my boss’s dog keeps attacking my coworkers

A reader writes:

I work for a small nonprofit in a city where many offices allow dogs. The organization I work for is still run by its founders, and they have maintained nearly full control of all operations since the organization’s inception. In other words, the place is pretty dysfunctional.

The co-founders adopted an abused dog who has serious behavior problems. When they tried to leave him at home, he ended up destroying their furniture, so now they bring him to work.

Normally I love dogs, but this one is not my favorite. For one, he has horrible gas, which infuses the office with a rank stench that has made me vomit. More seriously, he bites people. He bit my coworker badly enough that she had to go to the ER. The two co-founders paid for her medical bills, but still bring in the dog. He has bitten two other coworkers — seriously enough to break the skin, but not enough to require medical attention. The dog hasn’t bitten me, but has snapped at me when I go into the CEO’s office, and I am terrified of him. We don’t have a dedicated HR function, and the person responsible does whatever the co-founders tell him to do.

Whenever I see this dog, I react fearfully, which infuriates the two co-founders, as if I were personally insulting them. I also feel like I should be able to go to a job that has nothing to do with pets without fear of getting bitten by a dog — we are not a dog rescue or humane society. What should I do?

I answer this question over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

{ 281 comments… read them below }

  1. tink*

    I really need to know if there was ever an update for this one, because I’d love to know what ended up happening.

      1. tink*

        Strongly agree. I’m already skittish around dogs because of a neighbor’s dogs when I was a child. If I had to work in an environment like that I don’t think I’d be able to function through my anxiety.

      2. Fiennes*

        Agreed. I am a big advocate of dog-friendly offices–but that perk requires serious responsibility from the dog owners who take advantage of it. This poor animal needed in-depth behavioral help; I hope he got it. And I hope the OP either got a new job or a saner boss!

      3. Specialk9*

        I called animal control on the off-leash dog that attacked my dogs, through my legs, when pregnant.

    1. EddieSherbert*

      I was just thinking this – wonder if there was ever an update? What an awful situation.

    2. Kyrielle*

      I don’t think there ever was. There were some clarifying comments from the OP on the original post, which IMO just make the situation sound worse, but I don’t think we got an update.

    3. Shay Simmons*

      The update should be “after we reported the third bite, the county animal control office impounded the dog and it is now pending a judge’s decision on whether it must be destroyed.”

      Before anyone hollers – I love dogs, I’ve always owned a dog, but we had a rescue dog that was a sweetheart to us and Godzilla to anyone else. We immediately enrolled him in training and things looked good; for a while. After the second time he attacked a neighbor, though, we had to have him put down. He had been too badly damaged by his previous owners and a 90-lb German Shepherd with no impulse control is a ticking bomb.

  2. Lady Phoenix*

    It is nice for people to take for dogs ho have been abused…

    Until the owners turn out to benineffectual, negligent, or just as abusive. Taking care of these dogs requires far more time and effort, which is NOT for people with full time jobs.

    Thenpoor dog needs to be rehomed with better pwners and you need to find a new job.

    And this is one of those cases where Inwould leave and never come back, even without a job in line, because you have a hazard that can kill you at any time.

    1. Amber T*

      If you are going to rehabilitate an abused dog, then you need to REHABILITATE the damn dog! These people may have started out with good intentions, but they are going to do so much damage in the long run… to people (THREE BITE VICTIMS?? ARE YOU KIDDING ME) and to that poor dog, who at this point is going to bite someone else and will probably end up being put down. Not to mention the owners are probably going to be sued, if the dog bites someone on company property, the business might be sued…

      OP, these people sound like unreasonable jerks, and it might be the only thing that’ll work is to leave.

      This also sucks because dogs can be rehabilitated! You just need to put in the time and effort, and this crap is just fodder for people who hate rescue dogs.

      1. Keyboard Cowboy*

        FOR SERIOUS.

        Chews up furniture at home is indicative of dog not being exercised enough, mentally or physically or both.

        Horrible gas is indicative of cheap food or failure to diagnose food allergy.

        And allowing your dog to bite people – that is, not noticing any signs leading up and not using a muzzle to prevent bites when it’s a risk – is asking for the city to order your dog be destroyed.

        This makes me so sad. That poor dog deserves way better. I am bummed to hear of a dog being “rescued” into that kind of uncaring home.

        1. Ellen N.*

          I agree with you about destructiveness and aggression. However, flatulence can be because of the dog’s breed. We’ve had three English bulldogs and man are they gassy.

          1. GreyjoyGardens*

            LOL, my neighbor has a couple of French bulldogs and he says they are “adorable little fart machines!” It’s true that for many dogs, a bad diet or food allergies cause gas, but in the case of bulldogs at least – they’re born farty!

            I’m reminded of one of James Herriot’s books where his patient is a flatulent Boxer belonging to a very refined aristocratic lady. (Happy ending for dog and owner.)

        2. DogLover*

          I had a dog that chewed things up and was very destructive. She had also been previously abused. She was taken for short walks in the morning and 3-5 mile walks in the afternoon. She loved our other 2 dogs and played with them a lot. We had 2 acres and played with her all the time. It was not mental or physical boredom–it was straight up anxiety. These behaviors decreased over time, especially as she learned to trust us and realized we weren’t going to leave her like the previous 2 owners had.

          Horrible gas can be due to diet–but finding out what the culprit is takes a long time to pinpoint. Dogs with sensitive stomachs need to be switched to new foods very slowly, and then you need to give the new diet time to see if it is working. It also does not help a dog to be switching his or her food all the time and it can really take a long time to find the right food and/or supplements. For example, allergy food trials for dogs is a 6-9 month process where the dog gets nothing off plan during the elimination period… so gas COULD be neglect on the part of the owners, they could be in the process of addressing it, or it could simply be a gassy dog.

          Some dogs, particularly ones who have been abused and/or been used for dog fights do not have “tells” before they bite. And people often unknowingly address those tells the exact wrong way. Many owners mistakenly reprimand their dogs for warning behaviors like growling or showing their lip. Unfortunately, the dog learns they are not allowed to warn and becomes far more likely to bite. This is a complex situation and we do not have nearly enough information to determine that the owners are mistreating the dog in any way. We have zero information to both the history of the dog and the type of abuse the dog endured–dog fighting?neglect? physical abuse?. We have zero information that they have or have not tried a muzzle or if the dog was leashed when the bites occurred or if food was involved and frankly, none of it is even relevant because we do have more than enough information to determine that these people are terrible bosses and providing an unsafe work environment for their employees.

          1. TootsNYC*

            And people often unknowingly address those tells the exact wrong way. Many owners mistakenly reprimand their dogs for warning behaviors like growling or showing their lip. Unfortunately, the dog learns they are not allowed to warn and becomes far more likely to bite.

            This is fascinating. And it makes so much sense.

      2. Specialk9*

        3 bites, in just a recent timeframe, plus consistent aggressive behavior… I think this dog really should be put down. Which stinks, it’s the humans who screwed up.

        1. Aaron*

          I agree with this, the dog sounds like a menace. I’d be terrified to work in that office, and several people have been hurt already. This isn’t a “poor dog,” it’s a dangerous, violent animal and it’s hard for me to have sympathy for it or its owners when it’s actually hurting human beings. If I worked in that office I’d probably call animal control myself.

    2. TheCupcakeCounter*

      Agree. My BIL’s ex-girlfriend adopted an abused rescue that had been a bait dog for fights. The rescue center did their due diligence but SHE LIED TO THEM. She knew the dog was scheduled to be put down after unsuccessfully fostering and decided that she could help. She told the rescue center that she lived alone (lie), had no other pets (lie), and a few other things. They did a home inspection when my BIL was on a business trip and she had hidden a lot of his stuff and had her sister watch the cat for a few days.
      Well it didn’t go well once the dog moved in and my BIL and the cat returned home. The dog tried to kill the cat almost immediately and my BIL was bitten very severely on the hand trying to restrain the dog. They got into a big argument about giving the dog back (she wanted to keep the dog) which culminated in my BIL threatening to leave and take the cat. She eventually gave in but not until the dog cause major destruction to the apartment. They also got in trouble with the landlord and were evicted because pit bulls were not allowed at this complex.
      He really should have followed through with his threat…would have saved several years of drama and lots of $$.

      For the record my sister has a pit mix who is an absolute doll so I have nothing against pits. The bigger issue with this dog was the abuse and fight training than the breed.

      1. Lehigh*

        These kinds of stories make me feel so ragey. Obviously the life of a vicious animal is more important than the life of the non-vicious animal already in her care (not to mention the boyfriend’s health).

        She sounds like a real piece of work.

        1. GreyjoyGardens*

          She does! I’m glad to hear she’s an ex!

          I love animals but people like this go way, way too far. (And that poor cat, and poor boyfriend. I’m a cat person so naturally I’m sympathetic to them!)

      2. Amber T*

        I HATE breed restrictions for the sake of breed restrictions, but wow, that ex-gf sounds awful. There’s a reason the rescue center said that dog needed to live alone, without other animals and without (I’m assuming) a male.

      3. Annie Moose*


        I volunteer at a county animal shelter and we get a lot of pit mixes of questionable heritage. And the simple reality is that when they’ve been mistreated and used for fighting, they can have really high prey drives (which is why they’ll go after cats and other animals). When a shelter says no cats, no children, etc., BELIEVE THEM.

        It’s dangerous to your other pets, yourself, AND the dog to put them in a situation that you’ve been warned they can’t handle. I totally empathize with the desire to save an animal from being put down, but you need to be realistic about whether or not you are truly capable of caring for an animal with known issues. Unless you have experience in the area, you probably aren’t. (I definitely am not.)

        (like you, I also want to emphasize that this is a result of abuse, not a specific breed–pit bulls are ordinarily ridiculously social dogs who love people! Very high energy–too high energy for me–but soooo friendly.)

        1. tangerineRose*

          “When a shelter says no cats, no children, etc., BELIEVE THEM.” This!!!

      4. SusanIvanova*

        This is why my pre-chosen answer to any hypothetical “it’s me or the pet” is “start packing.”

        1. Pebbles*

          Been there, said (nearly) that. Boyfriend objected to the cat, I said “she lives here, you don’t.” Boyfriend changed his mind and decided to stick around awhile longer. Later we broke up for other reasons and I found someone who was more compatible with my kitty.

        2. Specialk9*

          My dog-allergic partner has never objected to my two dogs, who pre-dated him by a decade. He takes a pill every day. He drove my more sheddy dog, right after a huge blizzard, an hour+ to get to the emergency vet, and cradled her carefully when she couldn’t walk. He cried with me when she had to be put down. He’s a real keeper.

      5. JS*

        While she was clearly not equipped to take the dog I do not blame her for taking it, even lying to do so. The dog was scheduled to be put down. I would have tried to do something myself as well (likely adopt him so I could then promptly take him to a non-kill shelter).

        1. Annie Moose*

          The reason no-kill shelters can be no-kill is generally because they turn away animals. There is no guarantee that a no-kill shelter would accept the dog, and then what are you going to do with it? What if something happens before you get to the no-kill shelter and you end up unexpectedly having to care for this dog for longer than intended?

