When pet dogs become killers are they still safe?

Primer

Well-Known Member
This is a strange one to ask but here goes.

My sister in law has 3 dogs (2 German Shepherds and a labrador), 6 cats, some ducks and chickens.

The 2 German shepherds have grown up with the cats since they were puppies and all have lived happily together for a couple of years with the only problem being the bitch dog has killed a couple of chickens until last night when the wife got a call from her distraught sister to say her other half had just let the dogs out in the garden for a pee and both of the German shepherds had attacked and unfortunately killed one of the cats, obviously the cat didn't do a runner when the dogs came out as they normally get on and play together.

So the question is why would the dogs do this and are they likely to do it again?

The sister in law wants the dogs gone as she also looks after her 2yr old grandson quite often and is worried that they could turn on the child or the other cats.

Any advice appreciated
 

basil

Distinguished Member
Why did they do it? I don`t know.
Likely to do it again? I would say so.
I definitely wouldn`t want them within a mile of my grandchildren, who knows what or who they will attack next.
 

nun_hunter

Well-Known Member
Why did they do it? I don`t know.
Likely to do it again? I would say so.
I definitely wouldn`t want them within a mile of my grandchildren, who knows what or who they will attack next.
A dog attacking a cat is totally different to attacking a person. My dog attacking a person I would be hugely concerned and would probably have them destroyed depending on the circumstances. My dog has killed a cat and I have no issues with him around my kids or others. After he killed a cat my wife spoke to a professional dog handler and he advised in his opinion there was no risk to people, his words were "dogs kill cats, it's what happens".

The police won't be concerned if your dog killed a cat (assuming other offences weren't commited) but they would if it attacks another dog or person due to the very nature of dogs and what is considered normal behaviour.

I'd be fully prepared for the dogs to attack the cats again and only the owner can decide if she feels there is a risk to the kids from those particular dogs.


There is a saying "fighting like cats and dogs" for a reason.
 

Cootmeurer

Well-Known Member
I would never view a cat killing dog as unsafe around children. Before I became serious about Labradors 20 years ago I used to raise and train hounds for running game (primarily raccoon but also bobcat).

I had several, and one in particular, that were the most passive house pets you would ever see. Take them out to the wood and they switched on. As a matter of fact I have an old female lab bitch now that sets that standard for laid back house dog, and even let's the house cat wander freely. Take her outside and it is game on. None of these dogs have ever shown the tiniest inclination of aggressiveness towards a child.

Now, that being said, I would never trust those dogs around a cat again - unless you are willing to take the time to do some serious training.
 

Primer

Well-Known Member
A dog attacking a cat is totally different to attacking a person. My dog attacking a person I would be hugely concerned and would probably have them destroyed depending on the circumstances. My dog has killed a cat and I have no issues with him around my kids or others. After he killed a cat my wife spoke to a professional dog handler and he advised in his opinion there was no risk to people, his words were "dogs kill cats, it's what happens".

The police won't be concerned if your dog killed a cat (assuming other offences weren't commited) but they would if it attacks another dog or person due to the very nature of dogs and what is considered normal behaviour.

I'd be fully prepared for the dogs to attack the cats again and only the owner can decide if she feels there is a risk to the kids from those particular dogs.


There is a saying "fighting like cats and dogs" for a reason.
I could understand this behaviour had they never been around cats but as I said they've been with the cats since they were puppies and it's not been unknown to find the dogs asleep with a few of the cats cuddled up with them and I've never witnessed any aggression from the dogs towards the cats when I've been round.
 

Pedro

Well-Known Member
With there being two of them, I wonder if it's a bit of the old pack hunting mentality kicking in. I wonder, if they had been let out individually whether either of them would have attacked the cat.

I agree that it's possibly nothing to worry about, dogs do tend to kill cats they find if the cat gives them a chance. But normally dogs don't attack cats that are part of the same household, seeing them as part of the family or pack, like the humans they live with. So I think that would worry me.

They might now be as good as gold and never be violent towards humans. But me? If I had any young children, who might be seen as vulnerable prey, I wouldn't take the chance, even if it were one in a million.
 

Mickeydredd

Well-Known Member
Is there any reason to think the cat may have been ill? how old was the cat?

Any sign of weakness can sometimes change boundaries.
 

Gazza

Well-Known Member
Just because the dogs get on with the cats in the family does not mean they would tolerate a strange cat. Perhaps they just made an error. Having said that I would not totally trust any dog with a child.
 

Greymaster

Well-Known Member
In Germany a standard test available to HPR breeds is the härtenachweis (HN) test. A dog has to subdue a live predator, (fox, feral cat), and kill it. It is then awarded the HN designation in its breed stud book. Dogs from lines having this designation are much sought after for boar hunting.

