Like it or not, the world evolves, priorities change and so do you.
- Marilu Henner

Save all the animals….I would if I could. I don’t think anyone could ever accuse me of not feeling compassion for animals.  I do all I can to help them.  Including knowing when one may need to put down.

Consider this:  a child in Phoenix was recently severely mauled by a dog. Kevin, a 4-year old boy, was outside playing with some other children in a neighbor’s backyard.  That neighbor’s dog was tied outside.  Kevin simply reached down to pick up a bone near the dog, and the dog mauled him.  As in, lifetime facial disfigurement, surgery and rehabilitation for years to come kind of mauling.

Dog Mauling

Blame is being placed everywhere, from the babysitter, to Mickey’s owners who left him outside, to the dog, even to the child(!) – but nobody has thought of where the real blame should be placed:  perhaps nowhere.  Perhaps this was just a freak accident. No indication was given if Mickey had attacked anyone before.  No information as to how Mickey was treated: as an outdoor dog or a beloved family member.   That being said, while food aggression can happen with any dog, loved or not, it is prevalent among dogs who are treated ill.

So here’s the status so far:  animal control has taken Mickey (the family willingly surrendered him).  Mickey is scheduled to be euthanized.  I firmly feel euthanasia should always be a last-resort, but I do believe this may be necessary with Mickey.  While I do believe he may be able to be rehabilitated, and I do feel that with proper training and work, Mickey could indeed adoptable, there are a few glitches:

  1. Even after rehabilitation, any dog that has ever shown food aggression/resource guarding (as in this case) must be very closely monitored, especially around children.  I’ve seen too many instances of owners who became lax around their now-well-behaved dog, and it’s usually children who get bitten, reminding the dog’s owners that resource-guarding is something you manage,not cure. This wasn’t just a growl when you took a treat away from Mickey; this was a full-on mauling of a child.
  2. Rehabilitation takes time, money, and let’s face it, space…a place that has room for Mickey.  It’s all about the numbers.  In the time and space that you could (possibly) rehabilitate Mickey, how many other dogs have been euthanized for no other reason than they existed?  Is Mickey, who, let’s face it, is already a felon among dogs, worth so much that we would let him displace the care that other, safer dogs could have?  I don’t think so.

In a perfect world, every dog has a home, and every dog that is exhibiting dangerous behaviors would get the help they need, or at the very least, a safe place to spend the rest of their lives.  But this is the real world.  Mickey, I’m sorry for what’s happened to you, and what’s going to happen.  You are indeed a victim.  However, there is a 4-year old boy named Kevin who will never be the same again.  His mother will never see the handsome man her little boy was supposed to grow up to be.  Right now all she can see is the scars that will disfigure his face.  The pain of future surgeries and physical therapy.

There is currently a campaign going to save Mickey.  So far donations are in excess of $5,000 – for a dog who, through no fault of his own, is untrustworthy and unsafe.  Imagine if that money was spent towards something more powerful:  free, public dog safety classes in Phoenix.  Education.  Mickey is just a rallying point now.  He’s become a pawn in the “I’m okay, you’re okay” crowd of dog worshipers who never ask themselves if the end truly justifies the means.  No, I don’t want Mickey to die.  I want him to live.  But I also know that there aren’t funds and space enough for Mickey in this non-perfect world.

One other thing:  Mickey is a pit bull.  I didn’t state this until the end because I am truly a believe in “Blame the Deed, Not the Breed”.  This was a deed.  Done by a dog.  While I don’t believe “blame” is correct here, consequences happen because of a deed.  I’m sorry, Mickey.  You truly don’t deserve this, but this is where I have to believe hard that there is such a thing as a Rainbow Bridge.  Because you aren’t an old, beloved dog dying of natural causes.  You are a young dog who probably hasn’t had much of a life.

Kevin (remember?  The 4-year old child who was mauled?) also has had a campaign set up for him, and is accepting donations.

I for, one, am sending my money to Kevin.  The human who can be helped.  You can donate as well here.

More information on the attack can be found here.

Keep calm and pilot on


Kerry Stack
Darwin Dogs LLC
Dog Training in Cleveland, Ohio

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