          I sympathize with you, but DO NOT adopt an animal that you are not prepared to care for long-term.

          1. JS*

            Good thing there is more than one no-kill shelter and good thing there are a lot of no-kill shelters especially designed to take pits who have been abused. A little research can go along way.

        2. Jadelyn*

          If you really think the girlfriend was in the right here, please do everyone a favor and don’t go to any animal shelters, ever, lest you wind up doing something stupid like this and actually getting someone hurt.

          No-kill shelters are not animal warehouses where you can just take any animal, regardless of condition, and leave it with them. What happens when you lie to the rescue about your situation in order to take a dangerous animal in need of severe behavioral work home with you, go to the no-kill shelter, and get told “Sorry, we’re at capacity/sorry, we don’t have the resources to take in a non-adoptable animal right now”? Take the dangerous animal home to your family and pets and endanger them, like this person did?

          Look. We all hate it when animals have to be put down, especially when it happens because of something crappy humans did to them (like former fighting dogs who are too dangerous to be rehomed, dogs who maul someone because their owner trained them to be aggressive, etc.) – that’s never the ideal outcome. But it can’t always be avoided, either. And letting your compassion overwhelm your sense and judgment, potentially endangering other people and animals, is not a positive thing to do.

          1. JS*

            Good thing there is more than one shelter and shelters designed to rehabilitate dogs, especially breeds like Pits that are commonly abused.

            1. Perse's Mom*

              Those rescues and shelters generally work *with* local open admission shelters specifically to help out. They may even have certain criteria they’ve outlined with the open shelters (no X or Y aggression). They get called, they go in evaluate the dog, and they decide if they can take it.

              They don’t need people in the middle trying to “help” but actually making things harder for everyone involved.

              1. JS*

                There’s many rescues, especially breed specific, that will fly in dogs from other areas in order to rehabilitate. So great if local shelters are working local, but there are other options if you know where to look and what to do.

            2. INTP*

              You could always share the information you have with both the kill shelter and the breed rescue/no-kill shelter, so they can see if something can be worked out. Shelters aren’t killing animals for fun and if there’s a viable alternative, I’m sure they’ll take it. They don’t need third parties deciding they know what’s best and putting many animals and humans in danger in the process.

              1. JS*

                If you know what to do and do the research its not dangerous. Many shelters are overfilled, overworked and underpaid. They aren’t going the extra mile. Some do, some don’t. If you know how to handle rescue dogs and can get the dog into a better facility, then you should do so. If you don’t feel as you are equipped and doing it on a whim, don’t. Its really just that simple.

                1. Jojobean*

                  I think the issue is that while it sounds like you know what you’re doing in these circumstances (and that’s great!), it really sounds like the gf in the story above does not, and therefore was doing more harm than good in her ill-advised Quixotic crusade.

        3. Lindsay J*

          The reality of it is that there are dogs being put to sleep all over the country, every day.

          And some of them are perfectly nice, healthy animals.

          We can’t save every single one. So why not dedicate resources to the ones that are healthy, well behaved, and able to be rehomed easily rather than ones with major behavior problems?

          Heck, I’m sure there was probably a dog at the shelter that, while not perfect, was probably more suited to the SIL’s environment than that one was. She could have adopted that one, and that would have freed up space so another dog might not have needed to be put to sleep.

          1. Lindsay J*

            Also, spay and neuter your pets, and don’t support backyard breeders or puppy mills.

          2. tangerineRose*

            “So why not dedicate resources to the ones that are healthy, well behaved, and able to be rehomed easily” I was going to post something like this, but you said it better. I feel sadder about the healthy nice animals that are put to sleep because there is no home for them than for the dangerous animals.

          3. JS*

            I don’t like the idea of “there is so many people, things, etc suffering so why chose A when you can chose B argument”. You cant save everyone or thing but you can do what you can with those you do help, thats the point. She didnt go about it in the right way with this dog but there are other ways/resources.

        4. Kate 2*

          From what I’ve read from animal activists, no-kill shelters can be bad because if the animal never gets adopted, they will just keep it, for as long as it lives. In a (large) cage, in a shelter, with no family/owner, getting walked once a day or so, until it dies of old age. And in the meantime the shelter has to turn away animals that might get adopted/be more adoptable.

          No-kill vs kill shelters, it isn’t really that clear cut.

          1. JS*

            That’s why its good to do research. There is more than one shelter available and plenty of shelters dedicated to rehabilitating pits.

            1. Perse's Mom*

              There really are NOT, though. These rescues exist, but they don’t have unlimited anything. They have limited funding, limited time, limited fosters, limited kennel space, limited volunteers, and possibly most important, limited *adopters.* You have good intentions, but these sorts of shenanigans make things harder, not better.

              1. JS*

                You can google the amount of Pit rescue shelters there are, there are many. No one said they had unlimited anything, shelters all around have limited resources. Many however have programs and fly in dogs from other areas. I have worked with shar pei rescue centers. This isn’t my first rodeo. Thanks.

          2. Wendy Darling*

            Good no-kill shelters screen the animals they take in and don’t take animals that aren’t adoptable.

            I used to volunteer at a not-so-great no-kill shelter and while they meant well, they made some bad choices. At the time I volunteered there they had two permanent-resident dogs that were very aggressive and could only be handled by one volunteer — they’d try to bite anyone else. This one volunteer, while positively saintly, had a spouse and children and pets, so she couldn’t adopt the two bitey dogs.

            At the time I volunteered there these two dogs had been there 4+ years, and I volunteered there over a 4-year period. They did not get adopted. They were never getting adopted. They bit multiple foolish visitors who ignored the signs and stuck their hands into their enclosures. And it’s not even like the poor dogs were happy. They were miserable. They had really nice indoor-outdoor pens… because only one person could handle them so they only got walked on days she volunteered when there weren’t many people around. Mostly they hung out in a cage, like zoo animals, and growled at things. And the reason they were so aggressive is that they were afraid. They felt threatened by everyone, all the time, to the point that they thought they needed to defend themselves physically. So they lived for 8+ years scared in cages.

            If someone had said two years in “this is sad and ridiculous, these dogs have zero quality of life and are never getting adopted because they’re dangerous, let’s just put them to sleep,” how many other dogs could that shelter have accommodated in the next 6+ years? Most dogs were only there for a couple months. There could have been so many other dogs using that space/time/money/effort.

            1. Specialk9*

              This is an excellent point. I have strong nurturing and compassionate instincts. I adopted both my dogs because they were the most pathetic. And they’ve been such good dogs. And sometimes the kind thing is to realize that it’s not their fault, but they can’t have good quality of life and they don’t have good options.

            2. Bionerd*


              It isn’t always kind to keep an animal alive just for the sake of it being alive. Not when it can’t possibly understand why it is suffering, and with so small a chance for it to get better.

            3. JS*

              Sounds like you worked at a regular shelter and not a breed specific rescue shelter which is what those dogs needed and where they should have gone. It seems like the real issue wasn’t that they weren’t able to be rehabilitated its that they weren’t getting the attention/training needed to be rehabilitated. The shelter, although no kill, was not equipped to handle dogs with aggression issues. They got bare minimum attention since only one person who was a volunteer could handle and not all volunteers are going to have the skills to handle dogs with aggression.

              This doesn’t equal, lets kill these dogs because we aren’t equipped to give them the quality of life they deserve, thats illogical.

        5. Really though*

          Would you then lie to the no-kill shelter if they asked if the dog was aggressive? And let’s be real, they probably would and it might well be a deal-breaker if you said yes, because no-kill shelters have limited resources, and no amount of saying “Nuh-uh they don’t” will make that untrue.

          If anything, your idea is worse than the SIL’s. At least she actually wanted to adopt the dog, she wasn’t acting as some misguided vigilante shelter broker.

          1. JS*

            There are shelters specially designed to take in aggressive dogs, especially abused Pits. I don’t know why you would take an aggressive dog to a shelter, any shelter, that could not handle them. You are assuming too much.

            1. aebhel*

              Dude, you’re the one who said you’d lie in order to adopt an aggressive dog, so the question really isn’t that far out of left field.

              1. JS*

                I said I would lie to save it I didn’t say that I would recklessly endanger others by dropping it off just anywhere. Why go through the effort of saving it to dump it off just anywhere? Thats illogical.

            2. Relevant experience!*

              I work at a pit bull rescue and yes, we rehab some pits. Others we simply cannot take: because they are too aggressive, because the prognosis for rehabilitation is low, or simply because we are out of room. Rehab takes a lot of time and resources, and turnover is very slow because it takes a long time to rehab an aggressive dog, and so we have to keep our numbers low. The same is true of the reputable rescules in my area; most of them are near or at capacity, and are very selective about the dogs they take. And they will want to know where you got the dog from, too, so they can retrain appropriate to the background.

              So I will tell you that the truth is that many ‘breed-specific rescues’ that do ‘rehabilitation’ are, in fact, hoarders attempting to maintain a very thin veneer of respectability by calling themselves ‘rescues.’ If you take a dog becasue you figure you’ll find some rescue somewhere that will handle that dog, chances are not bad that you’ll hand them off to a hoarder… where they’ll still live a shortened lifespan, one made further miserable by hunger and disease.

              A lot of people with soft hearts do exactly what you say you’re going to do and end up handing the dog off to a hoarder, knowingly or unknowingly. It does not end well for the dog.

              1. JS*

                Ive worked with Shar pei rescues and breeders so I’m speaking from experience. I’ve turned my own former aggressive Shar pei into a cuddle bug. I know the resources and where to take them for what they need. I stand by my original statement. I don’t blame the SIL for wanting to do something and lying to save the dog, I blame her for not going about it the right way or being equipped to do so herself.

                1. Relevant experience!*

                  I’m a little astonished that you think that people should lie to turn dogs over to rescues, because the last thing any reputable rescue needs is to work with people who lie about what they intend to do with dogs, but I’m glad your dog is happy.

                2. JS*

                  I side-eye rescues as “reputable” who would kill dogs just because they are hard to deal with and wouldn’t find another rescue more equipped to take care of the dog or at least have a behaviorist make the judgement call.

                  I don’t think lying is bad in these situations and if you know how to handle aggressive dogs and want to give them a real chance at rehabilitation, I’m astonished anyone would have a problem with that.

        6. Dove*

          I do blame her, honestly. Because the warnings the shelter gave (“no other animals, especially not smaller ones, no men, no children”) were there for a very good reason, and rehabbing a dog who has been through abuse like that is *extremely* difficult even if you’re equipped to do it.

          The reason why a lot of dogs rescued from situations like that are often put down isn’t because they’re unlovable or because no one wants to help them. It’s because sometimes, the damage is just too much and there’s no way to help the dog recover that won’t result in someone getting hurt. This is, in my eyes, no different than her having adopted a dog that she knew had massive, expensive health problems…and then refusing to pay the money necessary to keep the dog healthy; the dog suffers, and doesn’t know why.

