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Shelter Dogs (2003)

Visitor Comments

Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Rose Fabricatore (email) on 2004-01-24 15:42:16

I have been involved with animal rescue for many years now and would always hear about the dark side of Sue Sternbergs methods. From what i have read time and time again on the rescue boards it seems that maybe the makers of the film Shelter Dogs should have interviewed former employees and the rescue orgs that tried to get animals from Sue Sternberg only to find that they were put to death. Maybe the makers of the film should have spent time with Tyson Horn of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary whose methods of working with so called untrainable or unadoptable and vicious dogs is well known with rescue. dogs that were to be put to death because a so called animal behaviorist said they were untrainable, unadoptable, vicious, couldnt be trusted. yet he has always been successul turning them around, and unlike Ms. Sternberg has never put a dog to death. Have the film makers checked out David Dufield who started Maddie's Fund and Maddies' Place in California,for a Kill Free Nation, contributing at the start 200 million dollars plus toward that goal. These are just two examples of SUCCESSFUL animal orgs that DO NOT KILL and there are so very many more.i dont know on a first hand basis, and as i stated, can only go by what i have read from those who stated that they have seen and dealt with Ms. Sternberg her methods and org, first hand. they also stated that if what they were claiming wasnt true that they could be sued, and they havent been. and as far as the film makers who were doing the doc, did they interview those people who worked for Sue Sternberg or the rescue groups who dealt with her who brought up these charges? Not to compare Ms. Sternberg to anyone else because i'm not, but want to talk about the film makers and what they see. Case in point, if the film maker was doing a doc. about a year in the life ofTed Bundy, before it was found out what he had done, and they were looking at the side, he wanted to show them, they could follow him for two years and he would show up on that doc what he wanted them to see, a wonderful upstanding citizen always ready to help someone. just a good guy in every aspect. i repeat, i am not comparing Ms. Sternberg to Ted Bundy or anyone else. the purpose of what i am saying is for the film makers who possibly might have just covered the surface. Yes, you can only save so many,and if you take the extra time to save one you might miss out on saving two more. do you let that one go, or do you ask for help from others and save them all and not be the judge, jury and executioner. As i said, i do not know Ms. Sternberg, but can only go by what others have said, and now your film. but, if what others have said is even partially true and possibly wrong, and it isnt included in your film, then you are only showing a portion of what really goes on and in doing so, allow it to continue. I wish i knew the entire truth so that i wouldnt continue to be disturbed by this. but, then again, everythng is Rashamon.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Rose Fabricatore (email) on 2004-01-24 15:42:23

I have been involved with animal rescue for many years now and would always hear about the dark side of Sue Sternbergs methods. From what i have read time and time again on the rescue boards it seems that maybe the makers of the film Shelter Dogs should have interviewed former employees and the rescue orgs that tried to get animals from Sue Sternberg only to find that they were put to death. Maybe the makers of the film should have spent time with Tyson Horn of Best Friends Animal Sanctuary whose methods of working with so called untrainable or unadoptable and vicious dogs is well known with rescue. dogs that were to be put to death because a so called animal behaviorist said they were untrainable, unadoptable, vicious, couldnt be trusted. yet he has always been successul turning them around, and unlike Ms. Sternberg has never put a dog to death. Have the film makers checked out David Dufield who started Maddie's Fund and Maddies' Place in California,for a Kill Free Nation, contributing at the start 200 million dollars plus toward that goal. These are just two examples of SUCCESSFUL animal orgs that DO NOT KILL and there are so very many more.i dont know on a first hand basis, and as i stated, can only go by what i have read from those who stated that they have seen and dealt with Ms. Sternberg her methods and org, first hand. they also stated that if what they were claiming wasnt true that they could be sued, and they havent been. and as far as the film makers who were doing the doc, did they interview those people who worked for Sue Sternberg or the rescue groups who dealt with her who brought up these charges? Not to compare Ms. Sternberg to anyone else because i'm not, but want to talk about the film makers and what they see. Case in point, if the film maker was doing a doc. about a year in the life ofTed Bundy, before it was found out what he had done, and they were looking at the side, he wanted to show them, they could follow him for two years and he would show up on that doc what he wanted them to see, a wonderful upstanding citizen always ready to help someone. just a good guy in every aspect. i repeat, i am not comparing Ms. Sternberg to Ted Bundy or anyone else. the purpose of what i am saying is for the film makers who possibly might have just covered the surface. Yes, you can only save so many,and if you take the extra time to save one you might miss out on saving two more. do you let that one go, or do you ask for help from others and save them all and not be the judge, jury and executioner. As i said, i do not know Ms. Sternberg, but can only go by what others have said, and now your film. but, if what others have said is even partially true and possibly wrong, and it isnt included in your film, then you are only showing a portion of what really goes on and in doing so, allow it to continue. I wish i knew the entire truth so that i wouldnt continue to be disturbed by this. but, then again, everythng is Rashamon.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Rose Fabricatore (email) on 2004-01-24 16:15:11

