No Bad Dogs: Blade’s Story

In July 2019 15-month-old Blade (pictured as a puppy and as an adult hours prior to being euthanised) was put to sleep. Although physically healthy he had developed serious aggression issues, most likely borne of fear from being around a man who allegedly thought it acceptable to physically abuse him and to show him ‘who’s boss’.

Doberman Blade: a dog badly let down by his owners
Doberman Blade: a dog badly let down by his owners

The man and his wife – a weak-willed and apparently mentally unstable woman – claimed to have done everything possible to rehabilitate Blade before surrendering him to Lincs Dobermann Rescue (LDR) in July, but there is evidence to suggest that their approach was inconsistent and ineffective.

The man clearly favoured the discredited punitive, dominance training method and the terrorised dog fought back in the only way he was able to, with his teeth. Blade was leading a miserable existence, permanently muzzled and locked in a battered old crate in a room on his own. The couple had allegedly taken Blade to three different vets to have him euthanised (they deny this) but were turned down each time.

The man, although well-off, developed an obsession with getting his money back from Blade’s breeder, literally hounding the woman with aggressive phone calls and emails and threatening legal action against her. She had offered to take back Blade but he refused until she paid up. While he professed that he was concerned about Blade attacking another human, it was evident that money was very much his main prerogative.

Blade

By the time LDR got involved, the poor dog was beyond help. The couple refused to take him back and, having taken advice from an experienced animal behaviourist, a vet and Blade’s breeder, the charity had no choice but to have him put to sleep.

Now the couple are threatening legal action against LDR, claiming the charity could have done more to help Blade (the audacity of some people beggars belief) and are also alleging defamation even though the charity has never publicly named either of them.

Meantime, the pair of them are badmouthing the charity all over FB, which IS defamation.

We believe in giving people the right of reply and emailed the male a series of questions. His response was predictably confrontational and aggressive. Oh and he threatened US with legal action. This is clearly a man with an inflated sense of self-importance, a toxic narcissist fixated on winning and threatening others to get his way.

He’s also an extremely vain man who uses a 10-year-old photograph of himself on his Twitter profile.

Well, we are not prepared to sit back and let a reputable and valuable dog rescue charity get trashed by this pipsqueak.

Please give whatever you can to support this tiny rescue staffed entirely by volunteers in their counter legal action against a vile abusive bully, who now has another dog.

Payments can be made via Paypal to lincsdobermannclub@yahoo.com via friends and family option or direct into the charity’s bank account, sort code 30 98 90 Account number 15963168.

Facebook post by Lincs Dobermann Rescue: ‘The Betrayal of Blade’

The plea was put out on social media to help this boy Blade, so as a rescue we jumped into action to help. Once we were alerted to him, Jess offered to go and collect him that evening by herself, but my gut feeling was it was better that 2 of us went to collect him.

On arriving at Blade’s home my initial comment to Jess was, what a beautiful house, there were two high value cars on the drive as well.

We knocked on the door and this was the start of a day that neither Jess nor I ever want to go through again. We could hear the familiar Dobie bark and I think we both expected to see an owner holding a dog back from the door, but there was no sign of a dog with them.

We chatted with them for what seemed an eternity whilst they told us what a difficult dog he was and he couldn’t be trusted but that he was ok with their son. There were a lot of tears about parting with him. They did display some very odd behaviour toward each other and were on the verge of full blown arguments on more than one occasion, yet after almost 2 hours of chatting there was still no sign of Blade. We said that it was time to complete our surrender form and get Blade in the van.

I asked them where he would travel best, in one of the fitted crates in the rear or inside with us on the back seats. The response was a definite “crate”, he’s used to being in a crate came the response, so I went out to the van to remove the divider and give him access to both sides. Jess said let’s go see the boy and walked into the room where Blade was being kept, it was shocking to see that he was in a battered crate and wearing a muzzle. This male owner then started running his knuckles up and down the crate, winding the poor dog up and stating “he’ll get really loud now”. Blade responded in the way he had obviously done a thousand times before, snarling, barking and lunging at the side of the crate. The male said that when Blade didn’t respond to commands, he punched him in the face to make him obey. Jess rushed out of the house, clearly upset saying “this dog is going crazy; I don’t trust the muzzle he’s got on and thank god I brought mine”.

Jess went back inside and at this point the barking not only became extremely loud but a different pitch and intensity. The male told Jess to leave the room whilst he changed the muzzle and got Blade on lead. The muzzle was so badly fitted that Blade had sores on his face where it had rubbed causing him damage. Blade could not be removed from the crate safely without a muzzle, the male owner struggled in a separate room to get him muzzled and leashed.

