Ever since Benji bit me, I’ve been turning it over in my head again and again: what actually happens if you report a dog bite?
In search of my answer, I dropped by Toronto Animal Services a couple of days ago to ask some questions.
First and foremost, they informed me that they do not euthanize pets. For a first offence, they basically just give a warning but keep it on file so that if there is a reoccurrence they can escalate the response. For a second offence, or if the first offence were fairly serious, they force a muzzle order. The only times they euthanize dogs are if it is a very serious attack (the dog mauled a child, for example), in which case TAS takes the owner to court, and a judge may rule for euthanasia. They will also euthanize Pit bulls that they get reported, because they aren’t legal dogs in Ontario (though my thoughts on breed specific legislation and how ridiculous it is will have to be a whole other post). Lastly, if the owner of the aggressive dog chooses to give up responsibility of their dog and give it to TAS, they will generally euthanize the dog, because rescues will not take dogs who have a history of aggression to humans, and they can’t rehome a dog that they know has a history of aggression to humans.
Because of that, I do think it is important to report dog bites. The dog will not get killed, and at least it is a way to keep safety measures in check. I could not stand the idea of something happening to another person – or dog – because I did not act.
In the words of the very friendly lady working at Animal Services, “without getting help or wearing a muzzle, that dog is essentially a 140 pound loaded gun.”
Once I was done my chat there, I asked if I could take a look around at the dogs, and they said of course. I was startled by the lack of any sort of direction – no one showed me around or talked to me about the dogs, I just kind of wandered through on my own and cooed at them. Overall, it doesn’t seem to be a super happy place for dogs – they were all fairly agitated, barky, and in relatively small cages. I totally fell in love with one boy, Romeo, a shepherd mix. Unfortunately he apparently isn’t great in a home with other dogs, but I’m sure he’ll get scooped up quickly – such a handsome boy!