An additonal comment re Rondout and Sue Sternberg is that i may be wrong, but i dont believe that Rondout is a shelter. Does Ms. Sternberg claim this. curious. in my previous comments i failed to mention that the film makers should contact Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary in which is also upstate New York in Warwick. the Director/owner is Sara Whalen who also NEVER PUTS AN ANIMAL TO DEATH. last year i brought her two cats that were living on the streets in my neighborhood on Staten Island, and that i had trapped. one was very feral and the other almost dead, but SARA DID NOT GIVE UP ON EITHER OF THEM, nor did she do a 15 minute temperment test of these two frightend animals. she worked with them and the feral cat came around to trust her and the very sick one is doing well. it seeems that according to S.Sternberg's she would have killed them. maybe it's a good thing that Ms. Sternberg doesnt have say over the human population. but then again, there probably would be no problems about the planet being overpopulated in the future.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Caroline C   on 2004-01-27 19:22:19

Yes it is the right of every dog to have someone who thinks he is the greatest dog on earth ... it is a travesty that the last human face on this earth they saw was hers, while there are so many people in the United States, especially today who are working tirelessly each and every day to help these critters. Sue Sternberg is a selfish and opportunistic person who hides behind the fascade of being a benevoent individual.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by G   on 2004-01-27 19:33:03

This is incorrect information. Behavior problems can *NOT* be fixed, particularly aggression. Aggression can be managed, but that's all. If you would look at the methods used to 'fix' an aggressive dog, you would see that's all it is. A dog's personality can not be changed.

Do you have any idea how many dangerous dogs Best Friends has sent out? I doubt it. The same goes for Maddie's Fund. Also, it seems that you have many misconceptions about Sue Sternbergs temperment test (Assess-a-Pet).

The review here is not terribly inaccurate, however the author also has misconceptions about the temperment test. I would suggest doing research on websites that are not anti-sue (and therefore not filled with corrupted propaganda).

Also, Rondout Valley Kennels is indeed an Animal Shelter, in addition to being host to several classes that Sue Sternberg puts on.





Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by G   on 2004-01-27 19:55:24

I forgot to mention just one thing. Sue Sternberg does *NOT,* I repeat not, temperment test cats. Her temperment test is designed for dogs and dogs alone.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by L. Waddell (email) on 2004-01-27 22:11:10

I found the movie to be disturbing, to say the least. Dogs, as most animals, are complex enough in nature that a 15 minute "test" should not be the be all and end all in determining whether or not they live or die. And the few dogs that are shown being surrendered by their owners probably could have been saved with training and behavior modification. Aggression in most dogs is a LEARNED behavior, and CAN be undone, 90% of behavior issues stem from handler error, not the inherent genetic makeup of the animal.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by R.L.   on 2004-01-27 23:00:39

L. Waddell, you seem to forget much of dog breeding history, which involves the manipulation of behaviors including aggression. For instance, post-WW II (you are probably too young to remember that) dobermans made a transition from military duty to a life of family companion. Initially, there were problems since this breed stock was crafted to have greater than average aggression. It took some ten years of controlled breeding to resolve this problem.

