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Puppy killing littermate

This topic contains 2 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  Andrea Lindamood  3 weeks, 4 days ago.

  • Author
  • #13923

    Andrea Lindamood 

    I work with a local animal shelter. They recently had an incident in which an eight week old puppy killed its litter mate. The mother and puppies were taken from another shelter, and two of the puppies were placed in foster care together. After two days, the foster said one puppy was playing very roughly with the other. The foster separated them, and put them back together the following morning. They seemed to be doing fine, but then he left for the grocery store. When he returned 15 minutes later, one puppy had killed the other one.

    An LVT at the shelter examined the dead puppy and said that her jaw was dislocated and her “tongue was severed at the back of her mouth.” It appeared that she had bled out. There were also several bites around the dead puppy’s face, neck and shoulders. The other puppy only had a few scratches. Both puppies are female, pit bull mixes.

    The shelter is seeking guidance regarding what to do with the puppy. I have not experienced this before. If anyone has suggestions, I would appreciate it.


  • #13924
    John Ciribassi
    John Ciribassi

    Those wounds are consistent with an obvious kill response. It is likely that this problem will persist in this dog. There is no reason to believe that the behavior will extend to people but the risk of future similar incidents with other dogs is high. The two choices in my mind is placing the dog in a situation that assures no unsupervised contact with other dogs, dog is always on leash when other dogs are present, and work with conditioning alternate responses (redirecting to behaviors such as hand targeting and responding to name) when on leash around other dogs. The second choice is euthanasia, which is the only way to guarantee that this will not happen again.

    John Ciribassi DVM, DACVB
    Chicagoland Veterinary Behavior Consultants
    Carol Stream, IL 60188

  • #13932

    Andrea Lindamood 

    Thank you so much for your quick reply. I will pass along the information


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