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Evening guys and girls

I'm an avid dog lover and recently decided to rehome a dog from a rescue centre here in the UK.

We've had him for 3 months now but since we've owned him we have noticed there has been several things the rescue centre lied to us about.

Firstly they sold us an underweight dog, claiming he was 28kg and was perfectly healthy however after being concerned we paid for a health test to find out he was only 21kg and severely underweight like we assumed.

Secondly he has been overly aggressive towards children, bikes and other dogs on walks.

Thirdly he had an altercation with a dog approx 4 weeks back where he had bitten the other dog out of the blue.

Fourthly he unfortunately today escaped the house for just a blink of an eye and bit another dog causing over £480 in vet bills to the opposing dog. This is the saddest bit as i didnt even think he had this in him and i thought hed learned his lesson and took in what the behaviourist taught him since the first one

My concern is that the rescue centre made no comments regarding this and its to my belief that they need to inform you of their assessment of the dog in order to decide what type of home to send him to. The way he reacted today was not defensive nor was it reactive. He went the same way for this dog today as he does for children and bikes except hes normally on a leash and i can control him. I'm extremely concerned for the dog that he has this in him and am slowly losing my trust in allowing him to be around small children and other dogs.

Would anyone know if i have any rights in regards to making the rescue centre assist in the vet bills and/or pay for a behaviourist to help sort him?

My last option would be to hand him back as we've bonded perfectly and im devastated hes done such a thing but at the same time i'm extremely frustrated as had we had known we would of made an informed decision as to whether he was the right dog for us and if we had the time and commitment to give him what he needs. We would of made every effort to ensure he could not get out by doubling the locks etc.

Can anyone let me know what they think of the situation? I've been sold a 'loving family dog' who, after owning for 3 months, is an extremely unstable dog who i believe is only a matter of time before he does something worse.
 

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If you have children, I would get him out of your home, but that's just me. I don't know what the laws are in the UK, but in the US, I don't believe the rescue agency would have to help pay for the bills that you have incurred due to his behavior. If you signed a contract, read it again to see if there is any language that pertains to this sort of thing. I think it would be very difficult to prove that they knew he would behave this way. I think your only redress if all else fails is to return him to where you got him and make sure that they KNOW his behavior so they do not fail to inform any new prospective owners.
 

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It is possible that the rescue group didn't tell you, but if there a responsible rescue there's a chance they didn't know/he wasn't showing these behaviors. Being in a shelter is stressful for any animal so he may have been a bit more shut down while he was with them. Moving into a new home is also stressful for a dog and it can take a little while for there true personalities to come out or for them to really settle down/in.
How have you been handling/training his reactivity/aggression?
As for the weight part, maybe he had lost the weight after they weighed him and 28 was what was still on the paperwork and wasn't his most recent weight. Just curious but what health test did you pay for? Most vets will be able to look at the current weight and your dogs current body condition and tell you if they are under or over weight, though some vets you might have to ask them for them to tell you.
As for making the rescue assist with vet bills ect., look at your shelter contract. But I don't you can or that you should ask, its been 3 months so you are now the legal owner of the dog not the shelter and are responsible for him.
If its not something you feel you can handle than any good shelter/rescue will take the dog back( though you may need to look at your contract again). For now I would start working with a trainer/behaviorist to help your dog work through his reactivity, you may find its not actually aggression at all. Reactivity and or aggression training (especially depending on the severity) takes time to work through.
 
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In order to start any action against the center for compensation you would have to show that they knew of the dog's proclivities. That may be difficult or impossible to do, they may not have known and tests done at the time might not, for a variety of reasons, have shown any aggression.
I believe most rescues want to find good, compatible homes for their dogs and don't lie to get them adopted out. Was this in fact a rescue? You used the word 'sold'. Although there may be fees associated with adopting a rescue, and sometimes quite hefty fees, it is not a sale, usually it is reimbursement for expenses the rescue has paid out and the costs of upkeep.

If you do not believe you can safely handle this dog, find him another home, and wherever he goes, it is your duty to disclose his history and what you know about him.
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Yep, there are shady rescues out there. I'd venture to say that underhanded rescues are the new "pet shops" when it comes to the market that is house pets. Have you looked on Facebook? Has anyone else had weird experiences with this rescue? People absolutely will "flip" dogs for profit, unfortunately.

Whether you can take action or not depends on the contract you signed. If it is true, however, that you were sold a dog in poor health, the SPCA may be able to investigate this "rescue" to ensure that they are upholding their duties as a non-profit society housing animals.
 

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DannyC said:
This is the saddest bit as i didnt even think he had this in him and i thought hed learned his lesson and took in what the behaviourist taught him since the first one
Can you please explain how the behaviorist taught him? What was involved in the lessons?

If it was dominance based techniques, that involved things like alpha rolls, making the dog submit to other dogs, hand bites, shock collars, etc. Then it likely had the opposite effect from what you are trying to accomplish. What happens is the dog learns to suppress his reaction, but underneath the seemingly calm exterior he's still upset, and he's likely even more upset since the other dog is causing bad things to happen to him. Sooner or later he'll start reacting again and it's usually worse then it was in the beginning.

What your boy needs is a behaviorist that specializes in counter conditioning and desensitization. What that type of behaviorist does is works to change the way a dog feels about other dogs. Their goal will be to have your dog view other dogs, or whatever he is reactive towards, as causing good things to happen. Once that is achieved your dog will not want to chase off the dog or whatever else he's upset by. It will probably not happen fast though, it rarely does. That type of therapy can takes months, or longer to accomplish.
 