As for the film, I am thought it was great. I do not want my grandchildren or their children to be victims of an aggressive dog. Why take the chance when we have so many surplus dogs in our shelters. I am afraid that the Best Friends model appears great in isolation and on paper, but is unworkable in a nationwide approach. The only solutions I see are forced sterilization of dogs, tightly controlled breeding, or euthanasia. Whatever the solution, public safety needs to be central to the solution. I have seen too many children mauled. Kelly Bollen's work has shown that the 15 minute test does work to predict the tendency toward aggression when a dog is placed.

As for "handler error" we as trainer need to always remember that our correction are rarely easily passed between handlers. It is easy to get excited by "curing" of tough dog, only to have the innate behaviors of that dog resurface when placed. I don't know where you live and work, but most placement oppertunity where I work are families with small children or who will have small children in a few years. A dangerous mix.

Lastly, you must not forget looking at this film that shelters are stressed far beyond most rescuers in term of the volume of dogs they need to handle in a given day. It is not always possible to rescue every dog... choices need to be made, which is what Sue is doing. I might make different decisions that her, but I respect her. I am also glad that this film was made so the issues can finally see the light of day in the public eye.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Debbie (email, web) on 2004-01-28 00:17:18

First of all, the people making the comments on agression can NOT be changed or fixed or why bother with some dogs when there are so many in the US. Try working at a shelter firstly, try being someone who has to put a needle in innocent dogs because of lack of space and living in a more rural community. Try wishing that you had more space or resources to save more dogs due to the public lack of caring. Then post things about the situation. Sue Sternberg makes this about "her", "her" feelings, not the dogs, nor the "true" problems. That cocker spaniel was brought in by the owner and it was said the dog was passed from home to home for 2 plus years, tied out, etc. So lets see, lets give this dog a pig ear, something this dog has probably never had in his entire life and lets torment him with the plastic hand UNTIL he bites. At first it was a growl, which is something workable, buy hey lets keep poking him with it to piss him off til he bites, and then Sue can deem herself RIGHT. How pathetic can you get?? Yet chicken nuggets - the dog sat for those for her at the vets office prior to his death and didn't seem to take them from her in an agressive manner, now did he? Evaluating a dog when they first come into a shelter is ridiculous. That should be done a couple days after the dog has gotten their bearings. Any dog, even my own when I bring them to work get scared, there are loud noises, smells, how can any dog relax in the first 15 minutes?? Give me a break!!! To say agression cannot be fixed, means its to difficult for that person to bother. Agression is often from the lack of care a dog has received prior, something that it fears, etc. There are those dogs that are just plain agressive with no reason behind it, but the dogs I saw on the show tonight - I didn't see it. Coming from someone who has a job that includes euthanizing animals, its something I take a little bit more serious than someone like Sue, maybe because I'm not trying to be on a power trip and play god. Its so easy to place each animal that doesn't have any flaws, anyone could do that. Sue doesn't have what it takes to be a dog behaviorialist as that would entail learning about each dog and then properly accessing the dog, not meeting the dog and a few minutes later saying "I feel this dog is agressive". Is she a psychic now too? I've read both good posts and bad posts about her before tonight, but after seeing that HBO movie on her, I'd personally like to give her a lesson about how our shelter does it and although we still at this point have to euthanize, it should be based on TRUE temperment testing, not one persons urge to just kill everything that isn't perfection to them in the first few minutes. I could go on forever about this, but what difference would it really make. All I can do is go into work tomorrow and know that I'm trying to do a good job for the ANIMALS - not for myself!!!!!!!!!!!!





Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Jills (email) on 2004-01-28 00:39:04

How irresponsible that a program on shelter dogs mentions NOTHING about spay/neuter, NOTHING about the popular attitude of disposable pet store dogs, NOTHING about educated, responsible dog ownership... SHAME on the filmmaker AND on Sternberg!
ow sad for the dogs at Rondout that a sick, overly stimulated cocker is PTS without regard to even the temperament test, it was quite obvious that Sternberg's mind was made up before the poor dog even had a fair shake. It's not hard to provoke aggression in even the nicest dog if they are sick and in pain which that cocker obviously was. How irresponsible and how genuinely DISGUSTING.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Lisa (email) on 2004-01-28 08:46:24

