AS foster carers for Newcastle Dog Rescue, we assure Andrew Cornwell (“Animals are not the problem, it’s people” Herald 19/10) that we are very aware of the need to accurately assess the temperament of any dog before placing it in a new home.
But describing the RSPCA’s test as rigorous and fair is incorrect. Rigorous, certainly, but fair, hardly.
Many dogs that end up in the RSPCA system are there because they have been lost or dumped by their owners, and many of them have been badly treated.
To expect them to behave normally is an unreasonable expectation.
We know from our own experience that dogs that are nervous, worried and fearful when we get them, almost always settle down after just a few days in a normal family environment.
Our policy is to keep and observe the dogs in this situation until we understand their basic temperament and quirks. Do they like children? Do they get on with other dogs?
Having established these matters, we then list each dog for adoption on our website and will release it only to owners we feel will suit it.
Surely this is a kinder and more reliable method of assessment than simply expecting a stressed dog to conform to an arbitrary checklist?
This is why we do not understand the RSPCA’s refusal to work with groups such as ours.
Obviously, a large organisation such as RSPCA does not have the ability to provide this level of attention, but not-for-profit organisations like Dog Rescue Newcastle do this work every day and are responsible for saving the lives of countless abandoned animals.
We stand ready to work with the RSPCA whenever it becomes prepared to include us.
Ken and Caroline Moore, Brandy Hill