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There is a post/rant (whatever) going on Craigslist about a dog that apparently was re-homed and on the third day turned and bit a 3 year old who came from behind him and hugged him. The OP claims that the owner (not a rescue) had said the dog was real good with kids and did not bark etc.

My questions are mainly for rescues and I guess also for folks who are sometimes forced to rehome.
How long does the liability of placing an "aggressive" dog remain on the rescue? For the life of the dog?
What if the dog had *never* shown any aggression prior to placement, but with the new owners there is an incident, is there still any liability?
Does any clause in the contract absolve the liability?

Thanks for any insight
 

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from my point of view... the rescue is always liable. we take that on when we say the dog/animal has to be returned to us. To me when one rescues an animal from a legitimate rescue they are just caring for the dog...ownership is never really transferred. Kinda like a forever foster program. now thats just my opinion.

Thats also why I have a house full of potential problem dogs. Rosco the dog we rescued from up by Molly Graffs...he is a nut! bit Molly a few times and drew blood while she was trying to get his leash on him. To this day he will bite if you get to messing around his neck. He is now almost 13 yrs old and living his life comfortably here at my house where we know his quirks.

Then there is Abby she what we believe to be a MAL/GSD she gets super excited and doesnt realise where and what she is doing with her mouth. At her original adoptive home she had a police officer scared to death, so much so he unbuttoned his gun.... Then once we got her back her she cornered my oldest daughter... that landed her in jail with about 2 weeks of NILIF...now she absolutely loves my oldest daughter. And allows my youngest who is 3 to rule her life. Here we can see when she is getting wound up and can control this behavior.

Then there is Sheeba, she just doesnt like men, men with beards are worse but men with beards and hat... total trouble!All this is able to be controlled but to much of a liability to chance it. even with the best screening we feel it is better to keep them here then to be sorry later.

sorry to ramble but that has been my experience.
 

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I don't really have an answer for your question, but do have a comment about the above situation.

I would not really call this particular dog aggressive based on the facts provided. There may be more to the story that would cause him to be labeled aggressive, but not based on what is stated above.

No dog should be left unsupervised with a child and children should not be allowed to hug/grab a dog from behind. This dog had only been in the home for 3 days and was probably still getting use to his surroundings. I think this was just a very tragic accident that could have been completely prevented if the child and dog had been better supervised.
 

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There are just too many variables when working with dogs, and I really, really stress that fact when I place a dog. It is written into my contract that no promises are made regarding temperament and health. I do state in the contract that the dog has been given a full exam by a qualified vet and that all results have been made available to the adopter.
Any dog can bite given the right circumstances. A foster dog can come into my home and do well. But I can't promise that the dog will react to some child two weeks later in the same way he reacted to my child. What if some child sits on the dog? Or kicks the dog? There are a lot of parents out there that believe it is the dog's responsibility to put up with whatever a child wants to do. That is how they define the phrase "good with children".
I can live with a dog for a couple of weeks and have a good idea how tolerant the dog is and decide, based on that, what kind of home the dog would do best in. But I will never be able to cover all the bases. I try to stay ahead of the curve by not taking in a dog that I know has a bite history. I evaluate the dog before I place it, no matter how easy the dog appears to be. I observe the dog in as many different situations as possible.
I have such a problem with craigslist. I know that the idea of it is a good one, and that in a perfect world it would live up to that intention all the time. But it doesn't, and the animals that are being put into inappropriate homes are the ones paying the price.
I guess my answer to your question is that there is a big difference (in my mind, at least) between Joe Blow "re-homing" his dog for a price that is called an adoption fee through an unmoderated website such as craigslist and a real, reputable rescue re-homing a dog that has been evaluated, vetted and worked with by people who know what they are doing, using a legal contract that covers who is responsible for what.
Sheilah
 

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We do our absolute to match appropriate dogs to homes with kids. We do have clauses in our contract that say

1. We're making no warrantees about the personality or temperament of the dog
2. We are not liable for any injuries, damages etc. that occur because of or in association or ownership of the dog
3. This contract takes effect when they take physical possession of the dog

In our contract it's all in legalese, but that's the gist. Knock on wood, but we've not had any problems. Any dog can bite but you do the best you can. I think where we'd really be exposing ourselves to liability is if we were trying to place a dog with a known bite history. I have a real sympathy for fear aggressive dogs and enjoy working with them, but those aren't dogs I can adopt out, so as the above poster mentioned, those are the ones that end up staying and I can't have 10 dogs of my own, so that limits my ability to help them.

As an aside, I'm sure Craigslist does some good things out there but I have never found a good adopter on there. I never post there but sometimes well meaning people put the shelter dogs I work with on there. Same with My Space. I'll start getting a bunch of horrendous inquiries and go looking and sure enough - it's on Craigslist.
 

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The above mentioned is our worst nightmare.

I feel we are not accountable if we adopt out a puppy, and it grows up, and becomes aggressive. We will always take the dog back, but we feel it was the owners inability to properly train the dog. I do not think we would be liable in court on a puppy gone bad adoption.

For adult dogs, it is a risk every time we adopt. We do not know the history, or the triggers an adult dog may have.
Our group does not adopt out an adult dog without it being in rescue for at least 3-5 months. (Rare exception might be an owner surrender, with an easy dog) We feel obligated to learn, and understand, each and every dog.

Many people get really mad at rescues if they want a particular dog, and slam us for being to picky. If those same people were putting their homes, belongings, and future funds on the line with every adoption, they would be very cautious as well. We go for best fit. We never cave to pressure and insults.

As mentioned above, a rescue can quickly be over run with marginal dogs, that sit in rescue for long periods of time. It really stinks, because we know how to handle the dog, but one can never really know if the potientail adopter will be as careful as you are.

We also never place an adult GSD in a home with kids. We feel that we can counsel the adoptors kids, but you never know how guest kids will respond.

We do adopt puppy's to homes with kids.
In rescue, its all about living on the edge.
 

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As with any tort, liability will be determined by what you knew, when you knew it and what you did with that knowledge.
 
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