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

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