Blade was handed over to Jess on a leash and flat collar, neither she nor the owner could handle him on this. Jess asked the male to put the slip lead under the dog so that she could get him under control.
When I had finished sorting the van and returned inside Blade was on the lead, and he was jumping at our faces, lunging unpredictably and was not following commands given to him by the owners. He jumped up at me to head height, snarling and putting his face in mine, then turned to Jess and tried to do the same and then again to the male owner. It was clear that this poor dog was much worse than we had been led to believe however, considering the way he was kept and the stress he must have been feeling at that time with everything going on we thought that was the cause of some of the aggression.

We managed to get him safely into the van and inside the crate but whilst closing the door the snarling and aggression continued, the feeling that he was checking me out and sizing me up was clearly obvious. During all this, neither owner is to be seen. “She” is inside the house, “He” is on the roadside saying how he will help us back out on to the road. Neither one of them wanted to say goodbye to Blade, neither one of them were concerned about him being in a crate and checking if he was comfortable and it was noticeable that once they had signed the surrender form, they were keen to have us gone.

We set off, both completely stunned by what had just transpired but also with the realisation that Blade was in fact a very aggressive dog. I hate the words “Dangerous Dog” but really these are the words that sadly described Blade. We consulted an experienced behaviourist who specialises in Dobermanns and explained the situation and on her advice we knew we weren’t going to be able to help Blade as it would be irresponsible and dangerous to rehome a dog with the level of aggression he had, Blade could never be trusted in the home. Blade’s life must have been hell but with the facts established now, there were clearly only 2 viable options, having him pts or return him to the house.

We returned to the house and waited at least 5 minutes for them to answer the door. The female eventually answered the door and I explained that we based on professional advice, we would be unable to rehabilitate Blade to a point where he could be rehomed.

As a responsible rescue we could never put him in a family environment. I apologised but said unfortunately they would need to continue their search for help. She point blank refused saying he couldn’t be trusted with their son – different to prior to signing the surrender form. She brought her husband to the door and I explained again about not being able to rehabilitate and rehome Blade. He then said that he wouldn’t take him back as he couldn’t find a vet to put Blade to sleep. It was clear to us then that these people just didn’t want the cost, they had no thought to Blade, it was all simply about cost.

We left once again with Blade, still muzzled and still with his tail firmly down and a snarl when put back in the van. We couldn’t leave him muzzled, so I managed to undo the straps through the top of the crate, it fell to the floor and whilst Jess distracted him by throwing treats in away from the muzzle, I managed to get it out via the gap in the side.

We stopped for something to eat and bought Blade some chicken and I contacted the breeder. She told us that they had desperately been trying to get this boy back so they could work with him, from the age of 4 months the owners have been emailing them and complaining about his behaviour however they refused to return him to the breeder.

The breeder offered training advice until Blade reached 7 months old and when the owners were telling the breeder the issues, the breeder advised that the boy was too far gone and he should be put to sleep.

Hearing the full story it was heartbreakingly clear that, Blade had been betrayed by the 2 people who should have cared most about him, his owners. Their only motivation was money and if they couldn’t get money back for him, they clearly were not prepared to even cover the cost of humane euthanasia.

We went to the Vet who advised us that with this level of aggression Blade would not be suitable to be rehomed safely. He would lead a poor quality of life, permanently in a kennel, muzzled and with no human or dog interaction due to his unpredictability. He turned on the vet several times and the Vet advised us that pts was the most humane option for Blade.

When we spoke to the breeder, she thanked us for taking responsibility for taking Blade from that terrible environment and taking the sad decision to put him to sleep – she has offered to cover the cost of his humane euthanasia.
RIP Blade🌈

Questions we asked of Blade’s owner

  1. At what stage did Blade start exhibiting behavioural problems?
  2. How was he prior to this?
  3. What steps did you as owners take to address these?
  4. Did you ever approach a behaviourist? If not, why not?
  5. How was Blade around your child?
  6. Did you take Blade to a vet to be put to sleep? Was this more than once? Which vet? If so, why did the euthanisation not proceed?
  7. Where did Blade sleep?
  8. What were your communications with Blade’s breeder?
  9. Did you ask the breeder for your money back?
  10. Did the breeder offer to take back Blade? What was your response?
  11. In what way do you consider the breeder to be at fault?
  12. What were your expectations of the rescue you contacted?
  13. Do you think it’s appropriate to bad-mouth an animal charity on social media?
  14. Did [the male owner] admit to rescuers that he had physically abused Blade in the past by punching him in the face?
  15. Did [the male owner] deliberately aggravate Blade in front of others by running his knuckles up and along the crate in which he was kept?
  16. How do you explain the cut on Blade’s nose?
  17. Why was his coat in such poor condition?
  18. When did you get your new dog?