I was SO looking forward to this film when I first heard about it. Finally, a look inside the cold hard facts of shelter life, I thought. Exposure of the ugly truth that animals have to die because of humans need to keep overpopulating the world with animals and not giving them (the dogs nor the owners) the care and training they need. As a shelter volunteer and animal welfare group member, I was shocked at what I saw. I'd heard rumblings of Anti-Sue Sternberg talk just previous to seeing the film. But I gave it a chance to speak for itself. Boy, did it ever!
Our minds were open and non-judgemental until that Cocker Spaniel episode!! How cruel and heartless can one person be?? I agree with Deb; what? Is Sue psychic? It was OBVIOUS that she was determined to prove herself right to overcome her staffs objections. The great and powerful Oz!? My husband and I noticed all the same things: how tolerant the dog was of grooming, having it's teeth checked, how it did NOT bite at the hand in it's food bowl, how she had to repeatedly torment the dog with the hand when the dog had the pig ear, and how gently and calm the dog was eating out of her hand as it waited to be killed at the Vets. Did no one else notice the 'look' the VEt gave the camera during this euthanasia? The comments and his glance made it clear he thought this was a mistake.
Let me hasten to add one more thing to this whole debate....NOT EVERYONE HAS CHILDREN IN THEIR LIVES!!!! Mine never come into contact with any. Why should they suffer because of what harm they 'might' do to a kid?? I have no doubt there are many homes like ours where kids are not a factor and even dogs that are child aggressive can live happily. How about we start to raise our kids to leave pets alone when they are likely to bite?? and to treat them with the respect and kindness they deserve as fellow creatures on this earth not like toys or possessions?
We have recsued both small and large dogs that our shelter that staff were 'afraid of', and tho we are not experts, with some common sense and training.....and PRECAUTIONARY MEASURES they have been retrained and now live happily accepting that WE are the dominant pack leaders in the home. Coincidentally, one of our dogs is a shelter rescue cocker spaniel. I thought it was common knowledge that cocker's are a bit 'grouchy' and not good with kids. Altho our Cocker is completely submissive to us, she would have failed that 'temperment test' with flying colors, I'm sure. In summation, we are disgusted. We awoke early this morning still bothered by the whole thing. There could have been a perfect home for that cocker spaniel, I have no doubt. We would have taken her in a heartbeat. She would have been safe since we dont' 'agitate' our dogs or include children in our lives. Dogs dying because they 'might' encounter a child somewhere that they dislike or maybe tormented by, is twisted. One more way parents are casting off responsibliity for teaching their kids. (And I say that with experience having worked with kids in the past, both 'typical' and troubled )
BOO to Sue!




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by LPF (email) on 2004-01-28 11:53:56

In reference to the post by G
e: Shelter Dogs (2003) Added by G on 2004-01-27 19:33:03
****G states as follows:
This is incorrect information. Behavior problems can *NOT* be fixed, particularly aggression. Aggression can be managed, but that's all. If you would look at the methods used to 'fix' an aggressive dog, you would see that's all it is. A dog's personality can not be changed
***Please cite your sources and define your terms. Please cite your qualifications Thank you LPF****
.
***G further states:
Do you have any idea how many dangerous dogs Best Friends has sent out? I doubt it. The same goes for Maddie's Fund. Also, it seems that you have many misconceptions about Sue Sternbergs temperment test (Assess-a-Pet).
***Once more. Please enlighten me. Please cite your sources for the statement in reference to Best Friends. What are the statistics?. Source of said statistics? You appear not to know the difference between Maddie's Fund and Best Friends. Could you explain how "the same goes for Maddie's fund"? Best Friends is a sanctuary,. MaddiesFund is exactly what its name implies . It gives grants for worthwhile projects, like the Shelter Medicine Project at UC Davis.
Please clarify. What misconceptions have been offered about Sue Sternberg's Temperament Test?. Btw when was it subjected to a study to evaluate its predictive capability. Who did the study, their qualifications? Which peer reviewed journal was said study published in?
***************
The review here is not terribly inaccurate, however the author also has misconceptions about the temperment test. I would suggest doing research on websites that are not anti-sue (and therefore not filled with corrupted propaganda).

