SPCA of Connecticut, Inc — Poor Adoption Procedures/Warning
My wife and I went to an SPCA of Connecticut, Inc. "Shelter Dogs Rock" event in Hartford on May 1, 2010 with very unsatisfactory results. The day before, we went to the website of the organization and saw a number of dogs that we thought would be of interest to us. The site said that if we paid $20 for online registration, we would save time when it came time to "check out" or choice. When we arrived, we were told that there was no opportunity to pre-approve us so we'd have to wait like everyone else (our $20 was not refunded). While a great deal of attention was spent on making sure we would be good "parents" to our adopted dog (we stood in line for two hours while every prospective adopter was interviewed by the director), no effort was made to allow us to have full information about the animal we hoped to adopt before the adoption was completed. The only information about the animals on their cages was a name and number. We were allowed to take the animal out of the cage (with assistance of an employee) and we did so and thought we had chosen a friendly and compatible dog. Only after we were approved and had paid our $325 and signed the contract did we get the material about the dog we selected. When we got home with our new pet we noticed that he had been surrendered just two weeks earlier for the reason "bites people." Further, the vet who examined and vaccinated him for rabies described him as "Aggressive, non sociable, does not tolerate handling, attempts to bite." We saw none of this behavior at the event and were not warned that this was a potential problem. However, after a few days, we noticed that he "snapped" at us with no warning when we touched his tail or tried to gently push him out of the way or tried to clean up around him when he was chewing on a toy. We immediately brought him in for "Clicker" training and mentioned what we had observed to the instructor. Her response was that it sounded like the dog was into "resource guarding" which could only be managed, never cured, so we might want to consider returning him. The vet we went to made similar statements. Finally, after six weeks, the dog severely bit my wife when she brushed against his tail while picking up a piece of paper near him while he gnawed on a nylon bone. We asked for help from another expert and were told "take him back!" On June 16 we returned him. We were not even asked why he was being returned, and though we told the young woman who took him from us why we were returning him, nothing was written down. In a subsequent conversation with the Executive Director of SPCA of Connecticut, Inc, Frederick Acker, he dismissed most of our concerns, stated that the dog could be rehabilitated and would be available for adoption again when he was. This was contrary to everything we heard and read about this behavior. We feel that this organization is being irresponsible in its handling of potentially dangerous dogs. If you choose to adopt from them, be sure to read all of the documentation about the animal, and take it seriously, before you take your new pet home. If you return your animal, all moneys tendered become a donation to SPCA of Connecticut, Inc. None is refunded.