Greyhound who bit DD seems to have been rehomed with another family

(29 Posts)
GreyhoundRescueDisaster Tue 17-Sep-19 17:21:55

Name changed for this.

We adopted a greyhound from a breed specific rescue several months ago. We had DCs and had never had a dog before. We were very clear with the rescue about this. We had only had him a short time when he bit teenage DD in the face while she was stroking him on the sofa. There was no warning and it was totally unprovoked. He had previously snapped close to my face while I was putting his collar on. My DD had scarring to her face which thankfully has healed well. If the bite had been a few mm lower he would have directly damaged her eyeball, and I guess she would have risked permanent damage to her sight.

We returned him to the rescue. The rescue owner wanted to euthanase him the next day because he now had 'a taste for blood' - but we wanted him to be fully assessed before that decision was taken. We paid for a physical exam with a specialist vet and said to the rescue that he needed to be assessed be a behaviouralist vet. We then handed him to a racing industry trainer on the instructions of the rescue.

So today - for some reason - I looked at the greyhound rescue website. I saw the greyhound listed as one of their recently rehomed dogs. I found a description for him. It is basically the original listing that we saw with new photos and an extra paragraph added. The new paragraph says he needs 'firm boundaries' because he is a young dog, 'would respect an experienced greyhound owner' and 'would enjoy the company of older children'. The rest of the listing is ultra-cutesy. He has a 'sunny disposition', 'behaved perfectly', 'happy go lucky nature' and 'a huge, happy personality which makes everyone he meets feel happy'.

What can I do about this? If he has been fully assessed and somehow rehabilitated then that's good.... but surely he should not be offered as a dog suitable for children?? I cannot imagine that the rescue will have been honest with prospective adopters about his history - there is nothing in the listing that even hints that this might be a difficult dog - because surely no family with children would consider a dog that has bitten a child in the face. Obviously, there is no saying that he has been rehomed with children - but it's definitely possible. What should I do?


OP’s posts: |
Bookworm4 Tue 17-Sep-19 17:31:03

A rescue worker used the phrase ‘a taste for blood’? absolutely ridiculous and inaccurate and you gave the dog to a racing trainer?
What so called rescue is this?
Shocking practices.

Veterinari Tue 17-Sep-19 17:35:52

It sounds as if the ‘rescue’ is completely clueless and irresponsible - there’s no way the dog has been rehabbed by a ‘racing trainer’

GreyhoundRescueDisaster Tue 17-Sep-19 17:39:23

Yes - that was her exact phrase.

We were terribly unhappy about handing the dog back to a racing industry trainer. The rescue was adamant that they had no other accommodation for him available - we kept him muzzled (and gated away from the DCs) at home for 5 days after the bite because they said they had a specialist couple with experience with biting dogs who would then be able to take him. This option then evaporated and we had no option but to take him to the trainer. Awful.

OP’s posts: |
GreyhoundRescueDisaster Tue 17-Sep-19 17:41:11

So what can I do? Is there any kind of organisation that oversees or licences rescues? I cannot bear another family to risk going through what happened to us.

OP’s posts: |
Shoutymomma Tue 17-Sep-19 17:42:21

This is far from good practice. i’m sorry but not surprised you had such a horrible experience if this is how they go about rehoming.

Bookworm4 Tue 17-Sep-19 17:43:21

Unfortunately the rescue world is not regulated, I work in rescue and there are a few groups who work to expose these shoddy rescues. No decent grey rescue hands dogs to bloody trainers, that’s who the dogs are rescued from.
If you PM me I can give you details of how to have this looked into.


Coffeeandchocolate9 Tue 17-Sep-19 17:43:30

The rehoming charity sounds dodgy as f.

I wonder if toby might get some useful advice from another dog charity? I expect they might not want to get involved though. What would happen if you rang the organisation yourself to express concens?

Lunafortheloveogod Tue 17-Sep-19 17:54:07

Take it to social media, explain he snapped and bit unprovoked and shouldn’t be rehomed with children. They might have a page themselves too.

Even if he has been reassessed and retrained he shouldn’t be with children, family experience with the breed regardless.

Unfortunately the pts tactic is often used to guilt you into keeping the dog and paying for behaviouralist based trainers because they know it’s harder to rehome a dog with issues if ever possible.