****On what grounds do you assert that the pro-sue web sites are not filled with corrupted propaganda? Here you employ rhetoric that is suggestive of such on your part.:-).
****
Also, Rondout Valley Kennels is indeed an Animal Shelter, in addition to being host to several classes that Sue Sternberg puts on.
****So the chain link & concret kennels show were at Rondout??? I fail to see how the factoid that classes are held at Rondout makes it an Animal Shelter? What do you mean by the term.
Thank you
LPF





Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Leeny   on 2004-01-28 12:48:10

The scene with Fred and the small child in mind justifys having Beau put down. The scene shows Fred the harmless doberman in the face of a child holding a piece of pizza. A not so good tempered dog could have done some damage. I am willling to err on the side of euthanizing too many questionable dogs to prevent risks to our children.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by K. Ann Armijo (email) on 2004-01-28 18:34:16

I could not believe my eyes!!

When Sue Sternberg was creating this "scene" to test that adorable cocker, I thought about what my grandmother (who raised Pekinese) always told me. "Do not bother dogs when they are eating." I found Sternberg's methods disturbing and her ego even more disturbing. I am relieved she does not have children. Also, she has seemed to convince her voluteers and the vet that she is a grand dame of canine behavior. Something telling in the piece, however, shows that she is not quite comfortable in her self-inflicted role as dispenser of execution. It is not a mystery why she goes home at night and wonders if perhaps her karma will be hell for her role in the euthanization animals for what she THINKS is "bad behavior." If the Cocker has anything to say about it, I am sure Ms. Sternberg will find herself where she seems to fear she is headed.

We have shelters here in the Bay Area and they are SHELTERS, not arbitrary places where people's egos run the show. Hooray for her staff -- and hopefully they will stick up for what they collectively seem to agree on: the definition of the word shelter is: providing protection.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by L. Waddell (email) on 2004-01-28 22:02:57

"L. Waddell, you seem to forget much of dog breeding history, which involves the manipulation of behaviors including aggression. For instance, post-WW II (you are probably too young to remember that) dobermans made a transition from military duty to a life of family companion. Initially, there were problems since this breed stock was crafted to have greater than average aggression. It took some ten years of controlled breeding to resolve this problem."

No, I certainly do not forget the problems of re-breeding certain lines to make them pet stock, but that is an issue hardly worth bringing to the debate since the majority of dogs that end up in shelters are not of pure breed, rather the mass of unfortunate shelter animals are a result of the ignorance of spaying and neutering, and the pet owners inability to seek help BEFORE the behavior becomes out of control. If Ms. Sternberg considers herself a behaviorist and trainer, they why are there no alternatives given to euthanasia? Are the only dogs acceptable for training are the ones that she considers to be of the right temperment? If so, then I along with many others would be out of business.
One of the above posters made a fine point, there has been NO clinical studies done to evaluate the merits of this particular test, therefore making it arbitrary at best. And herein lies the problem, what may be a dangerous dog according to Assess-A-Pet would be perfectly good animal to the rest of us.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by R.L.   on 2004-01-29 12:45:11

A few things:

- Kelly Bollen of the MSPCA has done such a study demonstrating the predictive value of the Sternberg method of temperment testing. You can keep denying, but it exists.

- Just because dogs are not pure breeds does not mean they are not being shape by selective breeding practices. Breeds are an artifical construct. If I take a population of dogs and selectively allow the aggessive one to reproduce, I will end up with a population of more aggressive mutts. Just how do you think breeds came into existence?

As such, I don't think you have a point, except to try to silence Sternberg and this film. I can accept you have a difference of opinion, but please don't insult me with not doing your homework.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Doris Sikora (email) on 2004-01-29 17:58:41

How could you even think this would inspire folks about shelter dogs....all it did for me, was make me sick to think you would put on this kind of show and with this so called guru of animals...she know nothing about dogs, that was very evident from the show....and what she did to that poor black cocker spainiel was disgusting...oh, right, and she bought him 5 chicken nuggets, before she had him killed...he was a sweet, sweet puppy, his tail was wagging all the time, of course until that woman (have much better and more honest names fro her, but won't insult myself) until she provoked him to the fullest, any dog would have come to the end of his chain (so to speak) with what she did over and over and over....she is not human, she is evil...and the truth be know about Cindy, who was already dead when this was made...How could you put this atosity on the air....SHAME ON YOU AND HOPEFULLY SS WILL BE PUT OUT OF BUSINESS....AND RIGHT, she can tell by looking at a dog that they are a bad dog, or she gets a feeling....well, take a look at her, she is the one would should have been PTS.....I do believe you have done an awful lot of injustice to the real and true animals folks out there, with airing this horrible show.....I wonder how she treats her staff and if they are still working for her...if they are, then they are in the same catagory as her......SAME ON YOU.....