          Turning around and dumping the dog on a no-kill shelter (if there’s even one that would take him!) isn’t a kindness to either the dog or the shelter. They now have one less space for animals who would be a little easier to rehome, and they have to try and either figure out how to rehab a severely abused dog who can’t tolerate being near other animals or they have to find a home that can do the same. All while trying to balance keeping the staff and other animals safe.
          Best case, this works out how you’re hoping and the dog gets given to a foster home that’s experienced with rehabbing abused dogs and recovers enough to be safe to adopt out…as long as he’s an only dog, and there’s no animals smaller than him in the house, and there aren’t any men around.
          Worst case, the no-kill shelter either refuses to take him in or decides that he’s just suffering too much and *does* have him put down (even if that means trading him to a kill shelter, for animals that just need more time to find a forever home, or deciding that their ethics allow for euthanizing animals who are in too much pain to be helped any other way).

          1. JS*

            I pretty much already addressed everything you said. I don’t blame her for lying to save the dog, I blame her for not being equipped to handle a rescue or know the appropriate non-kill rehab centers to take the dog to.

      6. Cornflower Blue*

        Oh my god, the poor cat.

        I’m terrified of pit bulls (I know there are nice ones, please don’t pile on to say that) ever since my tiny Maltese fluffball was attacked at an off-leash park by one that practically ripped open his stomach. He needed stitches and he’s been terrified to return to that park ever since. He’s also gone from being friendly to other dogs to being scared of them and avoiding them.

        The owner didn’t even stick around to see if my dog was okay, just grabbed hers and ran off. Me and two of the other people there had to kick/yell at the pit bull to make him let go of my dog. Vet fees were an additional expense I couldn’t afford at the time, so I was pissed that she didn’t even try to get back in touch to offer to pay for those.

        If you’re going to have a dangerous dog, regardless of breed, BE ABLE TO TAKE CARE OF IT AND CONTROL IT PROPERLY. I feel so terrible for the poor cat, I hope it recovered safely and is in a good, safe home.

  3. Aphrodite*

    boy, would I love to read an update to this one.

    I’m afraid I’m more intolerant than Alison in regard to aggressive, and especially, biting dogs. It wasn’t the dog’s fault it was abused and reacts in this way but one bite and I would call the city’s Animal Control. And I would report to them each bite. And I’d get the heck out of there. If these people cannot understand that some animals cannot be saved (poor dog) then they need to be spotlighted for official attention. No one should fool around with a biting dog.

    1. KimberlyR*

      AGREE. The dog should not be in the office if he bites. Period. It isn’t his fault he has terrible owners but someone has already had to seek medical treatment. This cannot continue.

    2. Anon Accountant*

      In our area (don’t know about other areas) there’s a 2 bite rule and the dog must be “put down”. ERs and doctors are required to report it and animal control investigates the incidents. It’s actually enforced too but I live out in a rural area where even if your livestock is attacked by a dog it counts towards the “bite rule”. Sorry I was looking for a way to word my post so no inflammatory intent meant!

      I feel bad for this dog and the poor staff. How awful a situation and I’d love an update too.

        1. Artemesia*

          Even if it isn’t local law or policy it is generally part of liability law; insurance companies will not insure a dog who has bitten and while a first bite might cost you something, a second bite is likely to mean the victim can bankrupt you. Keeping a dog who has bitten once makes you negligent if he bites again.

      1. not really a lurker anymore*

        The reporting from ERs/Doctors may be spotty. My son was bite by a golden he’d known most of his life. He got 4 stitches, by an eye. No one followed up.

        He sat on the dog’s head. When the dog was tangled up on it’s leash outside, on a hot day. He’s very careful around dogs every since then. And no scarring, no vision problems. We got so very lucky with this.

    3. Irene Adler*


      Even though the owners paid for the medical bills, this doesn’t mitigate the fact that the bite occurred.

      I’m betting those that were bit are worried they’ll lose their jobs should the report the owners to Animal Control. That ain’t right!

      1. Antilles*

        I’m betting those that were bit are worried they’ll lose their jobs should the report the owners to Animal Control.
        Justifiably worried, in my opinion. The founders have unified control and aren’t accountable to HR or anybody at all. The co-founders are taking it personally that OP is scared of a dog that sent someone to the ER. They’re blind to their own part in this and don’t seem to have thought about the reasons for the dog’s behavior at all.
        Basically, there’s nothing in OP’s letter that would indicate that the co-founders would take “Animal Control showed up yesterday” in a fair and reasoned response.

        1. animaniactoo*

          That’s actually why I’m thinking OSHA potentially. Complaints are completely anonymous/confidential.

      2. Collarbone High*

        I’m really surprised the first bite wasn’t reported by the ER. I volunteer at an animal shelter and was bitten by a cat, and the very first thing the triage nurse told me was that they were required to call animal control.

        1. I'll come up with a clever name later.*

          Yep! My mother had an indoor cat that began attacking people for literally no reason. He bit a friend of mine so bad she headed to the ER. Mom got a visit from animal control. The only reason they didn’t take the cat was that my mother had already made arrangements with the vet to put the cat down. Apparently he was really sick and it wasn’t going to stop, it was only going to get worse.

          1. VictorianCowgirl*

            I had a cat this happened to – on autopsy he had a brain tumor. Really sad time, he was a great kitty until he got sick.

        2. NewBoss2016*

          I had to go to the ER twice when my horse of a beloved cat lost his mind and began viciously attacking me. Neither time did they (doctors) make any motions to report anything. However, my cat’s vet did threaten to report him to the authorities (ultimately didn’t), but honestly it probably would have been the responsible thing to do because he was extremely dangerous.

          1. I Love Thrawn*

            My male cat is a very LARGE boned creature. Probably has Maine Coon in him to have his bone structure. He’s extremely sweet and laid back – an orange, they tend to be – but I have sometimes wondered what would happen if he became suddenly aggressive. He has far too much power to live with, if he did.

        3. Paige*

          This. When a dog bit me as a child (wasn’t totally the dog’s fault, I tried to stop a dog fight because I didn’t know better), it had to be put in a mandatory quarantine for 10 days for a rabies watch. I’m pretty shocked that didn’t happen.

          1. Rae*

            I was bit by a cat in 2016 and it had to go into 10 day mandatory quarantine. It had gotten into my back yard and husband and I were trying to separate it from my 100 lb dog who wanted ti “play”. And when the cat started showing troubling signs on day 9 I had to start a series of rabies shots. On Christmas Eve 1500 miles away from home. But that is a different story.

            Btw, the cat did not have rabies.

          2. tangerineRose*

            If the owners had proof that the dog was up to date on rabies shots, the dog wouldn’t need to be in a rabies watch quarantine.

          3. Percysowner*

            If the owner can prove the dog was vaccinated i.e. had vet records showing vaccination dates, no rabies hold is necessary.

        4. NotAnotherMananger!*

          My terminally-ill, 13-year-old cat bit a vet tech at one of his final vet visits, and, since it broke skin, he was put on home quarantine for 11 days. This included calling the county police to record it – and that poor officer could not have been nicer to us, under the circumstances – and requiring that we have the cat autopsied to test for rabies, if he died before the quarantine was up.

          I am shocked that a dog bit someone so severely it required an ER visit and wasn’t reported to animal control.

          1. Pollygrammer*

            My guess is that the employee was pressured to lie about whose dog bit him.

        5. Karyn*

          This! One of my parents’ cats bit me when she was barely a year old, because she’d gotten her paw stuck in a doggie door that my parents put on their bedroom door (so that the cats could go in and out of their room during the night without one of them having to open the door to let them in/out). I tried to push the door open, and Sophie freaked out and bit me pretty badly on the hand. Wasn’t her fault, she was just scared, and she’s a sweet cat most of the time. But when I went to the Urgent Care, I was sobbing because I was so scared that Animal Control would have her put down. The nurse assured me that, while they had to report it, there was almost no chance that the authorities would put down an indoor kitten who had only bitten her owner because she was scared.

          That said, a dog that is biting multiple people in a workplace? Time for OSHA to get involved.

        6. sleepwakehopeandthen*

          Yeah, I got bit by my neighbor’s dog once on accident and the ER/urgent care wouldn’t treat us unless we gave them the name of the dog (or I think would make us get rabies shots or something–I’m not sure of the details, I was a kid). Since it was something that was only on the border of needing immediate attention (which became more evident as we were waiting in the ER than it was immediately) and it wasn’t the dogs fault (I stepped on her injured foot on accident and startled her, she was also getting pretty old) and we didn’t want her to have a record, we just went home and fixed it up ourself.

      3. HS Teacher*

        I agree, too. I would’ve called animal control after the first bite. How ridiculous of these owners to subject their staff to this BS.

        I love dogs; I have a dog. I don’t love dogs in the workplace. Some folks are allergic, and some just don’t like dogs. I wouldn’t work in a dog-friendly place, so this is a job I’d have to quit.

        1. Specialk9*

          I would think animal control wouldn’t report who called them. It’s a whole office of terrorized people.

          1. GreyjoyGardens*

            I was wondering why no-one called Animal Control, especially as this animal has bit more than one person. But that office frankly sounds like a cult where everyone has been brainwashed and terrorized.

      4. Front of the House Manager*

        One of my cats got scared and bit me deep enough to go to the ER. (Though he is affectionate with me, he’s a naturally grumpy guy. I think he just got really overstimulated.)

        I refused to give the ER any information other than his rabies vaccine was current. Luckily, it’s not required to report cats to animal control here due to biting (probably because I’m in a major city that still has issues with dog fighting…I’m sure animal control just has their hands full), because I would have been inconsolable if he had to be put down or taken from me.

    4. Mary*

      I’m heavy side-eye at “bad enough to break the skin but not serious enough to require medical attention”. Is that a thing?!

      I would have thought that any bite that breaks the skin gets checked by a medic! Animal saliva has all sorts of bacteria that doesn’t not play well with the human body.

      1. Emi.*

        It’s not a thing. Any animal bite that breaks the skin should get medical attention (and the animal should be quarantined, at least if not fully vaccinated).

        1. Perse's Mom*

          It IS a thing in the sense that it may just be a scrape from a tooth rather than a full puncture, which is what I’d guess the OP meant. That’s not to say the injured party shouldn’t get medical attention, but ime lots of people don’t bother if it’s minor unless there’s abnormal swelling/infection that results or some other reason to be worried (compromised immune system, allergy, etc.) – I would probably include repeat history of aggressive behavior, personally.

      2. Stormfeather*

        True, but if it’s not so deep that it needs stitches, some people won’t realize it should be looked at anyhow, or maybe realize it but hate hospitals enough to take their chances.

        So… I guess a difference between “really have to go to the hospital because it won’t stop bleeding” and “really should go to the hospital.”

        1. Clorinda*

          I wouldn’t go to the ER for a minor scratch/bite, but I’d go see a regular doctor within the next few days just to have a record and preemptively treat for infection. Urgent care and pharmacy clinics are good options too. There’s middle ground between the ER and no treatment at all!

