Saturday, October 22, 2011

In the News: Return to Sender?

I read this article first on October 12, and put off blogging about it. I really hoped that I would see a followup article somewhere, but so far, that has not been the case.

The basics: a German Shepherd, imported to Washington state by a broker was bought by a man in Long Island (flown to LaGuardia). The buyer had the dog, Emmi, for only a couple of days before he realized he could not control her. So he sent her back. The seller said the buyer broke contract, and left the dog overnight in kennel before going to retrieve her.

(picture that accompanied NY Times article. Not sure if it's Emmi.)
Okay, first things first. When one advertises what is ostensibly a well-trained, good tempered protection dog, one checks out a prospective buyer. Vet references, personal experience, whether there are children and if they know how to behave around dogs. The buyer's 8 year old son was nearly bitten, according to the article, but from the lack of details, it's impossible to lay blame. Should a well-trained dog be cognizant that a bite is on command only? Should an 8 year old have free access to a German trained protection dog that was just on a plane for 12 or more hours?

Second, if one is buying a protection dog, one best have a trainer lined up to continue training. If a dog comes to you, pre-trained, not only is the dog "new" to you, but you're new to her. She has no idea who you are, if you're to be trusted or taken seriously, and if you know your chops. So, in a crate, on a plane, then a stranger comes and pops you in his car. Routine is already disrupted (well, and was disrupted well before that, when Emmi was shipped stateside from Europe), and does New Guy know the routine? Does New Guy even know the right commands, or did he read this previous article in the New York Times and think it would be pretty righteous if he had a well trained German Shepherd of his own?

Third, whether the buyer notified the seller within the contract window or not, I do feel that people selling dogs should stand by them for life. And be concerned for their welfare, for life. Leaving phone calls unanswered and emails unreplied to when the seller tried to say "Hey, I'm sending this dog back. This isn't working out) is unprofessional and irresponsible. I hope it hurts his business. Based on that behavior alone, I would neither buy a dog from that man nor train with him.

You can buy a dog faster and easier than you can buy a gun, but guess which takes longer to understand?


  1. Wow. Strike up another one for capitalism. I'm getting so frustrated with people who see dogs as commodities and not living, thinking, feeling beings. I'm disgusted with every idiot in this story (and that doesn't include the dog.)

    Thanks for sharing this. I hadn't seen it before.

  2. Hi Y'all,

    We agree!

    The buyer should have had enough sense to know that a strange dog will challenge his authority. If the trainer had returned phone calls and emails he may have been able to help the buyer and dog adjust to each other.

    Y'all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  3. @Leslie I was really frustrated by every aspect of the story as well, starting with Emmi having been shipped from Germany (where she was, I think, trained) for the purpose of being a product.

    @Hawk The buyer should definitely have done his research regarding dog training, dog behavior, and really every aspect of the transaction. Of course, from the story, we don't actually know if Emmi is a confused, scared dog, or an unbalanced monster. And we'll probably never learn.

    @Pup Fan I agree! I was absolutely disgusted by it.

  4. I also was very upset by this article. And, of course, this is going to be used as proof of the viciousness of German Shepherds.

    That poor, poor dog.

  5. @Pamela Exactly! It must be that vicious German Shepherd's fault. They always bite people >.> It's just so very disappointing.