Tag Archives: Temperament testing

A dog’s life or death

Newcastle Herald – Jeff Corbett; Oct 26 2012

ABANDONED or unwanted dogs have been killed in RSPCA shelters and council pounds ever since we’ve had the shelters and pounds, but suddenly a temperament test to determine which dog lives or dies has created a furore.

Among the tests used by the RSPCA to determine a dog’s temperament is its willingness to bark at or chase a cat, and predictably many dog lovers are outraged that this doggy trait is deemed to indicate a poor or bad temperament.

The greater protest, though, is just below the furore, and that concerns a dog’s right to live and whether we have the right to kill a dog for reasons other than health. There is also the issue of an owner’s responsibility for a dog, and whether an owner should be permitted to recant that ownership and responsibility as easily as they do now.

Here’s what you had to say. READ MORE HERE



Filed under NSW, RSPCA NSW, Temperament test

Fear, Aggression, big difference

Oct. 18, 2012, Letter, Newcastle Herald

I AM a dog groomer in Charlestown and in Grooming 101 we were taught to interpret dog behaviour, a vital part of the trade for our safety and the dogs’.

At either end of the behaviour scale are ‘‘fearful dogs’’ and ‘‘aggressive dogs’’, both of whom are most likely to bite you without warning.

Trust me, there is a huge difference between the two.

Most of my first-timers are fearful, as they don’t know me and are in unfamiliar surroundings.

Letting them run around to sniff and sometimes mark their new territory is the difference between a good and bad grooming session.

Forcing them to comply against their will usually ends with either a bite or an injured dog.

The RSPCA temperament test sends shivers up my spine. If a dog cowers or growls at a tester, is it then needle time?

Most of my grooming dogs would face sudden death if, God forbid, they ended up at the RSPCA.

Even my own dogs, when I mention the word ‘‘bath’’ run and cower behind the lounge, and a trip to the vet becomes a mission to get them through the front door, followed by barking and growling. Would they be put down also?

Spending a few minutes observing a dog in a cage cannot determine its true behaviour. If a dog is petrified it will growl, whimper, urinate and, if pushed, bite.

Megan Foley, Charlestown


Filed under NSW, RSPCA NSW, Temperament test

Fox terrier Snoop is freed from death row in RSPCA backflip after they declared her ‘aggressive’

Herald Sun; Elissa Doherty; October 20, 2012

A SMALL fox terrier has been saved after a backflip by the RSPCA, which had claimed she was aggressive.

Snoopy rescued

Snoopy the dog has been saved from death row following a backflip from the RSPCA, who had initially labelled her as being “aggressive”. Source: Supplied

The change of heart came soon after the Herald Sun asked yesterday why the dog’s new owners were told she had to be put down.

Snoop had been facing death for more than a week while a high-powered legal team tried to get her freed, her owners said. READ MORE…


Filed under RSPCA victoria, Temperament test, Victoria

When fate depends on the wag of a tail

Brisbane Times, Nicole Hasham, Oct 13 2012

The RSPCA faces criticism for its animal assessments.

Adam Farrugia, Sydney Shelter manager at the RSPCA Yagoona pictured with Hera the Kelpie who has just undergone a behavioural assessment test in preparation for adoptionsmh newsphotos Ben Rushton

Happy ending … Adam Farrugia, manager at the RSPCA’s Yagoona shelter, with Hera the kelpie who was rehabilitated after a behavioural test. Photo: Ben Rushton

Lucky the dog softly wags his tail and sniffs the muscular mastiff looming over him. He doesn’t realise it, but his next move could help determine if he lives or dies.

Barking or backing away attracts penalty points. Growling or biting on approach is an immediate fail.

The floppy-eared beagle spreads his front legs and lowers his chest, a form of universal dog diplomacy that indicates he wants to play.

”That’s a really good sign. He seems quite social with other dogs,” says Adam Farrugia, manager of the RSPCA’s Yagoona shelter. ”I can see from this assessment … that he is interacting very well. His playfulness is something we can market to people in re-homing him.”

Each year, about 2000 behavioural assessments or ”temperament tests”, are carried out on unwanted, stray and once neglected dogs at the shelter, helping staff decide if they should be re-homed or destroyed.

The 10-page test, obtained by the Herald, has been criticised by animal welfare advocates who say dogs are unfairly failed, driving up kill rates and denying animals the right to life. READ MORE HERE


Filed under NSW, NSW Taskforce 2012, RSPCA NSW, Temperament test

MP backs RSPCA over use of controversial ‘kill tests’

SMH: Nicole Hasham,October 10 2012

THE MP leading a review of the state’s companion animal laws has backed the RSPCA’s use of controversial ”temperament tests” to determine whether dogs are put down, despite a study showing many shelter staff across the sector are untrained and believe the tests are deficient.

It follows claims by animal welfare advocates in yesterday’s Herald that the NSW RSPCA’s kill rate is higher than many council pounds who work with ”no-kill” animal rescue groups, and that dogs that fail behavioural assessments are unfairly destroyed.

The Charlestown MP, Andrew Cornwell, a veterinarian who is heading the NSW government’s companion animal taskforce, defended the RSPCA’s ability to administer the assessments, also known as ”temperament tests”, which score a dog negatively for actions such as barking, jumping and trembling.

”It’s not a matter of poking your head in a cage and seeing if a dog barks at you … the RSPCA puts an enormous effort into accurate behavioural assessment and, where possible, to behavioural modification to help an animal become suitable for re-homing,” he said.

Mr Cornwell denied space limitations influenced whether a dog was destroyed rather than put up for adoption, but conceded the assessment results were subject to ”a small area of grey”. ”You can’t simply quantify every aspect in it … there is always going to be a degree of subjectivity,” he said.

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Filed under Abandoned animals, RSPCA NSW

RSPCA criticised over claims test to decide fate of dogs is misused

SMH, Nicole Hasham, Oct 9, 2012

THE RSPCA has been forced to defend a “temperament test” used to decide whether dogs are re-homed or euthanased, amid claims the assessment is being misused and animals are not given the best chance at life.

The RSPCA euthanased more than 4800 dogs in NSW last financial year, about 40 per cent of dogs brought in. More than 60 per cent of those were euthanased due to “behavioural” problems.

The overall rate of dogs killed far exceeds some council pounds that work with “no-kill” animal rescue groups, such as Muswellbrook (3.7 per cent) and Wyong (12 per cent).

textOwner wanted … Bella. Photo: Wolter Peeters

Late yesterday, the RSPCA released to the Herald a copy of its behavioural assessments, otherwise known as “temperament tests”, after initially refusing the request on confidentiality grounds. READ MORE HERE

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Filed under Abandoned animals, No Kill, RSPCA NSW