      3. NotAnotherMananger!*

        No. Puncture wounds are no joke and should be attended to, even if stitches are not required. My mom didn’t realized she’d stepped on my sister’s cat’s tail once, and the cat bit her ankle when she kept standing on her tail (in the cat’s defense, my mom is oblivious – she also once accidentally stood on me in the ocean after some breakers knocked us down, and I had to scratch her ankle before she realized it and got off me). One of the fang-holes got really angry and almost infected, and it’s a good thing she sought medical attention.

        1. Specialk9*

          “she also once accidentally stood on me in the ocean after some breakers knocked us down, and I had to scratch her ankle before she realized it and got off me”


        2. Perse's Mom*

          And often with animal bites, they may not *want* to stitch it closed. The couple of nasty bites I’ve had (repeat visits to urgent care due to my entire hand swelling), they explicitly wanted the punctures to heal from the inside out.

      4. Kyrielle*

        What you said. I *suspect* that maybe instead of a puncture wound those cases were a surface scrape, and they decided to wash it and deal? (The sort of thing that wouldn’t be a big deal if, say, you got it while shaving or some such screw-up.)

        However, I would be real hesitant to assume that *other* things (like rabies) were definitely not a concern in that case!

        I have had animal bites that I haven’t gotten treatment for, but they had one universal thing in common – they didn’t draw blood or appear to break the skin.

      5. INTP*

        I would think they were probably surface scrapes or other shallow wounds that the victims didn’t realize needed anything more than a quick cleaning and some neosporin. There was probably also pressure against going to the doctor because that would be covered by workman’s comp, possibly by the entire culture of the place and not just the founders. (I worked for a nonprofit where we worked with children that often bit and scratched us. While we were entitled to go to the doctor for any skin-breaking injury, you definitely would have been side-eyed as Not a Team Player if you went just to get a superficial wound cleaned and bandaged because that took money away from The Cause. Of course, humans carry fewer diseases than dogs in most cases but some people may not realize that and I’m sure the dog’s owners aren’t telling them.)

  4. EditorInChief*

    I love dogs, but my first course of action would be to call animal control. The founders clearly don’t know how to handle a dog with issues.

    1. CatCat*

      Yeah, wow, I’d want to report the dog to animal control. But if these are the kinds of people that keep bringing in a dog after the dog bites someone and the place is already dysfunctional, I might not if I could not afford to be fired for it :-(

    2. Kalros, the mother of all thresher maws*

      Yeah, I have to agree. You aren’t “rescuing” a dog if you do nothing to address its behavior issues and keep it in a situation where it bites 3 (!!) people. The appropriate response to even one bite isn’t “we’ll pay the medical bills, but otherwise ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.” That’s stressful and dangerous for everyone, including the dog. This situation is untenable.

    3. Pomona Sprout*

      Me, too. I was actually kind of shocked that Alison didn’t recommend reporting it to some authority, be it animal control, OSHA, or whatever.

      I love all animals, but a dog with aggression issues that severe is a ticking time bomb. There’s no telling who it will attack next time or how bad the attack will be. And you can bet the farm that there WILL be a next time, with a track record like this dog has.

      This dog could literally msim or even kill someone. This is a seriously freaking dangerous situation, and it should NOT be allowed to continue.

  5. Chatterby*

    Yeah, this is one for Animal Control.
    They are not acting like responsible, reasonable pet owners, or responsible, reasonable employers, and won’t react well to anything you or the other staff might try to do directly.
    I’m also going to recommend carrying dog mace around your office until they stop bringing this dog to work, just in case he tries to maul someone.

  6. puzzld*

    I love dogs have several myself. Have had dogs that were fearful and would bite. I made sure they weren’t put into a situation where they felt they needed to bite… but anyway.

    Here anyone who turns up at the ER or a doctors office with a dog bite is reported to animal control. AC will track the dog down if it is a “known” dog and it will be put under quarantine for rabies, at home if it’s a first offender who has had rabies shots, at AC if it’s a repeat offender or seems aggressive. They can and will order “home confinement” and will seize the dog if the owners aren’t willing to take responsibility for keeping other safe from their Cujo. I’d probably have to call AC myself if this was going on in my office. Rabies is a real issue. But beyond that no one should have to go about their work day in fear of a vicious animal.

    1. Anon Accountant*

      Sorry I didn’t see tour post before I posted! Absolutely true. Excellent point on rabies too.

    2. EddieSherbert*

      +1 I’m very involved in animal rescue; owners like this INFURIATE me. They’re not only putting other people (including children) and other animals at risk of being hurt, they’re putting their dog at risk of being euthanized for biting.

      If you can’t accept the dog as they are and insist on treating them as you want them to be, don’t get a dog.

  7. Nan*

    I love puppies and feel bad for this dog. He’s obviously had cruddy owners in the past. That being said, he should not be in an office environment. I’d hate to do it, but it may be time to call the police or animal control or whoever handles such things in your area. After multiple bites, they will take the dog. Perhaps do it as a group, so you don’t get in trouble yourself.

    I’m sorry the poor pooch went from one cruddy owner to an irresponsible cruddy owner.

  8. Dust Bunny*

    From somebody who used to do animal rescue: These people are not equipped to handle this dog.

    One, if their only options are to leave it alone at home or bring it to work in an environment it can’t handle . . . neither of those are workable.

    Two, now that the dog has demonstrated that neither of those options are workable . . . they seem to be in denial about how serious this is.

    They either need to accept that this dog needs a different home *or* they need to be willing to put some hard-core focus onto getting it help. It needs a behaviorist, not an obedience trainer, to start with, and they need a lot of guidance on how to handle dogs. Unfortunately, if the dog has bitten three people and they haven’t gotten the message, it’s unlikely they’ll do this of their own volition. But this is not a better home because somebody is going to go to the police and that dog will end up getting put down. If they really want to rescue it, they need to do some hard work.

    1. Irene Adler*

      You are spot-on.
      Hate when folks don’t take things – like this poor dog- seriously.

    2. Kate*

      I completely agree. Some friends of mine once adopted an aggressive dog because they thought they would be able to correct his behavior, and the first thing the trainer told them was to limit his interactions with people until they got his aggression under control. That meant they shouldn’t even have people over to their house let alone bring him to an office full of people every day. I admit that I’m probably one of the most sympathetic to dog people ever and am fairly reluctant to call animal control on them. (I have been bitten before and declined to call animal control or seek medical attention because I didn’t think it was that bad). But this is a habitual biter and paying for medical bills doesn’t fix the problem. These are just bad pet owners, and that makes me so so angry.

    3. Lora*

      THIS. Holy smokes, PetSmart does not teach freaking bite inhibition!

      Have adopted a dog with Issues in the past. Thankfully the main Issue was, he was a working breed who got bored not having any work to do. Gave him a job to do and he was happy as a clam and too tired to get into much mischief. But I did have to have the behaviorist over to help introduce him to other dogs, set up desensitization to other animals (he’s still a jerk about trucks and motorcycles), help with bite inhibition because he was still puppy-mouthy even though he was huge (NOT aggressive biting, but nobody had ever corrected his puppy play behavior). It was neither cheap nor easy and involved several weeks of pretty intense training – plus, you know, the minor detail of “he needed cattle to herd”. If you aren’t willing to do that, heck, there’s plenty of couch potato breeds in rescue that need homes.

  9. Marley*

    The dog has bitten three people? I would call animal control, first.

    Second, does the board know about this? Is anyone on the board a lawyer, who would grasp the liability issues?

    1. WellRed*

      Also, do they own the building or is there a landlord who might have issues with an aggressive dog on the premises?

      1. Lindsay J*

        Along the same lines, is an aggressive dog covered by their business insurance/property insurance? I bet it’s not.

  10. Lunchy*

    I’d try to find out which rescue this poor dog came from and report clue them in. They (hopefully) would want to know if the dog wasn’t in a good environment for rehabilitation. You often have to sign papers which entitle the rescue to take the dog back in certain circumstances, so that’s what I’d be hoping for here.

    1. EddieSherbert*

      Also a good suggestion! May or may not lead to action depending on their adoption contract (if it has a reclaiming clause) and the rescue (if they’ll actually followup).

    2. Triple Anon*

      That would be my first course of action too. Document everything and notify the rescue.

      This is a tough judgment call, but I think the injured co-worker(s) should consider filing a police report. In many jurisdictions, people are responsible for the actions of their pet. These people could have muzzled the dog or kept it in a crate. I know a lot of dogs can break out of standard crates, but there are stronger ones. Getting something on record would a) hold the people accountable, and b) make it harder for the dog to be rehomed without the new owners knowing about its history. It’s a very sad situation for the dog, but people’s safety needs to be taken seriously too.

    3. Sunshine on a Cloudy Day*

      I really, really like this idea. If this dog is reported to Animal Control (which given the circumstances, I think the OP/other office folks certainly have every right to do) it may be euthanized almost immediately due to the pattern of biting (this definitely is highly dependent on local laws/regulations).

      Contacting the rescue (if you can get that info) at least gives a chance for action to be taken before bringing Animal Control into the situation. I work with a rescue group and while I’ve never heard of this situation coming up before, I’m quite sure they would do whatever possible to try to take the dog back or maybe even work with the owners on letting them know the seriousness of the situation

      1. Lunchy*

        Right, because while Animal Control is the “correct” call, I’d be afraid of the dog being euthanized before everything having possibly been done for him. Personally, I’d feel a lot of guilt, even though I’m wouldn’t be the one who failed the dog. I really hope Doggo got a happy ending.

  11. SoCalHR*

    I’ve worked in some bad environments but this would probably be my worst nightmare.

  12. Amy J.*

    This dog is almost certainly aggressive because he’s fearful. Continuing to bring him to an environment where he’s already experienced enough fear that he’s bitten someone on three separate occasions isn’t just irresponsible, and dangerous to the people in that environment, it’s also cruel to the dog. They’re bringing him because that’s “easier” for them (ie because it protects their home and belongings from the dog’s destructive behavior.) They either don’t realize that taking him to the office is extremely stressful for him, or they don’t care. They either don’t realize that his presence in the office is extremely stressful for their employees… or they don’t care. It’s a terrible situation.

    1. NotAnotherMananger!*

      Exactly. They are not doing this dog any favors. My aunt (who has no children and is retired/home most of the day) specializes in anxious dogs that need someone around a lot and are much happier at home. This dog sounds stressed and scared.

      1. motherofdragons*

        A bit OT, but bless your aunt! She sounds like the perfect owner for anxious pups.

        1. Anon4This*

          Sort of? I adore her, but it’s hard to visit with children, and she doesn’t travel. Our relationship has grown increasingly distant because the current dog doesn’t do well with strangers, and my younger child is terrified of dogs. She spends a lot of time tut-tutting the child’s fear and blaming any poor behavior from the dog on presence of the kids, who give the dog a very wide berth. And, since she doesn’t travel, coming to our house (without the dog, because we have cats) isn’t an option.

          Great for the dog(s), not great for family relationships.

