Monday, November 25, 2013

When a Therapy Dog Bites

A handler who belongs to a national therapy dog organization, as I do, is required to certify annually that the dog has not bitten anyone or shown overt aggression since the previous renewal of membership.  This requirement is not limited to incidents that happen during visitations.  A recent case from New York involved a therapy dog that bit a guest at a party in the home of his owner.  The certifying organization was not informed of the bite (until I sent them an email asking for comment), and the dog's certification continued for two years after the incident.  Should the dog have been allowed to continue a visitation schedule? I look at the issues of this case in a commentary posted on the website of the Animal Legal and Historical Center.

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