Save my former foster dog from euthanasia
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Edit/Disclaimer as of 5/18: Due to all the attention this petition is receiving, I want to be clear that the euthanasia policy of WHS in Washingon, DC is what I am targeting (vis a vis saving Jethro.) I believe that they are, overall, a positive organization that advocates and cares for animals in my community. However their euthanasia policy is vague, ambiguous, and lends itself to have the practice overused on animals like Jethro who should have a chance at being rehabilitated instead. See their euthanasia policy here. Please understand that I am seeking first to save one animal, but in doing so, to also draw attention to this euthanasia policy. My hope is that it might be re-written and thus used only in extreme cases of necessity. Put simply, this is a good organization with one bad policy that needs fixing.
I fostered Jethro for about 2 weeks in April. I would now like to adopt him permanently but am being blocked from doing so. The Washington Humane Society (from where he was a foster) took him back unexpectedly on April 28th and re-evaluated him. A few days later I found out they had deemed him "non-adoptable." This meant he would be in line for euthanasia, unless another shelter or rescue would take him. Once a dog is labeled as such, they will not release them to a private party (such as me.)
Yes, I realized he had some training needs while I had him, however, I was committed to working with him and was confident that with a little help, he would be a wonderful dog. His crime? Having some "stranger danger" issues. He got along fine with me and people he could tell I knew, but would sometimes bark or growl at people on the street, and once to a new person who came to my house.
He has no bite history and has never even tried to bite at all.
I had communicated his behavioral issues to WHS only in an effort to get some training tips. They ended up taking a path I couldn't have predicted, resulting in his now being on the chopping block for euthanasia. WHS has said the only way this can be avoided as the outcome would be for another rescue or shelter to take him, as I mentioned before. I have been working hard to place him, and in this way have been able to continue to buy Jethro some time. I found two seemingly viable placements for him at different times throughout this process, but disappointingly, upon speaking with WHS, these options felt they could not follow through (despite my having been very honest about the situation and getting initial "yes" answers from them.)
In the meantime, I have been offering to adopt Jethro myself. I understand his needs and know I can manage him. I would plan to enroll him in a boarding school for dogs where he can get some necessary training (all using my own funds, of course, and signing any waivers of liability that they need.) WHS has also flatly denied me this option.
To add more sadness to this story, since the 28th when I dropped him off, he has been sitting in a cage with no socialization. My understanding is that nobody takes him out at all. They have labeled him "dangerous" and they have not even tried to work with him. Again, he has NOT bitten anyone or even tried. He has reactions to strangers with growling and barking, and this is the reason for the decision by WHS. They believe he has a low threshold for agitation. Although I understand he has things to work on, my position differs in that I think his problems are not that extreme, and can be overcome with training. They are more concerned with liability than trying to help this dog.
In summary, it is my assertion that not only is the Washington Humane Society making a cursory and tragic decision about a dog's life without giving him ample time and training to improve, they are also labeling him in such a way that is causing potential rescuers to back out. Further, they are not allowing me to use my own resources, time, and energy to adopt and rehabilitate this beautiful dog. I was under the impression they were "no kill," but that label does come on a spectrum, unfortunately, and I do not believe they follow protocol right now that can allow them to be called "no kill," in a truly accurate way. The ultimate goal of this petition is to restore custody of Jethro to me permanently so he can have a chance at life, while simultaneously drawing attention to the need for change in the euthanasia policy of WHS.
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