Rottie cross Lennox ended up in the streets of Weymouth, Dorset after his home was burgled and he ran off.  Reported missing by his owners when they returned after the burglary was discovered, they were first told he’d been taken to council kennels, then sadly, that he’d been put down.  It took just 2 hours, from 4pm to 6pm for this tragedy to happen.

It is claimed that the dog warden (seen in the Daily Mail pic with Lennox on a catch pole) said the dog was “having a go at everything and anything”.  Odd this, as the dog is on a pole after the warden cornered him (note, despite police being called, the warden got him) and is clearly trying to move backwards in the photo, not towards the warden or the Police.  The warden is not at full stretch, either trying to pull a mad dog or hold a mad dog away.

I make this observation, not just as a dog behaviourist, but also as someone who has used a pole on numerous occasions and run a stray kennels.  Some dogs arrive absolutely psycho.  They are afraid, often have been chased or shouted at, lost and stressed.  You never judge them on that initial behaviour.  Some arrive like lambs and become their normal, difficult selves after a few days.

Having recently witnessed the inappropriate, unprofessional and ill informed “behaviour” assessment of a dog warden and helped a family who nearly lost their 3 dogs due to his appalling comments, I am a little concerned.  Is this normal around the UK?  Dog Wardens giving behaviour assessments that cost dogs their homes and lives?

There a few things in this story that stand out, and of course we don’t know the  full facts.  The family say the council had their number as he’d been out before.  How many dog owners need to lodge their number with the dog warden?  Did he escape often?  If he’d been out before, then presumably there hadn’t been any reports that he’d been having a go at anything or they’d have had action taken under the DDA?  There’s also a comment that he’d had to be muzzled at the vets before.  So what?  thousands of dogs are Muzzled at the vets as a total stranger gets rather personal and it’s no indication of a definite aggression issue.

This family may well have to take some blame.  The dog escapes and runs off.  Probably not castrated?  Not trained very well?    BUT this dog was out after a burglary.  He can’t be that aggressive if there was a successful burglary, can he?  Who’s to say they didn’t hit him, hurt him to get rid of him and he ran off in pain and fear?  That would turn a dog who had just previously run around into a frightened, defensive animal.

No dog should be allowed to roam, scare people or cause nuisance.  But the dog on that pole does not look in the slightest bit aggressive.  I’d love to know how easy it was to put the poor sod down.  Getting a needle in the vein of a struggling, aggressive dog can’t be done, it has to be done differently.  If I was the family, I’d want to know exactly how this was done, because if they could get a needle in, then they certainly could have scanned for a chip.

RIP Lennox


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Pet training and behaviour company treating cats, dogs and livestock. Range of free advice on website. Covering Midlands to London. Training and behaviour advisers to Pet Education Trust.

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