Many HN dogs are house pets on their days off.
 

gerarddwatts

Well-Known Member
A couple of weeks ago I watched a terrier attack a fox hound. The terrier was getting the upper hand and some other hounds piled in against the injured hound...luckily there was some-one who could get in and restore order....with boots... Who knows what that was about?
 

bewsher500

Well-Known Member
I am sorry but in 40 years of growing up with multiple dogs and cats I have never had any dogs that would or have killed a cat...ours or anyone else's!
I have never liked or trusted gsd's (add them to border collies, chihuahuas , Dalmatians and beagles as the most unpredictable breeds I have personally experienced!)

despite the concern about dog's and children, you have a dog that has killed another pet, not a mouse or a frog....a cat

afraid I would be biting the bullet.
harsh but where do you draw the line?
the law is different for cats, would you be asking this question if they had killed a smaller dog?
 

Primer

Well-Known Member
Is there any reason to think the cat may have been ill? how old was the cat?

Any sign of weakness can sometimes change boundaries.
The cat was about 4 1/2 as we have his sister and he is normally a very feisty and friendly little thing but I've not been round for a month or two.
 

Primer

Well-Known Member
I am sorry but in 40 years of growing up with multiple dogs and cats I have never had any dogs that would or have killed a cat...ours or anyone else's!
I have never liked or trusted gsd's (add them to border collies, chihuahuas , Dalmatians and beagles as the most unpredictable breeds I have personally experienced!)

despite the concern about dog's and children, you have a dog that has killed another pet, not a mouse or a frog....a cat

afraid I would be biting the bullet.
harsh but where do you draw the line?
the law is different for cats, would you be asking this question if they had killed a smaller dog?
Yeah we have several friends who have cat and dog households and all live in harmony, we even have one who's a farmer and they have working farm dogs, feral cats and domestic cats and again they all get on.

I've tried to stay out of the situation with the sister in law as I've had a go at her before for having too many animals in her small 3 bed house, I can see this causing a lot of tension in their household as the cats are hers and the dogs are her partners, the only thing in his favour is the poor cat was only a normal domestic breed as they also have an expensive pedigree maine coon cat (although that is the size of a dog).

To me certain dog breeds should not be kept as pets as they are bred for specific work/tasks and it doesn't matter what some people say you are never going to remove that natural instinct out of them in a domestic situation.
 

Rake Aboot

Well-Known Member
My dogs kill stuff all the time.

They are generally fine around cats, but if they saw one on the lamp it would be a different story.

No issues with them around kids.

Kids aren`t cats.
 

bewsher500

Well-Known Member
To me certain dog breeds should not be kept as pets as they are bred for specific work/tasks and it doesn't matter what some people say you are never going to remove that natural instinct out of them in a domestic situation.
i don't agree
Over the years we had about 15-20 dogs, three kinds of terriers that were terrific ratters, vermin dogs and would all happily kill rabbits, moles, hares given the chance
large "proper" springers, one even managed to kill a hedgehog once!
not to mention the numerous lodgers (father was a vet, so waifs and strays were regular)

all working dogs that lived inside as pets with up to 2 cats out of a total of 4

they all chased the cats and messed about with them/him/her given the chance but even as a pack of dogs they never attacked them.


i find it odd that we strive to train our dogs to the highest levels but would accept them killing something they are not supposed to
 

martijn

Well-Known Member
in my opinion dogs will have a natural incline to attack prey animals (chicken rabbits etc) or cats/ferrets (as mentioned before it is unnatural for dogs and cats to just get along as they are both predators competing for the same food). and of course most hunting dogs do have a bigger hunting drive/attack mode/hunting mode or whatever you want to call it. Now you can train your dogs early on that certain prey are of limits and also to get along with cats. But some will only get along with the house cat and kill the neighbors (not belonging to "their" pack), the classical story is that the old cat dies and people can never get a new cat as the dog will attack any other cat. In this case I do think that the pack mentality came into effect and once animals get into the "zone" they will just stimulate each other to get more excited.

As to call the animals unsafe around children? To be honest NO animal regardless if it is a cat dog or whatever should be trusted or left alone with young children.
But for a dog to attack a cat I do not see any reason to call it unsafe for humans. That is like saying oh my cat killed a mouse the other day I better lock it away because the toddler will be next?
 

rick6point5

Well-Known Member
Those that have dogs that work know full well that when the gun room keys or shooting jacket get pulled out the dog knows it's time to work, this is the switch on time, just being around the house or garden is not the trigger, something else switched the dogs on to kill this cat, my fear in this case with this breed and others is that the switch that changes the behavior from pet to killer is unknown so becomes in my mind an unsafe situation and erring on the side of safely and to avoid any tragedy they go.
 

devilishdave

Well-Known Member
I have a Lurcher, she is an old girl but in her day she was lethal on rabbits and the odd hare before the ban. S.he loved cats in the house and would fuss them and if she saw our cats outside she was fine with them. any other cats were fair game in her mind though. Fortunately she was obedient to come off of the hunt and return to me when commanded to. I would be inclined to look at rehoming the GSD to some one with no cats or young kids

Dave
 

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