Stop Euthanizing Innocent Dogs


Target: President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle

Goal: End the use of unreliable temperament tests that result in the euthanization of shelter pets

Friendly dogs in shelters across the nation are euthanized every year because they fail to pass a scientifically unreliable temperament test. The test, called the Behavioural Assessment for Re-Homing K9′s (B.A.R.K.), aims to re-home only the animals deemed safe as companions. This assessment has recently been supposed invalid – it is time to implement a new measure. Demand a new test that better determines which animals will be suitable as companion pets.

The test, which is made up of 12 subtests, imitates daily situations a pet may face in order to determine how the he will react in a home environment. Unfortunately, a recent study that will soon be published in Applied Animal Behavior Science claims that the assessment has not even undergone scientific evaluation to determine the effectiveness of predicting pet behavior, thus making it an entirely futile measure. The only two statistically significant traits in the test include fear and friendliness, but these traits alone are not sufficient to determine a dog’s temperament.

If a dog fails the remaining subtests, all of which are not statistically significant, he may be put down.

Though the aim of the test may be honest, no animal can be simplified in this manner, therefore temperament must be measured in a more complex way. Animals should be retested if they fail the first time, measured with statistically reliable traits, and should be tested over a longer period of time, in different environments, and with different testers. Oftentimes, an animal becomes stressed and scared from too much change. New surroundings, new kennel-mates, and even new food can lead to negative changes in behavior that may be picked up by an unreliable temperament test.

If well-known organizations, such as the HSUS, decided to protest against these insufficient testing methods, then it may be possible to enact change. This could save thousands of animals every year.

Urge Wayne Pacelle, the President and CEO of the HSUS, to object to these testing methods and fight to implement reliable measures that will adequately predict a dog’s behavior after adoption.


Dear President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle,

A recent study that will soon be published in Applied Animal Behavior Science has suggested that temperament tests used in animal shelters are scientifically unreliable means of determining a dog’s behavior after adoption. The test has not been scientifically evaluated, and only two small traits are statistically significant, highlighting a large-scale problem: friendly dogs are put down every year.

With your support for this cause, it is possible to implement new standards in the future that better measure pet temperament and therefore accurately place friendly animals into loving homes. It is time that shelters stop euthanizing companion animals because they fail an unreliable test. I urge you to protest for a new scientifically valid measure that will more accurately predict a dog’s suitability for adoption.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: rbennett661 via Wikimedia Commons

Sign the Petition

  • Only your name will be displayed. By signing, you accept our terms and may receive updates on this and related causes.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
FacebookCare2 NewsTwitterEmailShare


  1. Lisbeth Alvarado Sanchez says:

    This is totally inhumane. Dogs are loving and loyal animals. They deserve a second chance.

  2. Animals in shelter situations do not behave the way they do in a safe loving home. Those behavior tests are absurd. What starving person wouldn’t snap at a hand trying to take his food, or get aggressive at the sight of another person crowding his space? These is just another stupid waste of time that is better spent networking the animal OUT of the shelter environment. People are so wack when it comes to animals!!!

  3. I completely agree. It is not a fair evaluation. I have done temp testing and worked in a low kill shelter. dogs that were adopted out as risky(most shelters would euthanize) ended up being completely fine once in normal surroundings, or with some work became amazing companions. My personal opinion through observation is dogs that are standoffish, not too social,and picky with who they like, cautious… all these traits that would get a dog overlooked for adoption…these are the dogs that seem to have the most depth, intelligence, loyalty, and super sweetness when given the opportunity. I think understanding the dogs/adopters needs and educating the potential adopter is key, as well as on going support for those who choose to adopt a more challenging dog. For me the rewards far, far outweighed the initial work that was needed to help my challenging dog understand his place…and what a once in a life time dog he was.

  4. I agree. The shelter here put down a one year old puppy claiming he failed the test. But the dog was never ever aggressive with me or anyone and he was very socialized. Reading this article has made me think to go and chat with the shelter people. It’s even several months and my heart aches for Russ–that was his name. I turned him in bc we have a great shelter and I realllly believed he would find a great home because he was do friendly and not too big and non shedding. I was schocked when I checked on him and they told me they had put him down.

    • Shelter pets were once part of a family, but are in a shelter through no fault of their own.. the humans (in many cases) let them down – imagine the uproar if babies/children were dumped when no longer fitting in with a family’s lifestyle! Pets are family members therefore people should only bring them home if they plan to keep them there for life. Shelter pets are sentient beings therefore when dumped at shelters etc will feel terrible loss, confusion, etc. Why is this so difficult for many to understand.. or perhaps they really just don’t care, in which case why even have a pet??

  5. Adopt a pet and give him a forever home. In order to stop the death of all dogs and cats we need to remember to spay and neuter our animals then perhaps there would be no more homeless. We need more No Kill Shelters. These animals do not ask to be born, we need to stand up and be their voice and fight for them. We can do it if we only would try harder. There are many animal lovers in this world, please spread the word.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *




5187 Signatures

  • Carol Hall
  • Mark Bould
  • Carrie Wilson
  • Sophie Debbane
  • eve roberts
  • Janet Delaney
  • Jacqueline Donel
  • K.V. Adamski
  • Jeanette Fourie
  • judith worrall
1 of 519123...519
Skip to toolbar