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Authur S.   on 2004-01-29 18:58:15

I thought it was great. Regardless of what you thought of that cocker, it is getting us to all talk about issues. Isn't that what a documentary is all about?

We can hide from the issues by condemning the messenger, but that would be the most inhumane action to take.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by xxx   on 2004-01-29 19:00:15

The sheltering world needs to be shaken up! This documentary certainly does just that. 5 out 5 stars for me.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Shelter Mom   on 2004-01-30 10:24:21

As a shelter working for the last four years, I cried through this piece. The emotions and realities of the documentary have hit the mark perfectly.

It saddens me to see the spin doctors from the the SS Killing Machine trying to knock down this film. A bunch of rescue wackos who claim to value the lives of dogs, but in reality it is all about them isn't. They want to sleep well at night having "saved" the dogs. Their actions unfortunately while well intentioned are often disasterous for us all in animal welfare.

Doesn't anyone wonder why this film has the support of ASPCA, HSUS, Petfinder, etc... It is because it addresses some real issues within the field and does it a wonderful manner.

It is a new genre of shelter movie! Not the feel good about the staff fighting against the tide to stop pet overpopulation. Not the nasty expose of the dark dungeon of shelter. This is something new.

I cried, but I loved it. I could not stop thinking about it.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Valerie (email) on 2004-01-30 13:14:41

I found the film deeply disturbing on many levels. As several other insightful others here have pointed out, this film was truly one-sided and focused not on the dogs needing rescue but the unorthodox and arbitrary Sternberg.

The film was allegedly about the grim fate of abandoned and discarded dogs in the US, but ended up being about the egotistical Sternberg.

Her callous set up of the poor little black Cocker spaniel said it all - the woman did a lousy quicky intake eval, believing every word of the owner-abuser who brought the dog in sick and in pain, matted and starved, over common sense. The poor dog had been bounced to various homes over 2 years of his short life. He was not groomed, vetted or fed. Rather than blame the humans, she blamed and wrongly judged the poor little dog.

Then set him up after he exhibited no aggression, finally torturing him to get the reaction she wanted out of this dog. Conveniently, she had a video camera handy.

Bottomline - the film failed to accurately depict the grim reality facing the vast majority of shelters and the abandoned dogs dumped on overwhelmed workers. No mention of the ghastly manner some shelters use to kill pets, such as gassing. No mention of the good work done by breed rescues. No mention was made of spay/neuter programs and the necessity of S/N for most dogs and cats, there appeared to be no socializing the dogs who've been mistreated and dumped at Sternberg's, and no advocacy for the above noted major issues.

I found the film a total failure on those key points, as well as a failure in establishing Sternberg's claim of expertise. Beyond her own self-declaration of having an extra chromosome for dog loving [which I highly doubt given her callousness], the woman isn't any more qualified to determine a dog's temperament than any one else who's owned them for a long time.

This is what another reviewer wrote about, in part, about the film and Sternberg:

"Shelter Dogs" is more about Rondout Valley Animals for Adoption that is run by Sue Sternberg in upstate New York than it is about pet overpopulation. In fairness to HBO, the company does include a line in the marketing about the film that reads, "Through a unique window into an upstate New York shelter, this documentary takes a hard, bold look at a tough dilemma."

Unfortunately, presenting such a narrow perspective on an issue as large and complex as pet overpopulation risks missing a major part of the story, which is exactly what happened in this case. Sue Sternberg and Rondout Kennels appear to have but one solution to the problem - kill pets. There is virtually no talk in the film of the kennels spay/neuter policies. There is no talk of microchipping or other pet identification programs. There is no talk of possible legislative changes that could help. The film, in fact, leaves the viewer with the impression that there is only one choice shelters have, to take animals in and kill them.

