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Dog sent to be re-homed then Battersea Dogs Home end life


A family have been left heartbroken after they sent their precious dog to Battersea Dogs & Cats Home – only to find he had been wrongfully put down five days later.

Grace McAllister and her parents said they “physically had no other option” but to send Bear, one, to be re-homed after their landlord changed their mind months after they adopted him.

Grace said as soon as she realised her dog was in danger at the London charity, she tried to get him but was told it would be difficult to release him due to “restrictions” imposed – which they failed to specify.



It is understood Bear didn't bite or attack anyone at the charity
It is understood Bear didn’t bite or attack anyone at the charity

The 24-year-old claims she was also told “they don’t have the time or resources” to give Bear the amount of kennel training he needed, which she said “rings alarm bells”, reports The Mirror.

Grace from Cambridgeshire said: “It’s gut-wrenching that I put my trust in a place that’s very well known and I have never heard a bad thing about Battersea until now.

“Within five days they’ve completely ruined a potential life. Bear had another 10 years if not more, and they’ve taken that away from him.”

Grace had looked at moving out so she could keep Bear but said she couldn’t afford anywhere else that allowed pets.

She “heavy-heartedly” opted to move him to Battersea on January 6 and on January 12 she was informed he would be put to sleep. He died on January 14.

Grace said she understood Bear was a victim of abuse prior to her adopting him and would often get scared and bark at strangers.



The pair developed a close bond
The pair developed a close bond

Dog behaviourist Blake Clark had one session with him when the family originally took him in and told the Mirror he was anxious but not remotely dangerous.

He believes staff possibly misunderstood Bear’s initial reactiveness for aggression and the dog may have then simply become the victim of a ” tick box exercise”.

Grace explained on signing him over Battersea assured her putting a dog down was a “last resort” and “they have an unlimited time [for] training them”.

Due to Bear being legally the property of Battersea once signed over, Grace and Blake claim they found it almost impossible to come to a compromise.



Grace said she was refused his ashes
Grace said she was refused his ashes

Blake – a dog behaviourist for 10 years – offered to adopt Bear himself, or even travel down to London regularly to train him for free, but said he kept being met with barriers until it was too late.

In the email telling Grace the dog would be put to sleep, a member of staff referred to “significant concerns” about Bear’s behaviour.

But on attempting to find out more about Bear’s brief spell at the charity, Blake was allegedly told it was a data protection issue.

The day after Grace dropped him off at Battersea, she was informed Bear would be put to sleep and that he’d been moved to a ‘caution kennel’ away from other dogs and was no longer allowed out for his daily exercise or other activities.

“I got Bear after a very hard time for myself, so me and him were very attached – we had an amazing bond. You feel as though they are your child and I’ve let him down,” she said.



The family's landlord changed their mind months after the adoption
The family’s landlord changed their mind months after the adoption

“I have seizures and he was actually alerting me when I was going to have a seizure.”

She added that he was “an amazing, kind, beautiful, gentle dog”.

A spokesperson for Battersea said: “There is no maximum length of stay for any animal in our care.

“Regrettably, despite our best efforts working with Bear, he did not show signs of improvement and his signs of aggression towards people and other dogs increased.

“When a dog in our care shows signs of stress in kennels, we will consider every option available, including the possibility of sending a dog to stay in a foster home.

“Unfortunately, this option was not possible for Bear due to the worrying behaviour he consistently displayed around new people.”



Bear was eventually put down when Grace agreed
Bear was eventually put down when Grace agreed – but she says she felt pressured to do so

They said a contact of Grace’s visited Battersea and offered to foster him but the team felt it “would not be responsible” of them to allow it.

The spokesperson said it was agreed Grace could reclaim him if she agreed to “seek behavioural advice from an expert and take precautions”.

“After two days considering her decision, Bear’s owner informed us that she would not be able to take him back and staff explained that Bear would be put to sleep as previously discussed. His owner agreed that this should happen as soon as possible.”

Grace said she only finally agreed after their decision email was sent because she felt pressured as her landlord would not budge and she was worried about Bear’s quality of life in the ‘caution kennel’.

The spokesperson said the percentage of dogs in the charity’s care put to sleep in 2020 was 12 percent, compared to 14 the year before.





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