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GSD rescue responds to RSPCA position

READERS OF Our Dogs have been as appalled as we at GSDR over the shooting of ten pet German Shepherds in June of this year following the death of their owner.

The only crime that these dogs committed was to be left behind, alone in an empty property, when their owner died. Their punishment was to be slaughtered by RSPCA Inspectors who used a captive bolt. I use the word ‘slaughter’ because a captive bolt is a weapon used in slaughter houses. It does not kill but renders ‘food’ animals unconscious prior to bleeding out. Please note that a captive bolt must be placed close to the animal’s head in a very precise position. If this is not done, there is a risk that the animal may regain consciousness before the final method for stopping the heart is applied.

It does not take an expert to work out how these bereaved and probably hungry dogs would have reacted when a uniformed stranger arrived on their property. Anyone with experience of the breed will tell you they are known for their loyal, protective and territorial attributes. It was hardly surprising therefore that these ten frightened GSDs behaved in the way they did.

The RSPCA Inspector who first assessed this situation stated that the dogs were too aggressive to re-home. So why did he advise the deceased’s next-of-kin to approach other rescues? This made no sense. It was also highly irresponsible of the Inspector if the dogs were truly as aggressive as claimed. He also stated that the dogs had a severe skin condition. How could he ascertain this under the circumstances, when he claimed that it was not possible to get close to these dogs? And since when has an RSPCA Inspector been qualified to make such a diagnosis?

The RSPCA have made a number of statements, each of which gives rise to further questions. When asked if all the dogs were together during the shooting, the RSPCA stated that each dog was taken outside on a grasper and given brief exercise before being shot. This was supposed to reassure us that the ‘stress was kept to an absolute minimum. Nobody was injured and the dogs appeared oblivious to the fact that this was anything other than being taken into the garden’.

This screams the question – If they could separate these so-called dangerous dogs and calmly lead each one out into the garden on a grasper and then get close enough to use a captive bolt – why could they not have simply taken each dog to a place of safety where it could have been properly assessed and treated prior to rehabilitation?

So many other questions have not been answered. For example, how were the dogs finally killed after being stunned by the captive bolt? Did any recover consciousness beforehand? Did all the dogs have a severe skin condition? How old were the dogs? Were any of them pups or youngsters? On what basis did the RSPCA know for certain that every single dog was unsuitable for re-homing? And why were none of the German Shepherd Rescues approached for help?

The International Companion Animal Management Coalition, of which the RSPCA is a member, deems the captive bolt to be an unacceptable method of euthanasia stating:

‘The penetrative captive bolt pistol must be placed in contact with the animal’s skull and precise positioning is essential so that the bolt penetrates the correct area of the brain first time. Animals must be adequately restrained so that the head remains steady (Carding, 1977; Dennis et al., 1988; Beaver et al., 2001), which makes this method particularly difficult with fearful and aggressive dogs and cats (Carding, 1977).'

We believe that these tragic dogs deserved to be helped – not disposed of in such a barbaric way.

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