          1. tangerineRose*

            That’s rough. When I worked as a daycare center, there were a couple of big but very gentle dogs who mostly gave the kids plenty of space. Those dogs were very helpful for kids who were scared of dogs because the dogs were mellow and weren’t over-affectionate. A scared dog and a scared kid together – that’s not good for either of them.

  13. Nonprofit HR*

    Unfortunately, the co-founders have allowed to let the dog become a serial biter. In my area, the ER would have to report the bite to animal control and animal control can seize and euthanize dogs who bite more than once.

    Rather than rat on the dog, I’d call the company’s Workers’ Comp insurance carrier. In my state, employers with five or more employees must have WC insurance. The letter writer mentions at least six employees. It’s possible that these workplace injuries have not been reported.

      1. Is This How We End Up On 20/20?*

        Yeah…in some states you can pay out of pocket to avoid increases. However you must still report it, then the WC rep decides if it’s acceptable for the company to just pay.

    1. BadWolf*

      If the OP was in a mandatory dog bite reporting area — can you imagine the horrible spot the next employee (god forbid) with an bite requiring medical care would be in? Either you report the owner’s dog who is put down or pressured/feel forced to lie and invent a mystery dog. No good outcome.

      1. tangerineRose*

        And if you report a mystery dog, you’d probably have to get rabies shots. I know they’re not as awful as they used to be, but still…

    2. Lady H*

      As a dog lover that feels that “dog lover” is an understatement for my adoration of dogs, I know how terrible it feels to think of “ratting on” a dog who bites. But I am a volunteer with our local humane society and have learned that reporting dog bites, especially in this case where the dog has learned that biting is the only way to escape what they’re afraid of, is the responsible thing to do. There are so many dogs out there who needs homes and 99% of them are adoptable and deserve the best. 1% of them may never be rehabilitated to the point of being suitable for a home and that is heartbreaking, though there ARE rescues who will take in such a dog and provide it with loving care at their facility for a lifetime. Sometimes euthanasia is the most humane option.

      Regardless of the outcome, it is not the better option to fail to report these dog bites to the proper authorities who are equipped to evaluate the dogs. I know this is an old question on AAM but I want to urge anyone reading who might be in a similar situation to do the right thing and report dog bites. We’ve all heard misinformation about how a dog who bites is instantly set out to be euthanized but that is almost never the case. Unfortunately, these irresponsible owners have done this dog a tremendous disservice and it’s time for that dog to be removed from their care. The dog is NOT better off with these owners.

      1. Lehigh*

        Right. If anything, these people might be equipped to take in an older, mild-mannered dog who wants to sleep all day. That kind of dog is ALSO in danger of being euthanized due to overcrowding. Why they would choose instead the dog who terrorized their employees is beyond me.

        Admittedly, I am not as much of a dog person. But I do feel that you have to look at the numbers sometimes.

        1. fposte*

          Rescue fantasies do strange things to people. It’s not uncommon for people to get more attached to the animal they feel needs a defender most than the animal that will actually succeed in their homes.

          1. Amber T*

            Ugh yes. It can’t be enough for some people to adopt a dog from a shelter if the dog is mild mannered and friendly, because then anyone could just do it!

            1. fposte*

              Yup, those are the exact people I mean. The more hopeless the case, the greater the virtue.

        2. [insert witty username here]*

          Whole heartedly agree with both LadyH and Lehigh. This is a such sad situation for so many reasons.

        3. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

          This, definitely.

          There are plenty of perfectly well-behaved older pets who are still at risk because they aren’t cwute widdle babies. They need so much less work! Just give them a home, enjoy however long they live, and don’t try to take on more than you can handle! Yeesh.

          1. ArtsNerd*

            Taking this (and any) excuse to share the “Grown-Ass Adult” dog adoption campaign from APA in St. Louis. It’s linked in my username. It’s my favorite thing.

            The copy includes things like:

            “I know where your food is.
            And I know where my food is
            Because I’m a Grown-Ass Adult.

            Get a dog who gets you. Adopt Adult.

            1. Lindsay J*

              I love this. My dog was 8 or 9 when I adopted her, and she is perfect for me because she is a grown-ass adult.

              I work a ton. I don’t have time for a puppy.

              She’s pretty low energy so she’s satisfied with a morning and evening walk. Otherwise she shuffles around the apartment and sleeps a lot. She’s completely house broken. She doesn’t bark. She doesn’t jump up. She’s not food aggressive. She doesn’t beg or steal food off of plates.

              The only issues I’ve had was that she was heartworm positive when I adopted her so I had to take her for treatment (the ASPCA even had a fund for this so I didn’t have to pay out of pocket.) And she has a prey drive – apparently she did kill a cat when she was with her previous owner (or at the shelter, they didn’t really specify) and when she was out in the yard at my place she almost killed a squirrel. I don’t have any other pets (and mostly the squirrels are smart enough to stay out of her way) so it’s a non-issue for me.

              She’s been a dream to own.

              Puppies are cute and all, but are just not for me.

              1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

                Agreed. My cat is turning 16 this year, and I have treasured her “senior” years. She doesn’t need a ton of playing, she’s very happy to cuddle up next to me and snooze when I’m home from work, and I don’t have to worry about her getting into stuff because she’s epically uninterested in jumping any higher than she has to in order to get onto my bed. Even laundry baskets aren’t much of a lure because she knows she’ll get chased out of those, whereas she can get comfy on the recliner, which is just as soft, and I won’t bother her.

                Senior pets are awesome pets.

                1. tangerineRose*

                  I adopted an adult cat a few years ago, and it was so much easier than adopting a kitten! He doesn’t get into everything or try to climb my legs like kittens do.

              2. Wendy Darling*

                I adopted an adult dog because I didn’t want to deal with potty training a dog in my 5th floor apartment. So of course I adopt my charming adult dog and get him home and it turns out he has a terrible UTI and cannot hold his pee and once he got over that I had to completely re-potty train him because he had forgotten in his time of Can’t Not Pee.

                But other than that he is an impeccably mannered little gentleman so I forgive him. He’s also the laziest animal on legs so if it’s rainy we just play with toys inside and he’s cool.

            2. GreyjoyGardens*

              That would be a great rebranding for cats, too! Of my four, one was adopted as a kitten, one as a “teenager,” and two as adults. Kittens are adorably, even criminally cute, but grown cats are so much easier, and you know what kind of purrsonality you are getting! 10/10 would adopt grown-ass adult cats again.

              1. ArtsNerd*

                I tried to adopt a grown-ass cat but accidentally got a teenager, which I realized right around 2am when I decided to go buy a laser pointer because I couldn’t run around with a ribbon another minute, and she was showing no signs of tiring yet.

    1. Turquoisecow*

      Fellow cat lady here, and I agree. Animals do not belong in offices. I like dogs. I like cats. I like lots of animals. But they don’t belong in an office. Not only is it unfair to people with phobias or allergies, it’s unfair to the animals.

      1. Hope*

        This. I love animals–mine and other people’s. I would love to have an office pet. But there are just too many issues.

    2. Triple Anon*

      I agree. I think it can work, but there’s so much room for dysfunction. As an occasional thing, I think it’s fine, but not every day.

      1. annakarina1*

        I think it’s OK when the dog is well-behaved or doesn’t get in the way of work. I temped in a bookstore about ten years ago, and they had a dog and cat in the store. The dog was of senior age and just laid around out of the way, while the cat wandered around. Neither got in the way of work, but a more active dog wanting attention would be more of a bother, the cuteness would get old fast.

        1. Roja*

          Yeah, I think there’s a difference too in having an “office dog” or an “office cat,” like in that situation, and having everyone bring in their pets to work every day. I’m not a dog person at all, but I wouldn’t mind a gentle office dog of that sort. But I wouldn’t do well in a generally dog-friendly environment.

        2. Lehigh*

          Agreed. I like the idea of a dog-friendly office but it needs to be restricted to office-friendly dogs.

        3. Alex the Alchemist*

          Yeah, my pastor brings in her dog to the office on Fridays, but it only works because 1) the dog is extremely well-behaved, and 2) she lives right next door to the church so if the dog becomes distracting she can bring him home with almost no disruption.

        4. Wendy Darling*

          I worked in one dog-friendly office that worked well and one that did not.

          The one that worked, you had to get permission from your manager and the people sitting near you to bring your dog and have the office admin sign off on it. The admin was a complete hardass about dogs behaving, so if your dog made messes or was disruptive or bothered people or got bitey or was loud, you were told not to bring them back. And the admin was some kind of demigod so no one crossed her. Dogs had to be confined to your desk area somehow (crate, pen, leash tied to something, whatever) and were not allowed in conference rooms or common areas.

          At the office where it did not work, people brought their dogs in if they felt like it and there were no rules. Several people had obnoxious dogs that were pushy and/or noisy and they let them run all over the office bothering people. If someone got annoyed they would call their dogs and the dogs ignored them. I actually didn’t bring my dog in because I couldn’t stop him being harassed by other people’s dogs. It sucked. If that had been my only experience with a dog-friendly office I’d probably be blanket against them.

          My dog is an old man at heart and wants nothing more than to sleep by my feet unless he is in fact eating, so he was a great office dog — half the time I brought him to work people would come up to me and accusingly say “I thought you were bringing your dog today!” and I’d point at my feet and there he was, napping. I now work from home and his bed is next to my desk so he can nap next to me while I work. He is living his best life, here.

        5. Triple Anon*

          I think the main potential problem is that it can create issues that employees feel uncomfortable speaking up about. Even if everyone’s ok with it when they accept the job, some people could develop allergies, fears, etc. But it can go the other way too. It can be a positive thing that makes it a better work environment for everyone. I think if it’s a larger work place, there are more likely to be issues.

    3. Justme, The OG*

      I have one large dog and two cats. I live in an area that is very dog friendly. But I do not understand dogs at work, other than service animals.

    4. Genny*

      Yes!!! There are just too many ways it can go wrong from bad owners to bad dogs to allergies to phobias to basic dislike. There are already enough workplace issues that naturally come up, no need to actively add one more to the mix.

    5. The Original K.*

      I completely agree. In my opinion, it creates at least as many problems as it purports to solve.

    6. Scmill*

      I’m there with you. I’ve had dogs most of my life, but none of them belonged in an office setting where I was trying to get work done.

    7. Not Who I Think I Am*

      I worked in two offices in my career which had “office” cats. In one, someone took the cat home with them on the weekend and brought him back on Monday. In the other, food was set out and the cat was left on their own until Monday. While it was a joy to me to have them around, ultimately neither cat did well. I ended up taking Cat 2 home with me, and she lived a long and (I like to think) happy life, knowing she would be cared for and fed every day. Animals need consistency. Consistent people, consistent care, consistent schedules.

    8. Bureaucrat with a Side of Coffee*

      Agree! It sounds like a nice perk on the surface but can cause so many problems. I much prefer my regular telework schedule where I do get to enjoy a few days every month with my kitties as my coworkers.

    9. Wendy Darling*

      I love dogs and I’m good with dogs in offices but these kind of morons ruin things for everyone. Part of making pets in offices work is understanding that the pet’s needs come after legit everyone else’s needs and if your pet is causing a problem they need to stay at home.