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Can you please explain how the behaviorist taught him? What was involved in the lessons?

If it was dominance based techniques, that involved things like alpha rolls, making the dog submit to other dogs, hand bites, shock collars, etc. Then it likely had the opposite effect from what you are trying to accomplish. What happens is the dog learns to suppress his reaction, but underneath the seemingly calm exterior he's still upset, and he's likely even more upset since the other dog is causing bad things to happen to him. Sooner or later he'll start reacting again and it's usually worse then it was in the beginning.

What your boy needs is a behaviorist that specializes in counter conditioning and desensitization. What that type of behaviorist does is works to change the way a dog feels about other dogs. Their goal will be to have your dog view other dogs, or whatever he is reactive towards, as causing good things to happen. Once that is achieved your dog will not want to chase off the dog or whatever else he's upset by. It will probably not happen fast though, it rarely does. That type of therapy can takes months, or longer to accomplish.
This. There are Veterinary behaviosists (DVMs), Certified Animal Behaviorists (CAB-D)... and then there are people who have made up their own credential as a behaviorist.
 

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This. There are Veterinary behaviosists (DVMs), Certified Animal Behaviorists (CAB-D)... and then there are people who have made up their own credential as a behaviorist.

We refused the help from the behaviourist as they recommended a shock collar and im entirely against.

We sent the dog back today regrettably which wa devastating for both myself and my partner as we'd bonded great with the dog.

The rescue centre admitted they got it wrong in person and theyd refund our adoption fee which we figured was fair enough. We then rung the following day to give bank details and check that he was okay etc and they went full frontal attack blaming us for the state of the dog and that we had taught him to attack etc etc and they made my partner extremely upset with their accusations even though the previous day theyd admitted they didnt assess the dog properly.

I'd of been happy to let it go with just my fee back but after their insane accusations im looking to go a step further. Does anyone know if we have any legs to sue or even get our vet bill paid?
 

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We refused the help from the behaviourist as they recommended a shock collar and im entirely against.

We sent the dog back today regrettably which wa devastating for both myself and my partner as we'd bonded great with the dog.

The rescue centre admitted they got it wrong in person and theyd refund our adoption fee which we figured was fair enough. We then rung the following day to give bank details and check that he was okay etc and they went full frontal attack blaming us for the state of the dog and that we had taught him to attack etc etc and they made my partner extremely upset with their accusations even though the previous day theyd admitted they didnt assess the dog properly.

I'd of been happy to let it go with just my fee back but after their insane accusations im looking to go a step further. Does anyone know if we have any legs to sue or even get our vet bill paid?
I don't know the laws for civil matters in the UK, but I honestly don't believe you have a case. You need to be able to prove that they knowingly gave the dog to you in that condition. Unless there are some written records that you can get your hands on, I think that's highly unlikely. I think you should take this as a lesson learned, be glad you got your fee back and maybe get a puppy next time. Puppies are way less likely to have baggage.

Sorry you had this experience.
 

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blaming us for the state of the dog and that we had taught him to attack
What I would do: Print out a copy of this thread, and go see an attorney, and ask him/her to write a letter registered mail to the center's management asking them to cease and desist making such baseless accusations.

This might actually cost you a little money, but it is possible that by accusing you, and making notes in their records reflecting their accusations, they are setting you up to take the fall in case anything subsequently goes wrong with this dog and it attacks someone.
 

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Don't know, but it seems to me that the main concern and focus should be, will the dog get the behaviorist training he needs, to be placed. If it were me, if you are convinced the dog will be cared for and placed in a good home, let it go.
 

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Lucillle s comment about them possibly setting you up to cover their own backsides for something bad that might happen in the future with this poor animal gave me chills. I think she is hitting the nail on the head.
Good advice to print this thread and get legal advise. yes it might cost now, but I think in the long run it could protect you from a very expensive law suit should the worst happen (God forbid)
It is absolutely heart breaking that you know you tried your best, and you fell in love with him, and now you get the blame, and worst of all that you also cannot trust them to get this doggy the help he needs. So very very sad.
 

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I agree with @Lucille , the more paperwork you have, the safer you are.
 

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We refused the help from the behaviourist as they recommended a shock collar and im entirely against.

We sent the dog back today regrettably which wa devastating for both myself and my partner as we'd bonded great with the dog.

The rescue centre admitted they got it wrong in person and theyd refund our adoption fee which we figured was fair enough. We then rung the following day to give bank details and check that he was okay etc and they went full frontal attack blaming us for the state of the dog and that we had taught him to attack etc etc and they made my partner extremely upset with their accusations even though the previous day theyd admitted they didnt assess the dog properly.

I'd of been happy to let it go with just my fee back but after their insane accusations im looking to go a step further. Does anyone know if we have any legs to sue or even get our vet bill paid?
Yiiikes! I'm so sorry that you had to return your dog and even sorrier that they are giving you a hard time for it... Seen this happen before. Unfortunately it seems that rescues need to start coming with a buyer beware warning. Other than taking them to small claims court for any liabilities their paperwork hasn't waived them of, not much you can so. Perhaps post your story on local dog groups on Facebook and see if anyone else has had a bad experience?

Something similar happened in my area (dog with severe medical problems adopted out) and on the local groups for dog professionals, various people came forward with other stories about the same rescue. It helps us as trainers, sitters and business owners because we can stop referring a shady rescue to clients :(
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