A recently adopted dog, breed unknown (and unimportant), bit the nephew of the new owner, and the nephew is now suing the Yonkers, New York, shelter where the dog was obtained. There is some risk assumed when a dog or cat is brought into the home, but the shelter is not necessarily able to identify all such risks. In this case, the dog had been taken to a pet store for collar-shopping (and fitting?). Public settings like pet stores can be threatening for any dog, but perhaps especially for a dog who recently experienced the stress of a shelter and then rehoming. There is noise, food, shopping carts, other dogs, children and all kinds of well-meaning people reaching out hands to greet the dog.
Although the Yonkers shelter’s temperament assessments were not described in the article, it is assumed that in-shelter tests with food, cats or handling cannot exhaustively predict the dog’s behavior after adoption. This lawsuit might set a series of precedents for holding shelters responsible for behavior they can’t control; this might lead to further constraints on adoption of dogs with certain traits or appearances.
What are your thoughts?