The film clearly suggests that this is the point of view of Sternberg, which is probably one of the reasons she comes off as an emotional shell of a human being who is, perhaps, all too ready to end the life of a pet."

I couldn't agree more. Sternberg has become a zombie - she had zero emotional reaction to any of the dogs who ended up being PTS. After hand feeding the sweet little Cocker Spaniel some chicken nuggets, she calmly and emotionlessly handed him up to be killed.

I was appalled, sickened and angered.

I've done rescue myself for several years and have met truly dangerous dogs. Sternberg in the film didn't meet that sort of dog, though she was all too quick to label a Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier 'the most dangerous dog I've ever seen', when he bared his teeth and snapped over his food bowl. There was not a single word about behavior modification, training or limiting humans bothering this dog while he ate. such as putting him in a crate. No, she instantly strung him up, seemed to enjoy doing it, and issued the death sentence.

She's got serious mental problems if you ask me.







Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Makes you think   on 2004-01-30 14:27:32

An interesting quote from another message board.

> Now that I have gotten beyond the initial emotions (Jack, I
> know you cried too, so do not even think of given me that
> --I have a Potty Mouth--) of seeing the Shelter Dogs documentary, I have begun to
> wonder if maybe we have gotten it all wrong. Maybe those
> execs at HBO were just a little smarter than I gave them
> credit - although smart tv execs is an oxymoron in my book.
> We should not be fighting this documentary, we should be
> advocating for it in the rescue community.
>
> I have rewatched it a number of times on tape, and I am
> having a hard time believing that this was intended a fluff
> PR piece for Sternberg. Call me crazy, but I am of the ever
> growing belief that the Beau scene was edited to be open to
> interpretation. Why else would it linger on her poking that
> poor dog? Indeed, the whole film is strangely uncommitted on
> what to do about the issues, unless you begin to understand
> it as a piece purposely constructed to raise a ruckus in the
> animal welfare community for or against temperament testing.
> That ruckus can absolutely play to our advantage!
>
> As far as I am concerned, we need to stop writing HBO and
> complaining, and start thanking them for doing such a good job.



It is very interesting that those most against the film are reacting to the main character rather than the film itself. Maybe we have misunderstood this movie as being black and white. I need to think about it.





Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by LPF (email) on 2004-01-30 16:15:42

With regard to RL's reply to my request for references: Where can I find the study by Kelly Bolen? Since you know about this study, please direct me to it in bibliographic style, listing
author, title, publication, date and place, etc.
You seem to imply that it is difficult to find. Why?




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Flavia Pontez (email) on 2004-01-30 17:08:14

I'm convinced that we wouldn't be having this argument if the film had been about spay/neuter. That's an easy film to make, and it's been done a million times. No, HBO went after a controversial person. They showed her to be kind and they showed her to be cruel. They did that deliberately.

A lot of people in the rescue community are disheartened that an entire hour+ in primetime could be given over to The-World-According-To-Sternberg, but you have to admit, HBO is getting a lot of attention. They got lots of press. Lots of people tuned in. Isn't that what HBO is about?




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by R.L.   on 2004-01-30 17:09:58

Ms. Bollen has been presenting his data firsthand all across the country starting with a lecture at the APDT confernence last year. He work covers some two years of data with more than 2000 dogs being part of the dataset used. She is in the process of getting her work published in a formal journal.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Debbie (email) on 2004-01-30 18:05:45

Your comment below is ridiculous! Did you see Beau lunging at Sue for a chicken nugget? No, I think not. He sat very nicely for her and took the food gently from her. TO compare Fred to Beau is silly. If Fred were given a pig ear possibly something he hasn't ever had in his life and then was tormented with a plastic hand - how much time do you spose elapsed between the time she gave it to him and the time he finally bit? I'm sorry but if you could not see how she tormented him to get him to bite to prove herself right, then you are blind as a bat!! Your comment below - should be re-thought by you!
Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Leeny on 2004-01-28 12:48:10

The scene with Fred and the small child in mind justifys having Beau put down. The scene shows Fred the harmless doberman in the face of a child holding a piece of pizza. A not so good tempered dog could have done some damage. I am willling to err on the side of euthanizing too many questionable dogs to prevent risks to our children.








Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by L. Waddell (email) on 2004-01-31 01:21:44

Kelly Bollen of the MSPCA has done such a study demonstrating the predictive value of the Sternberg method of temperment testing. You can keep denying, but it exists.

Yes, an EMPIRICAL study, I'd be more than happy to explain the difference.






Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Laura (email) on 2004-01-31 09:15:36

The only thing more frightening than serial dog-killer Sue Sternberg herself is her brain-dead army of Good Little Soldiers who blindly follow the self-described "doggy Hitler" on her psychotic mission to manipulate America's canine gene pool until there are none left weighing more than 35 pounds and can safely be owned by the Average (uneducated) Joe. To learn more about Sue Sternberg's Final Solution, join: StopThe_SS_KillingMachine-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Jared Cohen (email) on 2004-01-31 10:11:45

"None left weighing more than 35 pounds"?

In the movie, Sternberg kept a large doberman with a medical condition alive and she euthanized a small cocker spaniel. That clearly flies in the face of the accusation above.

Furthermore, any group belonging to a Yahoo list called "Stop the SS Killing Machine" (which, as a Jew, I find highly offensive) is obviously a hateful collection of crazy people. Your description above of "Brain dead army of Good Little Soldiers" on a "psychotic mission" fits the bill of this group pretty well.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Leeny   on 2004-01-31 10:36:01

The comment about Beau and the chicken McNuggets shows a lack of knowledge about resource guarding in dogs. Dogs will only resource guard that which is in their possession. In the chicken mcnuggets scene, Sue is holding the food not Beau.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by RL   on 2004-01-31 10:46:12

Waddell, Bollen's study was scientific with a hypothesis, controls, a test group, and a control group. I have worked in a lab situtation. And yeah, it involved empirical methods... I agree with you on that. I find it odd that you are arguing the details of a study that you have heard the result and methods in detail. You are make a bunch of assumption and arguing from there. You are the one who failing to meet the criteria of scientific discource.

BTW, your next step has to be to do a rigorous study with adequate sample size and formal review to refute Bollen's finding if you can.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Jills (email) on 2004-02-05 21:48:41

Perhaps you missed that Sterberg calls herself Hitler. If I had to guess I would say the whole "SS Killing Maching" thing came out of that.

IMHO, I have a very well bred, docile, mellow, take life as it comes Bernese Mountain Dog. If he were laying on the couch and I poked him as violently and obsessively as Sternberg poked that little Cocker, I'd think there was something wrong with him if he didn't bite the plastic hand.
I think the person who brought up the point that we're looking at this all wrong is correct. Perhaps HBO meant to expose Sternberg as an egotistical, sadistic, lunatic. That's sure how she came across to me... Perhaps the idea was to get people to do their own research and come up with more humane solutions than allowing a self described Hitler wannabe the run of unwanted dogs...

Jills




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by Renee (email) on 2004-02-16 09:18:05

Having seen Shelter Dogs on HBO, I was entralled by Sue Sternberg & her seemingly saintly attitide towards shelter dogs. Basically, I was as taken in as thousands of others.

However, I went one extra step. I researched Sue Sternberg and found that she is a eno-manic who has let her greed come before her good-intentions.

Given what her ex-employess have written & what many, many people who have attended her seminars have said, I have come to the undeniable conclusion that Sue Sternberg is stained red with the blood of hundreds of innocent dogs she has murdered.

If you doubt what I write, take a good look around the internet & you will read many disturbing facts about Sue Sternberg & Rondout Valley Shelter.

She likes to nickname herself Hitler, but she is so much worse than him. At least he never pretended to be anything other than what he was...a rithless monster. Sue Sternberg parades herself around as some dog-saint. What she really is a cold-blooded murderer who needs to finally br accountable for her senseless crimes...or at the very least...stopped.




Re: Shelter Dogs (2003)
Added by John Ulmer (email) on 2004-02-25 15:34:16

I just want to say...

Wow, lotta comments.




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