Greyhounds are a difficult breed, you can get a great natured ex racer who lays around like a teenager on summer holidays or a neurotically high prey drive that needs muzzled for its own good. Having both at the same time makes life.. interesting hmm.. one wouldn’t walk round the corner without acting knackered and the other dragged you to chase every falling leaf with a must kill it attitude... fortunately leaves feel nothing.

Shambolical1 Tue 17-Sep-19 21:52:02

"There was no warning and it was totally unprovoked. He had previously snapped close to my face while I was putting his collar on."

There was your warning, right there.

A dog new to you which you had only had a short time had indicated he was uncomfortable being handled.

Shambolical1 Tue 17-Sep-19 21:59:27

... or was uncomfortable having human faces close to his.

Greyhounds coming into rescue off the track can take a while to adapt to being a 'pet' but 'unprovoked bites without warning' are incredibly rare (in any breed).

Sadly it seems that both you and the dog have been let down along the way.

Equally sadly there is no regulation of rescue organisations but 'going public' won't achieve anything but a lot of argument on Facebook or wherever. Hopefully the dog has been thoroughly assessed and undergone any behavioural work necessary and then been placed with an adopter/family who are happy to work with him.

Scattyhattie Tue 17-Sep-19 23:44:53

I hope it wasn't used to rehome the dog to another family as that would be very negligent. When i was looking i found some centres the ads to be fairly generic & lazy, not that specific to dogs they had in but were given more info when meeting at kennels. Agree with PP on the 'taste for blood' comment , bit confused sounds more likely the dog has some discomfort or had in past to become wary.
Have you already contacted them for clarification on the homing? If it a Greyhound Trust place you could contact the head office?

Going back to kennels was probably safest for the dog if there wasn't room, back to a routine where they know what to expect & less pressure being handled. The racing trainers aren't all bad btw, the ones i've met do care greatly about the welfare of the dogs, some have also set up rehoming centres.

adaline Wed 18-Sep-19 07:02:11

You had warnings though.

The dog clearly didn't like having faces close to his - you had your face close to his when you put his collar on, and he snapped. Your DD had her face close to his when stroking him and he snapped at her too.

Unfortunately lots of people are oblivious to doggy language and that's often why bites happen. Panting, averting the eyes, turning the head, licking lips are all signs of stress and clear signs for the human to stop whatever they're doing and give the dog some space.

Dogs who have snapped before are not necessarily a lost cause - they just need working with and given time and space to adjust to their new environments.

ThroughThickAndThin01 Wed 18-Sep-19 07:08:09

Nasty experience for your dd and family.

Dogs can be successfully rehomed and live very happily with other families after a bite incident. The rehoming charity do need to have acted responsibly though with this and worked with the dog, and ensured the new family know all the facts. He did warn first he wasn’t happy.

cranstonmanor Wed 18-Sep-19 07:35:27

I would have euthanized him. One of my friends is a vet, crazy about dogs but will (strongly advise to) euthanize any dog that bites a child. She feels it's too much of a risk if they would bite another child ever again.

Itallt0omuch Wed 18-Sep-19 07:40:24

He should have been pts rather than handed back.

MotherSpider Wed 18-Sep-19 07:57:14

Could his "recent" rehoming referred to on the site be the rehoming with you, and the webpage just not updated since the rehoming broke down?

Shambolical1 Wed 18-Sep-19 08:40:12

There are bites, and there are bites.

In the case of an actual attack then maybe euthanasia is something to be considered.

But that isn't what this was, and the rescue will have a good idea of why the incident occurred.

I can understand how it would be a shock and don't want to belittle the possible affects on your daughter but this really is a case of misadventure.

You needed better advice or more research when taking the dog in and the dog needed more time and space to settle.

If this is the dog I think it is, he is still very young and would very much have been learning to trust, to be a pet and not a racing dog. He had also suffered a major injury which can also affect a dog's behaviour for some time afterwards.

GreyhoundRescueDisaster Wed 18-Sep-19 09:41:59

Thanks to all who have commented on the thread. Just to be clear, I'm asking for advice on whether I should do anything in regards to the fact that this dog has most likely been rehomed to another family with children when it has a history of biting a child. The revised listing for the dog gives no suggestion that this dog may have a difficult history and he is suggested as a suitable dog for a family with older children. The question is whether the rescue is assessing this dog properly prior to identification of a suitable home - he was not suitable for us as inexperienced dog owners with children (as we learned the hard way) and I note that most PPs agree that it is not suitable to rehome this dog again with children (regardless of breed experience) - yet the rescue has again most likely done this.