    10. Oilpress*

      Me too. I am also surprised that the first sentence of the response was, “Poor dog.”

    11. Jemima Bond*

      I didn’t realise it was a thing until I read AAM and frankly I was appalled. The workplace is no place for pets. Slobbering and “accidents” are unpleasant and biting is actively dangerous! Even well-behaved ones are at best a distraction/reason to skive (are you working or petting Rover?) then there’s fur, smell, dirty paws, people being allergic to them/asthma triggered by fur. It’s just a bad idea for so many more reasons than it’s a good one – and even then it’s only a good idea for the owner getting to bring their pet to the office and not having to pay a dog walker etc.

    12. fish*

      I’m frankly surprised how many positive responses you’re getting given the reaction to other office dog letters! (I agree with you, btw. No one should get a dog if they can’t look after it. At home.)

  14. Kir Royale*

    So their furniture is more important than their employees’ safety? Says a lot

    1. beanie beans*

      This is what I was thinking also. It destroys the furniture on one hand, it bites coworkers on the other hand, and they choose to save the furniture.

    2. Goya de la Mancha*

      To be fair – depending on what kind of destruction the dog is doing to said furniture it could be dangerous for them in that situation. Couch springs that cut, ingesting foreign objects that block/get stuck in their intestines, possible strangulation.

      Now, that’s not to say that they should bring the dog to work and put the employee at harm, just that it might be more serious then “killing” a throw pillow here and there. And to echo what most people have already stated, these people are in WAY over their heads with this rescue.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        Yeah, this. It’s often not just a few torn cushions–dogs can end up ingesting wood splinters and things.

        . . . but that just goes back to how badly these people are not prepared to own this dog.

  15. Oxford Coma*

    When I was bitten by a dog, my doctor was required to report it to the state. Within 24 hours I was getting calls on my home landline from a government nurse, demanding proof that I’d had rabies shots and information about the dog’s licensing.

    If this dog already has one medically-treated bite on record, it’s very odd that there has been no follow-up.

  16. Sunshine Brite*

    I wonder who decided that the other bites were not serious enough for medical attention. I feel like a bite that breaks the skin should get looked and properly cleaned out in a timely fashion to avoid infection rather than what’s laying around the office to use.

    1. Collarbone High*

      Yes, very good point. When I was bitten by a cat, the urgent care nurse said it was the equivalent of injecting fecal bacteria into your bloodstream. Cats lick their butts. Dogs eat poop. Bites to the hand are especially dangerous — the nurse gave me a study from the Mayo Clinic that found something like 1/3 of people bitten on the hand ended up hospitalized and some lost the use of their hands.

      1. bunniferous*

        My husband spent FOUR days in the hospital from a cat bite last year. Cat bites are no joke!

      2. KX*

        I was bitten by my own cat, twice, in the same place for the same reason. (She did not want to be combed.) I didn’t know how serious it could be the first time, but when my forearm swelled up two days later urgent care made me think I would lose my arm. The second time I was bitten I went in to urgent care within two hours.

        I freaked out the second time when they asked me to fill out the animal control bite report form. They said it would be no big deal if it was just my own cat who bit me, but the nurses later forgot to ask me for the form and I took it home and shredded it.

    2. Lynca*

      My old cat had gotten herself caught and I got heavily scratched rescuing her from the situation. She had her leg caught in a chair and she was scared. The vet was more worried about my wounds than the cat because of how easily you can pick up bacteria, etc. from scratches/bites.

      I wouldn’t dream of not getting a bite/scratch that breaks the skin checked.

    3. Becca*

      Yeah, tetanus, rabies, other infections are all concerns. Although it sounds like they adopted this dog through a legitimate service of some sort that probably checked it for rabies. When I was bitten last year and it barely broke the skin the doctors weren’t TOO concerned, but it’s not the sort of thing I’m going to take a chance on, and I self treat a lot of things I probably shouldn’t (always making sure they are getting better rather than worse, but still).

      1. Sunshine Brite*

        Especially since I wouldn’t put it past these owners to pressure an employee into not seeking medical attention.

      2. not really a lurker anymore*

        Have the owners kept up on the shots/etc? I don’t remember the schedule for pets. And I was a sucky pet owner.

  17. Out of Office Message*

    Get one of those smartphone apps that plays high-pitched noises that dogs hate, and play it every time the dog gets near you.

    Soon the dog will learn to associate you with the awful noise and stay away. And no one else will be able to hear it.

    1. Lehigh*

      I really don’t think you can DIY this one. The dog already hates the OP and her coworkers; he is vicious and is biting them.

      “I am nice” is not enough to rehab a dog like this. The owners seems to be depending entirely on their sweetness which is just not going to do it.

      If someone who is able to put in the time, work, etc. is not available to take this dog, the dog needs to be put down.

      1. Lady H*

        I wanted to say that from the information we have, this is a fearful dog who feels it has no option other than biting. That’s not vicious, that’s an animal who’s been put in an absolutely ridiculous situation by their caretakers. This isn’t “hatred” of the OP and coworkers and there’s no indication the dog would have ever bitten if it wasn’t continuously put into a situation that it has no way of escaping and is coping the only way that’s getting results. (I am in no way saying anyone at this office is at fault for the dog bites other than the shameful owners.)

        I don’t like the narrative that dog bite = vicious dog that needs to be put down. Dog bite usually equals a fearful dog who feels it has no other options. The owners keep bringing the dog to a place that it’s terrified of instead of actually treating the dog’s separation anxiety which is common and very treatable.

        1. fposte*

          I definitely agree with you on the fear/defense vs. hate/viciousness. However, in practice I think it often doesn’t make a difference in a case like this; as long as the situation isn’t changed, the situational biting will continue.

          1. Lady H*

            Absolutely! While it’s doable and common to adopt a dog like this and treat their separation anxiety and keep them at home (and NEVER put them in a situation where they’ll bite) it’s a huge amount of work and commitment. I’m baffled why these people feel like rescuing a dog only to make it miserable every single day at the office was a good choice. They could have adopted a social dog that was just as deserving of a good home!

        2. Lehigh*

          Personally I feel that if a dog is biting, the onus is on the owner or rescuer to prove (through affecting a behavioral change) that the dog is not vicious.

          There is a dog in my family who has fearful aggression. After ONE bite under understandable circumstances (he was physically cornered and freaked out), he was re-homed to a house with calm adults only, no other dogs, few strangers coming and going, where his environment could be controlled. Over time he has shown less and less aggression and he is doing very well. But if we (or someone else) had not been able to show that he was capable of that kind of change and thriving, and he had continued to bite, I think it would have been reasonable for the public to assume he was vicious.

        3. Lehigh*

          I replied but I think it got eaten; apologies if this ends up as a duplicate.

          I do see what you’re saying, I guess I just feel that the onus is on the owner or rescuer to show that the dog is not vicious. There’s a dog in my own family with fearful aggression, but after ONE bite (with circumstances where we could understand his motivation – he was physically cornered) he was re-homed with another family member in a much calmer environment, adults only, not a high traffic house with strangers coming and going, etc. We controlled his environment and he has been able to thrive, is less and less aggressive over time, etc.

          If we (or someone else) had not been able to do that and he had bitten over and over again, I feel like it would have been fair for the public to assume he was vicious. I know he’s a sweet boy who is doing his best, but that was our responsibility to prove.

    2. BethRA*

      More likely, you’d just increase the poor animal’s stress level and make it even more of a bite risk.

      The founders sound like awful people. I don’t think I’d want to work there even if they stop brining the dog into the office.

      1. [insert witty username here]*

        Agreed, this is very likely to make things worse, not just for the person that plays the sound, but for everyone else around the dog. This poor dog is so unequipped to deal with his issues that hearing that sound so often is just going to raise his anxiety level and discomfort being in the office around so many people coming and going.

      2. Nonnon*

        My thoughts too. Also, I’m one of those humans who can hear those sounds (somewhat) and they’re physically painful. So you’d have a stressed out dog, who feels they can’t flee or hide, and is now being hurt.

    3. Oxford Coma*

      I had no idea such a thing existed. If it’s outside the normal human hearing range, why would a cell phone even have the capability to play it? This intrigues me from a tech perspective.

      1. Countess Boochie Flagrante*

        Often, kids can hear them but adults can’t. A close family friend had one to keep the deer out of her garden — she couldn’t hear it, my parents couldn’t hear it, but I felt like I was taking a drill straight to the eardrum whenever I got near the thing. I remember it also being a thing once cell phones became popular that teens would set their ringtone to something similar so they could hear it but their teachers (usually) couldn’t.

        1. calonkat*

          this is indeed a thing (or a very orchestrated joke). My daughter and niece used to play this “tone” that they swore they could hear. And indeed, with their backs turned, they would raise their hands every time I played the “tone” and lower them when I stopped (and I tried tapping the phone other places so they couldn’t just be going of the sound of me starting the recording.) I put tone in quotes because I COULDN’T HEAR A THING!!! Sigh…

          1. Getting Lit*

            My son did his 5th grade Science Fair project on this! As you age you gradually lose the ability to hear higher frequency noises. That tone, sometimes called “the mosquito” is in a range that people over 25 or so have started losing the ability to hear. It’s a similar reason to why some people heard Yanny while others heard Laurel (though it was actually factually Laurel).

          2. Perse's Mom*

            It’s a thing! We did this in my high school physics class – the teacher had us all put our heads down with our eyes closed while he played a sequence of tones/frequencies. We were to raise or lower our hands based on whether or not we could hear the tone/frequency.

  18. RottenRedRod*

    My boss has a purebred English Bulldog that seems like the saddest animal alive. He’s dumb as bricks, not affectionate at all, and entirely motivated by food. I tried playing with him and petting him, but he’ll either just not react at all or suddenly go absolutely crazy rampaging all over the place (and he’s like 100+ pounds). If someone new comes in and gives him attention like a normal dog, he’ll jump up on them and almost knock them over, but if any of us try to give us attention he just stares dumbly with no reaction. His main activity is scrounging in the trash for food, or pathetically whining loudly because he’s bored in the office all day – the boss yells at him to be quiet, but he just ignores her because he’s obviously untrained.

    Thankfully he’s not aggressive, but he’s the least appealing dog I’ve ever met. He’s just a presence that she’s responsible for. Maybe he’s more affectionate at home or something? I dunno.

      1. RottenRedRod*

        She does a few times a day, but I suspect that alone isn’t enough for him. Sometimes he’ll just whine and whine all day. I think he needs some other sort of stimulation that he isn’t getting in the office.

        More than anything, though, it’s his food obsession. When it’s lunchtime and people have food out, he will get REALLY vocal and annoying near anyone eating. Thankfully he knows not to go on the tables or desks (or can’t?) but he will search every office floor and trash can for any scrap of food. Another coworker and I will always kick him out of our offices and NEVER give him anything, but he always tries anyway.

    1. Is This How We End Up On 20/20?*

      That dog is abused. Dogs need more interaction and less “lay there and wait until I decide I’ll make time to let you outside to poo.”

