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Old May 28th, 2010, 02:21 PM
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LittleLoves LittleLoves is offline
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Lady, the rabbit killer.

Hey guys!

I live in a subdivision, and somehow a wild rabbit found it's way into my (fenced) backyard.

I was outside when I see Lady (my golden retriever/husky mix) chasing the poor thing. Usually, I can call her off when she is distracted, but this was different...she was locked into a frame of mind so tight she couldn't acknowledge me. I chased her, she chased the rabbit, and eventually she cornered him in by the fence. As I'm running over to grab her, I hear the most distressing, horrible SCREAMING. I had no idea bunnies scream. It sounded like a human child.

So I grab Lady's collar and I'm yanking her, and trying to pull her off this screaming rabbit, and I'm screaming/crying too. She just wouldn't come off it. So...I had no choice but to grab her neck fur and pull her off by that. I'm sure it hurt, but I was so panicked, I didn't know what else to do.

When I finally got her off the rabbit, she immediately turned and walked with me to the deck where I secured her in (it's gated).

When I get back to the rabbit, he's trying to hop away, but he can only drag himself by his front legs...I could tell that his back was broken, just above his hips. My gawd, I just started to bawl. There was blood and he was just so scared.

I called the vet, who put me through to Dept. of Natural Resources. They told me they would be over to get him as soon as they could, and asked if I had a box. I told them they could use my travel dog crate, and that is when they said that they could not rehabilitate him, no vets will deal with wild animals!

My heart is just broken, I feel so guilty that this happened. I know Lady knew she did something...not wrong...but unacceptable to me, by the way she stared at me the rest of the afternoon. It is just all so tragic.

Now, my husband and I separated back in January. My daughter told him what happened, and now he is hassling me and saying that I need to watch Lady for aggression with the kids.

He is not a dog/animal lover. He doesn't understand dog behaviour. I tried to explain what I believe to the best of my ability, but I think he is now convinced Lady is dangerous.

I think it's horrible that this poor bunny was attacked, and ultimately died because of Lady, but I was under the impression that dogs often will kill small wild animals. Maybe because I had family that were hunters, and owned hunting dogs, farm dogs...am I wrong?

We adopted Lady over a year ago, and she has never been anything short of perfect with my children, and with the children I care for in my home. She has never attacked Oscar (our Shih Tzu), only corrected him when he stepped out of line.

Maybe I'm wrong. I don't know.

I'm also worried because I am trying to become a foster home through the local SPCA, and wonder if this will be an issue they would refuse us for.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 02:42 PM
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You don't have to worry , this is typical behavior for most dogs ! This doesn't mean Lady would be of any danger to other dogs.

About the vet not wanting to take the bunny ... there was not much they could do anyway. Even when bunnies don't die from their injuries , they will usually die front the stress of the attack.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 04:15 PM
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Aww,what a terrible experience
But I agree with Frenchy,that definitely does not make Lady a vicious dog and you can tell your ex that
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Old May 28th, 2010, 08:01 PM
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Your children would be part of Lady's "pack", the bunny is prey, so if Lady has been wonderful with your children, I wouldn't worry about her. What she did with the rabbit is natural for her.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 08:23 PM
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luckypenny luckypenny is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleLoves View Post
Maybe I'm wrong. I don't know.
No, you're not wrong . I would imagine a dog that wouldn't go after a rabbit would be an exception to the rule, not the other way around.

If it'll make you more comfortable, perhaps you can teach your dog the "leave it" command. Not sure if it would override such a strong instinct but we've been successful with it (if I'm right there) in regards to birds, rabbits, and other small critters.

Quote:
Originally Posted by LittleLoves View Post
I'm also worried because I am trying to become a foster home through the local SPCA, and wonder if this will be an issue they would refuse us for.
The folk at shelters understand the natural behaviors of dogs so no, it shouldn't be an issue.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 08:39 PM
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Thanks folks!

Lady is usually quite obedient when I say "leave it" and snap my fingers, however, the rabbit was like, the most exciting, thrilling event for her EVER. She has been prowling the yard corner to corner since it happened. I think she is hopeful. LOL

Poor bunny!
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Old May 28th, 2010, 08:50 PM
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luckypenny luckypenny is offline
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As horrible as this may sound, if this ever happens again, and if you are unable to call her off, best you not interrupt her...it'll be faster and more humane that way .

Is your yard fenced by any chance? We ended up reinforcing the space beneath our fencing to prevent dogs from attempting to dig out and, to prevent critters from coming in. You can use something like a strong chicken wire.
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Old May 28th, 2010, 10:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by luckypenny View Post
As horrible as this may sound, if this ever happens again, and if you are unable to call her off, best you not interrupt her...it'll be faster and more humane that way .

Is your yard fenced by any chance? We ended up reinforcing the space beneath our fencing to prevent dogs from attempting to dig out and, to prevent critters from coming in. You can use something like a strong chicken wire.
I wouldn't do that.

After my experience with dog poisoning related eating to poisoned animals, and seeing other people's stories, I wouldn't chance any of my dogs eating any of a wild animal that they catch. I'd try to get them off ASAP.
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Old May 29th, 2010, 06:00 AM
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You know, in hindsight, I wish I'd let her have just a few more minutes, it would have been over much faster. Unfortunately, the rabbit scream did me in and a sort of panic took over.

I'm sure Lady is like, "What? Catch the damned thing and didn't even get to eat it??!!"

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Old May 29th, 2010, 04:44 PM
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I know that when our dogs go after a rabbit, there's no way I'll be able to call them off until they've either caught it or it gets away. They don't catch many rabbits, but when they do I've found a strong "give" command to be invaluable. They aren't often interested in eating the rabbit, but they do love parading around in front of the other dogs with the prize...which gives me time to get it away from them. So we work on "give" quite a lot. And often, they come right up to me with the rabbit to show me what a good job they did

It is traumatic, though, for the human watching ...and rabbits do have a pretty impressive, blood-curdling scream

However, it's a very doggy thing to do and it has no bearing on whether Lady is aggressive or how she behaves toward kids. If you've not had a problem to date, there's no reason to think that you will!
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Old May 29th, 2010, 11:30 PM
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Hi LittleLoves,

Please don't beat yourself up over it... it is unfortunate yes but I think you did the best you could given that you were suddenly forced into a very traumatic situation.

I wouldn't worry about your pup. Most dogs have a very strong prey drive, and even the most well-behaved, obedient pup can turn a deaf ear to its owners commands in a chase. Honestly, most dogs would have reacted the same. I have a pet rabbit, that is caged in my home, and although my dogs do not pay any attention to her in the cage, I guarantee you if she got out their instincts would take over and they would likely kill her, as sad as that sounds.

As LP pointed out, a dog that would not have acted the same would be an exception to the rule. As terrible and violent as it seems to us that our pups are capable of chasing (and yes killing) another animal, it really is normal behaviour in a prey- predator world. Please don't beat yourself up for it.

BTW, I think its AWESOME you are going to foster for your local SPCA! It is obvious you care alot about dogs, and its wonderful you are doing such a good deed!
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