@Shambolical1 I didn't have my face pressed right into his putting the collar on. I think it is reasonable to assume that a dog rehomed to people who have never had a dog before should be able to tolerate having a collar on. If the dog is stressed to that extent by having a collar put on, he should never have been rehomed with us. And this was a dog that had been friendly and affectionate - seeking out stroking and physical closeness with us when we were sitting on the floor or sofa. It was not clear to that this dog did not like being handled. With hindsight, this was a complicated dog for inexperienced owners to read.

There are bites, and there are bites...but this really is a case of misadventure This was a bite to a child's face leaving multiple wounds requiring hospital treatment. It's hard to see how stroking a dog which had been rehomed as a pet to a family with children can be described as misadventure. The dog had a crate to retreat to should he need to do so, but she was stroking him in family space.

I agree we possibly needed more advice, although we had done a lot of research prior to adopting him. Where should novice owners get that advice? The rescue offered no ongoing support - not even a follow up phone call to see if he was settling. I sought advice after he snapped at me from a well-regarded local dog trainer. Rescued greyhounds are frequently suggested as ideal dogs for novice owners - including on MN - but this relies on rescues assessing dogs properly, and new owners with children potentially need to be more aware of the risks and that dogs can bring significant psychological issues from the tracks. Yes, it sounds as if you have identified the dog - and again this major injury probably should have suggested to the rescue that he was not suitable for us. We trusted that the rescue would assess the dog appropriately.

@MotherSpider This is definitely a fresh rehoming - the website shows him as having been rehomed twice and it is an updated description.

@Scattyhattie Thanks for your comments. This is not Greyhound Trust, it is a small greyhound rescue. I know what you mean about how some rescues use more generic descriptions - this is a gushing listing about what a sweet-natured, happy dog this is.

@adaline DD was not right in his face, but stroking his back at arms length. He whipped round and bit her. None of the doggy language that you describe was shown when I was putting his collar, for sure. I'm happy to defer to a breed expert, but information online suggests that greyhounds are a breed that can bite without any warning.

@cranstonmanor @Itallt0omuch We accepted that euthanasia may well have been the best option for this dog, but wanted the rescue to assess him - as we had had him a relatively short time - prior to taking that decision. After the strong comments that the rescue had made - and their expressed intention to euthanase him - I had almost expected that they would have pursued this.

@Bookworm4 is giving me useful advice off-thread on whether I can do anything with regard to the rescue's general rehoming practices. Many thanks.

OP’s posts: |
MissTicPizza Wed 18-Sep-19 09:43:19

The rescue has behaved appallingly. Firstly it appears to have given you little advice when you adopted the dog. Secondly it should not have advised you to rehome with a trainer. No decent rescue would do that.

However this is a dog which I feel has been set up to fail. Many greyhounds, especially when first adopted, suffer from sleep aggression and I guess this is what happened when he snapped at your DD. As they often sleep with their eyes open then the rule in our house is that no one goes near our greyhound when he is lying down (unjess he is very obviously awake!) The greyhound rescue we got him from also told us not to let him on the sofa until we had bonded and he was settled as it can sometimes become a resource that they guard.

Ours also did not like eye contact or faces close to him when we first got him. Again we respected this and watched his body language to know when he was uncomfortable. Had we not done this then yes he may well have snapped at us but it would not mean he was dangerous. He was simply adapting to family life.

It saddens me that people do not take the time to find out more information about the breed and that they expect rescues to immediately slot perfectly into family life without any empathy for the animal and how its past experiences may shape him/her. Four years down the line our grey has definitely fully relaxed into family life and his true personality has come out however it did not happen overnight.

GreyhoundRescueDisaster Wed 18-Sep-19 10:07:46

@MissTicPizza Thanks very much for your comments. This was a dog that we had wanted very much and planned for for a long time. We had done a lot of research and were as prepared as we felt we could be. Clearly 'you don't know what you don't know'. The rescue gave us none of the advice that you have shared here. The handover consisted solely of filling in paperwork with no advice on how best to help the dog settle. I had bought and read books, and we were committed to doing the very best for the dog. (We did know about sleep startle and sleeping with eyes open, and had repeatedly reinforced this with the children. DD is adamant the dog was awake.)