      1. RottenRedRod*

        Yeah, and I’ve TRIED to play with him – I like dogs well enough, they’re fun to play with. I’d love an office dog that I could go play with every so often as a little break. But it’s just such a chore to get him to react at all to any of his toys, and when he does, he suddenly has an overwhelming amount of energy that it’s a little intimidating (and he usually destroys the toys).

        1. [insert witty username here]*

          If you do want to interact with the dog (and bless you for still trying!), google “canine enrichment” and there’s a ton of great DIY ideas you can try that help stimulate a dog’s mind in different ways. If I think of something specific that would be good in an office, I’ll comment again. But in general, bulldogs are pretty chill and are very different from say, retrievers or hounds, in terms of what interests them (I have a chow chow who gets interested in his daily walk but plays with a toy about once a week, at most – I always feel bad, like he’s bored, but he just likes to chill and be near me or watch out the front window).

          1. Lehigh*

            Since he’s intensely food motivated maybe a food-dispensing toy would be the best? Not that it’s RottenRedRod’s responsibility, of course. Too bad the owner isn’t the one trying to help the dog…

            1. RottenRedRod*

              He’d probably eat everything from the toy, destroy the toy, and then keep whining more. Plus they have him on a strict diet so I don’t think that would fly anyway.

              1. Lehigh*

                Bummer. Well, it was very nice of you to try to play with him. Sorry you are dealing with this.

                1. RottenRedRod*

                  Honestly it’s not that big of a deal, nothing like the OP. Just minorly annoying, and I feel bad for the dog.

          2. RottenRedRod*

            I honestly don’t want to interact with the dog, as it’s really not my job, and it’s not really causing any strife in the office, I just find the whole situation weird and a little sad – but I can’t really change my boss’ dynamic with her dog, that’s up to her.

            Maybe this might be just what the breed is like? I dunno. It’s specifically an Olde English Bulldog, which looks like a cross between a bulldog and a pit bull, and is the size of a large pitbull.

            1. [insert witty username here]*

              Ah – gotcha. I misinterpreted as you wanted to keep interacting with it. But no, you should not have to feel like you have to! This situation does sound sad. It’s amazingly sad how many inadequate dog owners there are in the world….

        2. Is This How We End Up On 20/20?*

          I imagine this poor puppers engages with strangers because he hopes they sneak him away into their napsacks. I don’t blame you for giving up, not your circus not your dog.

          1. RottenRedRod*

            He loooooves the UPS and FedEx guys, especially their trucks.

            … Actually that’s probably because the FedEx guy always has a treat for him.

    2. Turquoisecow*

      This is why I think dogs don’t belong in offices. He’s obviously not happy, he’s not getting the stimulation he wants, he’s disrupting your work, and he doesn’t seem to be cheering up your boss, so why is he there? He’d be happier sleeping at home or in a doggy day care type place than bored in an office. In a way, it’s like a kid – they need attention and stimulation you can’t give them, and their understandable cries for attention and stimulation disrupt the workers. Keep them away from the workplace.

      1. RottenRedRod*

        Yeah, that’s what weirds me out. My boss will babytalk to him like he’s the cutest thing alive sometimes, but most of the time she’s annoyed with him for being disruptive. Sometimes if he’s whining too much he’ll be on “time out” (??? does that even work for dogs?) and put in her office on a leash, which usually just means he’s now sitting right outside her office door, sometimes right in front of mine, still whining away.

    3. I'm Not Phyllis*

      Aw I had an English Bulldog and she was so sweet. Lazy, but the sweetest dog ever – so affectionate and sensitive. Nothing like what you’re describing!

  19. animaniactoo*

    Personally, I’m calling Animal Control and maybe OSHA.

    The dog has bitten 3 people and its owners blame people for cringing or keeping a distance when they’re in its presence. These are not people who are going to be swayed by a group approach.

    1. Triple Anon*

      Yeah. I love dogs, but these people value have shown that they value their furniture above anything else. Then their dog. Then, last, the basic safety of their employees. I think something needs to be done before that way of thinking leads to a worse situation.

  20. Raina*

    I’ll begin by saying I have a rescue dog … he doesn’t bit anyone or thing except his toys.

    This dog is unhappy and scared and needs help, as does this office of people. In the town I live in (U.S), there is a 2 bites law … if the dog bites 2 people, there is a board meeting to decide what happens to the dog (home confinement, training, behavioral intervention, banning from the town and even euthanasia). Since the owners of this company are not helping the dog or the employees, perhaps someone needs to look into local by-laws.
    Oh, and the rescue organization that placed this dog will be very interested in hearing about these problems. The dog is not in the home it needs and may likely thrive in a different environment (perhaps less stress, more consistency, not an environment with lots of people moving around during the day trying to get their work done).
    The founders of your organization are jerks, to all involved. I hope you can move along and I hope the dog goes back to the rescue and is placed in an environment that meets his/her needs.
    Good luck.

  21. Is This How We End Up On 20/20?*

    They’re going to get the very dog they want to save put down by this horrifying disregard for human safety.

    Find him a sitter who can handle his special needs. Letting him bite people is how you end up with a euthanized dog. I am upset for the humans being harmed and the animal who isn’t being cared for properly.

  22. Rachael*

    This is just so outlandish that I my mind is blown. I rescued an abused dog who used to be put in fighting rings when he was a puppy. He was a dog who might nipp when scared and was VERY animal and leash aggressive. Did I take my dog to work or put my dog in situations that caused him stress? No. I kept him home and made sure that he would not be in a situation where he hurt people and kept him exercised and did daily training. The instances where he nipped someone (rare because i kept him away from his triggers) I was horrified and made amends to the person. I just don’t understand letting your dog bite people repeatedly. These people should not (1) have a dog that has a history of behavior problems and (2) probably should just not own a pet.

    1. fposte*

      I think that a lot of people don’t realize that “out among humans” is a pretty stressful thing for even a well-socialized dog, and it’s hell for one that isn’t.

      1. Rachael*

        Exactly. I had to stop taking him for walks when there were a lot of joggers or men walking around (his trigger was being around strange men) and put him in other rooms when people were over (since he would get nervous). Sometimes, it is better emotionally for a dog to be away from people. People think that since dogs are pack animals that they need to always be around people. Especially when they have been abused. I argue that they just need to feel secure around their own “pack”.

        1. [insert witty username here]*

          Yup. We have a fear-reactive/aggressive dog with a bite history. We installed gates so we can contain him when needed. When training him, if it’s just me and my husband home, he whines for a while when he’s gated/separated from us. But if someone else is in the house, he is fine being gated, because he knows he’s safe and they won’t come bother him. My friend and I worked on a project for hours one time while he stayed gated and we didn’t hear a peep out of him – he was comfortable because he was close enough to know he was near me, but felt safe from the “stranger danger.”

  23. [insert witty username here]*

    This makes my heart hurt; for the people who have been bitten, for the people working in fear in their office, for responsible dog owners (clearly not these people), and for that poor dog. If you take on the responsibility and liability of owning a reactive dog, you are responsible not only for keeping other people around him safe, but for setting the dog up for success. Taking him somewhere where he is not comfortable and feels unsafe (ie, your office) is NOT setting him up for success. If they absolutely have to have him there, the dog needs to be restrained behind two barriers where he can’t get to people so the employees (and anyone else who comes into the office) don’t feel afraid.

    A dog trainer I once worked with taught me, in regards to barriers/restraints for dogs who have a bite history, “two is one and one is none,” meaning you should have two barriers between your dog and anyone else, because you have to assume one barrier could fail. So if they keep the dog in their office, the dog should be kept behind a sturdy gate and also on a leash (if the owner is in the gated area with them) or a tether. Or on a leash with a muzzle (dogs can be trained to be very comfortable with muzzles!). Or in a crate within a gated area (this would probably be best for an office). It sounds as if they might not be restraining the dog at all.

    This poor dog is going to be taken by the city/county and euthanized and it doesn’t have to be this way. These employees should not have to work in fear of this dog. This is not a dog that should be in an office, but there are solutions if these people were smart, responsible dog owners. These people are going to get sued, and I don’t say this lightly, but rightfully so! They are being negligent and irresponsible. These are only the bites OP knows about; I wonder if any others have happened outside the office?

    OP, I’m so sorry for this situation and I hope these owners can come to their senses.

    1. AMT*

      The silly thing is that this is problem so easily fixable! A dog gate is cheap. A crate is cheap. A tether is cheap. Any combination of these things would take an hour at max to set up. But none of this is relevant because the co-founders have no problem endangering their employees. Even if the dog got hit by a bus tomorrow, these are not people OP should ever, ever want to work with. I can’t imagine that having such callous people in charge has no other impact on the workplace. This is toxic, with or without the dog.

  24. lior*

    Agreed that these bosses are terrible dog owners and should not have this dog (or any dog). What occurred to me, though, was that if the dog destroys furniture, would it be so difficult to put him in a crate while they’re at work?

  25. Like The City*

    I hope that the OP was able to find a new job and that the dog got the help it needed. It’s sad to me that some people don’t realize how valuable obedience training is. For any dog, but especially one that you’re claiming to rehabilitate. Dogs are definitely a product of their environment and they do what they’re taught. If they’re never taught to behave better and are taught that biting (3!) people is okay, then that’s what they do.

    I live with a real life example of this: my dog and one of her brothers. These dogs are half Lab/half German Shepherd. So, high-energy and very intelligent. I’ve had my dog since she was 8 weeks old, she has been socialized extensively with people and other dogs since then. She’s been in formal obedience training since she was 10 weeks old. (A Level 1 obedience class and a Level 2 so far.) She’s very well-mannered, walks great on a leash and is overall confident and happy. Her brother went to someone who bought the dog for their child who evidently was not ready for a dog. He spent the majority of his life left in his crate for 12-14 hours a day, most days. He was never socialized and never taught anything. The woman who got him for her child eventually decided to rehome him, which is how my sister and her boyfriend ended up with him. The difference in their behavior is astounding. He’s got a long way to go but he’s already showing progress!

    1. AlsoGF*

      However, for a fear reactive/aggressive dog, obedience training can be extremely stressful and triggering, particularly if there are other people/dogs. What they really need is a behaviorist to assess the behavior and lay out a plan. And then do the groundwork. Obedience training isn’t realistic in this case until the dog both trusts its owners and stops being so reactive. This can be a slow process and success isn’t guaranteed, sadly.

  26. Ermintrude Mulholland*

    We had this situation at my last job. Part of our mission involved working to stop dog abuse, and one of the directors ended up adopting one of the dogs that our investigators rescued. We were a hugely dog friendly office, and even we had huge troubles as he grew to an adult dog. I think about three people got bitten as his mood would flip on a dime. A dog behaviourist was brought in but largely annoyed everyone by saying it was our fault for being scared of a big dog (we weren’t remotely scared until he started biting people!).

    In the end our boss had to pay for the behaviourist to care for him at home. We all loved dogs but he hated the office and it was destroying staff morale.

