Your Feb. 22 editorial “Guarding the guarders” discussed the cruelty of putting down food-guarding dogs and aimed blame at Julie Lyle, director of Lucas County Canine Care and Control. But she could be referred to as a hero.
It is possible to alter the behavior of some food-guarding dogs with heavy training, but the risk might not always be worth the trouble. Sometimes the lives and safety of people come as a higher priority.
This is certainly true for young children, who are unable to detect warning signs of food guarding. Why are we getting upset with Ms. Lyle, who’s potentially saving people’s lives?
The other side of food guarding
I don’t like to think of dogs being killed if they can be rehabilitated, but many people do not see the serious side of food guarding (“Dogs still die despite vow for change; Foes prod Contrada on her promise to save food guarders,” Feb. 26).
I have a clear memory of my daughter, when she was a toddler, heading for our dog’s bowl to try to share his food. I have always taught my dogs to back away from the bowl when a human reaches for it.
But what if it had been a food guarder? A child’s face and a dog’s teeth are at the same level when the child is reaching for the bowl.
Losing faith in Lyle as savior
Dogs brought to the Lucas County Canine Care and Control shelter are often starving after running loose. It is natural for them to guard food when they get it.
To give a stray dog food, then try to remove it, is not a way to determine how the dog would act in a loving home. It is an act of cruelty and aggression toward the dog, which will respond accordingly.
Ms. Lyle started out as an innovator and a savior of “pit-bull” type dogs that were killed at the facility previously. But she has become just as prejudiced against food guarders.
The killing of these dogs must end.
Shelter a blot on county’s image
The name of Lucas County Canine Care and Control should be changed to the animal disposal office.
The dog that brought this issue to light, a black Labrador retriever mix that was destroyed, had been removed from its known surroundings and was likely scared and confused.
Any dangerous animal does need to be put down, yet the shelter’s director seems to look for every excuse to do that.
I do not live in Lucas County. But having grown up in Toledo, I wonder whether people in Lucas County feel that the canine care office has been a blot on the county’s image long enough.