I read the article, "Pet's death raises breed issues," with a heavy heart. The death of Pamela Porillo's beloved schnauzer was a tragedy from all points of view. But a better choice for the subtitle would have been: "Experts urge knowing more about dog breeds."
Over the past 10 years, I have been associated with a basset rescue group -- originally as an active member, then as a foster person, home check person, transporter and educator. I have adopted four rescue bassets.
The role of educator is perhaps the most important one for rescue and the most difficult. Foster people and adopters must do their homework regarding the suitability of certain breeds to their home situations. If the foster is joining another family dog, it is critical to first know the family pets' traits and issues. A small schnauzer "playfully attacking" a 21-pound foster dog should have alerted Porillo to potential problems. Breeds have different characteristics and it is imperative that foster people educate themselves.
Erie County SPCA Executive Director Barbara Carr said, "They are well-meaning people, but look at the result when you don't know what you are doing." This seems to condemn rescues. Rescues have handled successful placements of hundreds of animals in Erie County -- animals that may have been turned in to the SPCA and euthanized because of their unknown history, their age or simply because their time has run out.
Ellen J. Brown