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The Boston Globe



The good, the bad, and the biters

It’s high time that behavior screening joins the requirements for rescued dogs put up for adoption in Massachusetts.

I’VE HAD 20 FOSTER DOGS in my New Jersey home since late 2010. All arrived via a modern-day underground railroad that has brought hundreds of thousands of dogs to Northeast homes from Southern shelters over the past few decades — and that has exploded in scope since the mid-2000s. The facilities where these dogs originate can be horrific, some with gas chambers and kill rates higher than 90 percent. The rescuers down South work with rescuers up here, who then turn to people like me to foster or adopt the dogs.

Most of my fosters were healthy and happy, as promised. A few supposedly healthy puppies showed up with everything from diarrhea-inducing coccidia to mange. And one, an adult retriever mix named Sara, said to be ultra-sociable, attacked my dog and bit me five times.

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