And the owner’s response

In response to your unsolicited and deeply offensive email.

We have been made aware of the entirely dramatised, fictional account entitled ‘The Betrayal of Blade’ posted by Lincs Dobermann Rescue. Unfortunately their libellous tissue of lies was posted on a closed group to which we have no direct response but in light of your intervention we will be pursuing the matter with the police as harassment and will be making a complaint to facebook community standards. We will also complain to the charities commission about LDR and their entirely untruthful account.

We have a full report from our vet who gave Blade a completely clean bill of health just prior to him being castrated, a matter of days prior to him being euthanised. We were advised by our vet to have him castrated in an attempt to deal with his long history of sudden aggression. His unprovoked violent attacks had being increasing in both frequency and ferocity. He had attacked my wife for no reason at all on the morning she took him to the vet to discuss options.

Three days after Blade was castrated he was happily playing in the garden with myself my wife and son, and our other small dog. With absolutely no warning he attacked my wife, badly biting her arms. Then moments later he launched a sudden, unprovoked extremely violent attack directly at my face. I have a permanent two inch ragged scar on my forehead as a result. A few centimetres lower and I would have been fortunate not to lose en eye. We have detailed photographs of both sets of injuries with date stamps on them. We also have video footage of him playing happily in the garden just hours previously.

We were advised by our vet after these attacks that he absolutely could not be trusted around our child as he was a serious danger and should be placed in the hands of an experienced behaviourist as his problems were now beyond all our best efforts, which included consulting an entirely disinterested breeder a number of times.

Together with the vet over four days days we sought every possible avenue to find a suitable home and expert rehabilitation to prevent him being euthanised.

I have no intention to respond to your offensive self styled interrogation. However I will address three points due to their severity.

  1. I have never punched nor struck Blade. That is a lie. I most certainly did not ‘admit’ any such thing to LDR as it is simply untrue.
  2. I did not rake my knuckles across his travel crate. He was barking and I put my fingers through to try and calm him prior to taking him out. I did warn he would be likely to be distressed and potentially dangerous when I let him out.
  3. Clearly Blade could not be locked in a crate or excluded from us for extended periods as it was distressing and confusing for him. 99% of the time Blade was just a big soft playful puppy. Under the advice of the vet we were told to muzzle him around our child for his safety. We used a highly recommended muzzle called a Baskerville muzzle. In a matter of a few hours Blade had pawed at it so violently it caused a wound to his nose. Clearly that was not a solution. We were rapidly running out of options. However we could not risk him attacking the people from LDR so he had to be muzzled again to be handed to them. LDR insisted on putting their own muzzle on Blade designed for the pit bull breed. It was too tight. We assumed they would remove it immediately once he was in their travel crate. If they didn’t I have no doubt his wound would have been significantly irritated further.
  4. Blade’s coat was not in poor condition. Our vet report will attest to that. Blade had developed a few pressure sores he could only sleep on the floor. We bought 14 beds from our pet supplier – Blade destroyed every single one so could only sleep on the carpet. I have no doubt close up shots of his few small sores will look entirely disproportionate.

LDR were made fully aware of Blades level of violent instability and the likelihood of attack. They assured us they would have Blade assessed by a behaviourist and he would be rehabilitated by experts. Because they had no kennels, only a network of foster homes, within a matter of hours they decided to have him destroyed. When it became apparent this would be their course of action we asked for him to be returned. We were roundly ignored. We were devastated by their actions. If we wanted to have our beloved dog euthanised we would have stayed with him at our own vets during his final moments.

My wife and I and our vet did everything could to help Blade. LDR had neither the facilities nor the expertise to deal with him. So they killed him. The breeder would not take him back either. Her response was she’d simply take him straight to the vets “like the others” and have him euthanised. We have since learned some of his siblings suffer from similar levels of unpredictable aggression.

Blade was treated with nothing but love and care in our home. We have hundreds of pictures and videos of him playing happily with my wife and I, our child and other pets. We have had a number of dogs including Dobermans over thirty years. We are well experienced with large dogs. Unfortunately Blade had an inherent problem with sudden snap aggression. We made every appropriate attempt to deal with this. The breeders dreadful advise was simply to “whack him with a rolled up newspaper”. Naturally we would not do so.

Let me be clear. We will be monitoring your page. Should you post anything about myself, my family, Blade, his condition or supposed mistreatment I will report you to to the police for harassment and seek legal advice for libel and defamation of character.

Any similar correspondence from you will also be treated as harassment and handed to directly to the police.