Originally Posted by thekimballs
Are the dogs already gone?
IN NO WAY do group attacks on cats equate to attacks on babies. It's weirder that a group of dogs of those breeds haven't tried to get the cat before now, honestly.
If the dogs are not already gone, she should NOT let them go. I am very, very sorry that anybody told her (if they did) that this had anything to do with safety for humans.
It depends on the individuals. I've met some very cat-friendly Amstaffs and Rotties, but they need to be raised around cats or they can never be trusted alone with cats (this is true with *any* large dog—even retrievers).
But you are right. Cat-aggression doesn't equal human (or child) aggression. I've actually known some husky breeders who's dogs have killed stray cats that have come into their pen, but their dogs are very gentle with people and kids.
Maranapanda, what happened to your mother is really strange. Were there *any* signs of aggression to the cats to begin with (ex- chasing them, growling at them)?
It is very unusual for family dogs to suddenly attack family cats like that.
It's a shame she took them right to the shelter. A lot of shelter workers/volunteers would be livid at someone making this kind of decision as they already have to deal with putting down pets way too much—on the city dollar. Having a beloved pet PTS (even for aggression) is something that needs to be done *with a regular vet*—preferably with the owner right there by that pet's side as he/she is being euthanized.
That said, your mother's situation is very tragic and her reaction is *very* understandable. However, without knowing the entire story, though I could see how some would find it also to be impulsive and cruel. I could understand why your animal-loving friend may be so angry (it wasn't cool how she reacted at you though).
Is this done deal? Do you know whether the dogs are actually dead yet?
If not, I hope your mom (or you) have time to get to that shelter and take those dogs back before they get put down. Unless there's more to the story (previous incidents of aggression) having them PTS (especially at a shelter) is rash, and it is something your mom will totally regret when she gets over this shock. It is very unlikely that all 3 of those dogs need to be put down. In fact, even the main aggressor in the three may be "innocent" if there is a legit medical reason for the aggression (ex- brain tumor, illness that causes pain, etc...).
If you can get them back, put them in a dog crate in another room from the kids. First, take them to a vet to see if there's a physical cause to the aggression. If he/she can't find a reason for the attack, find a reputable animal specialist to do an assessment of the dogs for child safety.
If your mom can't stand to live with them after what happened (understandable), they can probably be rehomed with a local breed rescue. Unless they have shown *any* aggression towards humans (and snapping at your mom in the middle of attacking the cats doesn't count—most dogs will snap at people when attacking other animals), they probably can be rehomed.
If it's a done deal, and the dogs are dead, I'm not 100% sure how you can handle this with the kids. I think they should know the dogs and cats are dead. It wouldn't be right to hide that (my dad used to lie to me about pets dying and it was not cool), but I'm not sure if they need to know the circumstances behind the deaths as it's such a confusing and difficult situation.
Do you want them to know the dogs killed the cats? Do you want them to know their grandmother had the dogs PTS? That can be a lot for little minds to wrap around.
Perhaps you could do something special with the kids to remember all the pets, like have a memorial service (flowers, pictures, poems about the pets, etc...)?
I'm very sorry this has happened to your family. I hope you and your family can work through it.