Although my question is very much around whether the same rescue should have rehomed the dog to another family with children, if there is anyone reading this thread who is considering getting a greyhound, how could they avoid finding themselves in the same situation we did? We are very responsible people and really wanted to get it right for this dog. Rescued greyhounds are frequently suggested as ideal dogs for inexperienced dog owners with children. How can people ensure it is a success?

OP’s posts: |
missbattenburg Wed 18-Sep-19 10:11:25

My guess would be that this rescue doesn't know their arse from their elbow (taste for blood!) and, as a result, have been unable to adequately assess this dog or match it with a suitable home.

Even good rescues can make mistakes - dogs are living creatures and not predictable robots - but some of the other points in this case (sending it off to a trainer for foster) suggests to me that the rescue is especially likely to make them.

The single thing that would appear to make the biggest difference between a succesful rehome and a fail is support for the new owners. In this case, some explaination of the best way to settle in new dog and some basic safety ground rules for the first few months while you all get used to each other. Plus signs to look out for that might indicate the dog is anxious etc.

Whilst it's never ideal to return a dog, when rehoming one the first few weeks are really a test to see if you all suit each other. There is no shame in discovering a dog is more than you can (or want to) handle. Not least because dogs can behave very differently in different environments so it can be hard for a rescue to really know for sure how the dog will be once rehomed. The rescue's role is to try their best to match you to a dog that will suit you, thus reducing the risk of returns, plus support you in those first few weeks to give you and the dog the greatest chance of success.

This rescue clearly doesn't operate that way.

In terms of what you can do here, I suspect there is very little. Perhaps a comment on the rescue's FB or Google review sites to mention you took on a dog that ultimately was not suitable for children and so would urge any new owners to be careful when rehoming in case they have a similar experience, might be useful? The new owners may spot it and whilst they won't know they have the same dog, it might just help keep them alert.

missbattenburg Wed 18-Sep-19 10:14:52

OP - Patricia Mcconnell has a book called 'Love has no age limit' which specifically talks about taking on rescue dogs, settling them in and some of the problems that might arise.

Well worth a read if you're thinking of having another go.

LochJessMonster Wed 18-Sep-19 10:34:11

Just to clarify, it doesn't actually say anywhere that he was rehomed to a family with children?

'Older children' could have meant a 17 year old. And they may well have explained to the potential adopter his bite history.

You're making a lot of assumptions clouded by your own bad experience. I think you need to let this go.

Shambolical1 Wed 18-Sep-19 11:21:15

As I said, I appreciate this was a shock and don't want to belittle the effect on you and your daughter.

But there's an awful lot of supposition and drama going on here. Firstly, you have no idea whether or not the dog is with a family, or a single person, or pensioners come to that.

Secondly, as I also said before, no dog - that's no dog EVER - bites without warning. Where is this advice that 'greyhounds are a breed that can bite without warning' coming from? Likewise the 'taste of blood' thing. I've never heard anyone who knows anything about dogs come out with that one. 1. It's nonsense and 2. It's a wee bit drama llama.

Thirdly, without being present at the time there is no way anybody here can say for certain why this dog snapped when you went to put his collar on, or why he bit your daughter. He obviously wasn't happy with either situation for whatever reason (we will never know) and the people obviously couldn't or didn't see or realise it. It may not even have been those actions which 'caused' the incidents but something or many things that had happened earlier. Look up trigger stacking.

It is not your fault, it is not the dog's fault and it isn't the rescue's fault because they cannot predict or control every single situation which will occur around every single dog they re-home. I have seen dogs which were angels in kennels become devils in a home and vice versa; also dogs which totally controlled one household become meek lambs in another. Once the adopters have the dog home the rescue have no control over either party.

Many dog bites to children and teens are to the face, because of relative size and proximity. It's unfortunate but it's not a deliberate choice by the dog. Of course it still hurts the same and causes the same distress to the person but the dog isn't plotting that. It just reacts and lashes out; it can't push you away or explain verbally. It's a dog!

The people complaining that the dog had to go back to a racing kennel: seems to me that was only for accommodation purposes temporarily? It wasn't 're-homed' there. It obviously went back to the rescue once space was there for it.

For the record I have no connection to the dog concerned or this rescue.

With dogs or any livestock come to that there can be no "guarantees" of anything. They are sentient creatures just as we are and affected by things and situations just as we are. It's not a case of who's to blame but of learning for the future.

Incidentally, these things also happen with so-called "family dogs" owned from puppyhood. Dogs are dogs and people are people.

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