    1. [insert witty username here]*

      UGH! I commented above it’s sad how many inadequate dog owners there are in the world, but bad trainers and behaviorists exist too!!!! This one doesn’t sound great (I’ve worked closely with 3 trainers for my dogs – one was good, but nothing special, the second sounds like the behaviorist you describe, and our current one is outstanding). Just because someone is certified as a trainer or behaviorist doesn’t make them good at their job.

      1. Ermintrude Mulholland*

        Our poor boss was really upset about the whole thing, and really wanted it to work out. Everyone felt really bad for them but – yeah. To be honest, given his background as a puppy, we didn’t even blame the dog. But we didn’t want him at work either :o Unlike our other very lovely office dogs.

  27. smoke tree*

    I was in a similar situation once, except it was the office intern’s dog that kept biting people and barking at visitors. Says something about the level of passive aggression at that place that no one ever told her to leave the dog at home, even though after she left everyone (including the owner!) kept talking about how relieved they were not to have to deal with the dog anymore.

    1. WellRed*

      What is wrong with your office that an INTERN was allowed to have a dog at all, let alone an aggressive one?

      1. AMT*

        I wouldn’t be surprised if the perk of being a dog-friendly office was extended to interns, but I’m VERY surprised that the owner didn’t feel comfortable telling her to knock it off. I’m guessing that this was just one of many problems that dynamic created.

        1. smoke tree*

          It actually wasn’t a dog-friendly office at all. She just started bringing her dog in because she didn’t like to leave it at home and no one wanted to tell her to knock it off. (This is also an office where they have stealth-fired employees by just not assigning them any tasks for months on end and hoping they got the hint.)

          1. smoke tree*

            Forgot to mention that they also had a few allergic employees who were not happy about the dog’s presence either. And the intern would often use office hallways to throw balls for her dog, or leave the office at miscellaneous times, so we would have to make sure it didn’t escape the building trying to find her.

          2. tangerineRose*

            If they kept paying the employees for doing nothing, I wonder how many people just figured this was a worthwhile job anyway? I know it would get boring though.

          3. GreyjoyGardens*

            Oh boy, that sounds dysfunctional af. I wonder how many people thought “they’re going to pay me to do nothing but surf Facebook and YouTube all day? Yippee! A sinecure!”

    2. Is This How We End Up On 20/20?*

      The whole point of dog friendly offices is to make everyone aware Pup is only welcome when she/he behaves well.

  28. Is This How We End Up On 20/20?*

    I wonder what instructions these dingleberry owners even had or if they’re full on ignoring them. Any rescue who is reputable and has a real mission to rehabilitate these dogs has explicit instructions about Poopers must be the only dog, no cats, no kids etc. They evaluate and know a dog before placing them.

    They’re also supposed to vet the adopters. These idiots clearly shouldn’t be in charge of the dog’s life or their employees.

    I’m so enraged. I’m a person who leans towards animals more than people. But only because I’m like Snow White and Cinderella, we just get each other. I still in no way want a person harmed because a dog isn’t suitable for multiple human interaction. Send him to a farm. He needs a good life that suits him not some frigging office.

    1. [insert witty username here]*

      Agree so hard.

      On the flip side, there are a lot of people who think rescues go “overboard” in vetting people and the contracts they make adopters sign. The owners in this letter are EXACTLY why rescues have to write such strict contracts and do intensive background checks! Not all people are responsible/smart enough to own dogs, much less fear-reactive/aggressive ones. The rescue has to look out for the dog’s best interest. If the contract is not maintained, the rescue is then able to step in and take the dog back so someone can care for it properly – which includes keeping the dog from harming anyone.

      1. Is This How We End Up On 20/20?*

        I wasn’t able to jump through the hoops I tried to when trying to adopt a cat a couple years ago due to extra strict paperwork involved. I was sad but got it. Thankfully a preggers mama cat bedded down at my cousin’s last summer so I got to sort of rescue a cat that way. He’s rescued from going somewhere who wouldn’t fix him and build him a giant cat fort in my living room, trololol.

        But rescue dogs seem to be a badge of honor some people crave and they do not understand it’s like taking in an abused kid or fostering kids in general. You have a dog who needs special attention and guidance, also still a dog and their natural instinct is to protect themselves. They don’t know Johnny in accounting isn’t going to try to starve or fight him. Heck so many dogs will grow aggressive towards men or women depending on the level of ef’ed up things these people do to them.

        1. fposte*

          They don’t even have to have been abused, just lived lives of scarcity and little socialization, or of people ignoring their less-drastic cues (that’s really common with small dogs).

          1. Is This How We End Up On 20/20?*

            That’s true. I forget the darlings who are neglected and shoved into purses as accessories. Then left to run around and fend for themselves :(

            1. GreyjoyGardens*

              I think that’s how chihuahuas in particular get a bad name. They’re treated like toys or pampered babies instead of actual small DOGS and then people wonder why they’ve gotten stuck with little furry Napoleons.

              I’ve known lots of wonderful, sweet small dogs, and the difference is that they are treated like DOGS and not toys or spoilt children.

    2. AlsoGF*

      Everyone is dogging on the owners (see what I did there) abut it’s also entirely possible that they are completely overwhelmed and not sure what to do. They may be so blinded by loving the dog and wanting to “save” it that they are not looking at the situation objectively. They may be looking at the ER bite as a one time thing and excusing the others. That is absolutely not ok. They need to protect their employees and other people. Full stop. But they may not see any available options to them. They can’t leave the dog home alone, they don’t want to give the dog up, depending on separation anxiety/fear aggression doggy day care may not be an option. We don’t know what area the LW is in but behaviorists are hard to find even in metropolitan areas. Very few dog trainers are equipped to deal with these types of situations. Many trainers still use “alpha” methods of training which is the exact last thing that should be done in this situation. So although the owners are going about this all wrong, I can see where they would have ended up here, and I don’t think that makes them monsters who should never own ANY dog. I say this as someone who has had many dogs over the years, including one who had been previously abused. Trust me when I say it is a very different situation. These people are in over their heads and they need to act before something even worse happens. I agree with others that the situation needs to be reported.

  29. The Vulture*

    I once had a boss who brought his dog with him to a party hosted by his boss. And his dog killed his boss’s daughter’s kitten! And then he brought his dog with him to a party hosted by his boss AGAIN, AFTER THAT. I don’t think the dog was mistreated (this guy liked his dog to kill groundhogs, so he probably was very dangerous to small creatures but the dog didn’t seem aggressive towards humans or bored or mean or anything) but as you might guess he was a dude with a HUGE LACK OF BOUNDARIES. He was a dude with WILLFUL LACK OF UNDERSTANDING OF BOUNDARIES, first THAT THEY EXIST, and then, if clearly iterated, WHY THEY EXIST, and finally, WHAT KIND OF THING IS OKAY TO DO if you didn’t LIKE the boundary.

    The kind of person who is not PERMANENTLY, FOREVER AND EVER shamed by their dog doing any biting or something like this is someone you cannot trust, in any sense. Even if the dog is not mistreated, even if they are great, loving, perfect dog owners. They are not good people people.

    1. Is This How We End Up On 20/20?*


      Many dogs can accidentally kill smaller animals just because their size comparison to a kitten and their strength. One of many reasons we have smaller dogs and yet my mini Schnauzer murdered a few small ducklings. We cooped them up but they squeezed out :( :( he wasn’t being aggressive, just picked duckies up in his mouth and brought them to us all “hey I found this!”

      So the dog def isn’t a danger in the sense of keeping him locked down but holy crap know the surroundings. This is why you never bring dogs to unfamiliar houses. Poor baby kitty cat and traumatic to the daughter.

      1. Red Reader*

        Yep, my bloodhound/retriever mix brought my husband a baby bunny that she found last summer. Husband was not even a little pleased about being handed a baby bunny in need of euthanasia. (And the stupid rabbits haven’t learned and keep nesting in my damn yard.)

    2. Lady Phoenix*

      No no no no. You do not bring up a story about some idiot bringing his small animal killing dog TWICE and not follow up.

      Did his boss give the dude a verbal smack dow ? Was he fired? Was he kicked out of the party?


      1. The Vulture*

        The second time, he cornered the 16-year-0ld daughter and got her to agree that she was “fine” with him bringing his dog again (of course, the dog, and him, were already there are this point). He was not kicked out of the party! Nor fired.

        The big boss/party-hosting boss was always a super sweet guy, and, I’m told, made an extra effort before this to be nice and friendly to this dude because he was a WEIRD DUDE and didn’t have friends. I only heard about this particular incident from weird dude boss, because he didn’t have boundaries/the sense to know this was an wild, super inappropriate thing to do, so I have no idea how big boss reacted, because he was too appropriate to talk about it with this dude’s intern, though I would love to know about it from his perspective. However, it did turn out that Weird Dude Boss was also Creepy Harassment Boss, so a full 6 months after I left, I ended up reporting him for sexual harassment. There were investigators, very official, big gov’t agency, who reported back to me that they concluded there WAS harassment/inappropriate behavior (…thanks?…) and he was still working there a year or two at least after that. It’s been 7 years or so and I checked recently and he’s not STILL there but, yeah, not fired, or, at least, it took a VERY LONG TIME.

        1. Cornflower Blue*

          My gosh, I wonder what sort of pressure he put on that poor girl to make her agree. I would have been more likely to go after him with a machete if he tried to return after being responsible for the death of my furbaby.

          Also I am really sorry to hear about your boss being a creepy harasser, urgh. I hope that karma came for him HARD since it apparently took its time over getting him fired for the harassment+bad judgment.

  30. Peregrin*

    Chiming in on reporting this dog to Animal Control.

    The serial biting is not the only clue that the owners have no business owning a dog. The horrible gas indicates a poor diet, or a more serious problem that may require veterinary attention. This animal is not getting any of the help it needs, and in the meantime people are in danger.

  31. Lilliput*

    I feel uniquely compelled to respond to this. I own a grooming business for small dogs only. I love dogs and volunteer a lot of time at the shelters and other organizations. I really love dogs, and feel for those animals who were betrayed by horrible abusive humans. However, if a dog cannot be rehabilitated, and some cannot, the right thing to do here is to OBVIOUSLY keep the dog from humans they could potentially bite and if that is not an option, Im a firm believer in euthanizing such animals. Unless you are willing to quarantine them away from harming humans at all times, assuming rehabilitation is unsuccessful, we should not keep animals like that alive.

    1. Clorinda*

      It’s a sad thought, but you are right. There’s no way to guarantee that a biter will never have the chance to bite again, so the animal is bound to be put down eventually; the only question is how many people/other animals get hurt in the meantime.

    2. I'm A Little TeaPot*

      Agreed. What’s worse – a sad, unhappy life, or a peaceful death?

  32. Miss Elaine e.*

    This whole thing gives me the heebie-jeebies:
    I’m not a dog person myself and am terrified of big and/or aggressive dogs.
    I live not very far from a home which made the national news here in the U.S. a year or two ago — a jogger was out for his afternoon run and two dogs got loose from a neighboring house and fatally attacked him. The dogs were euthanized and the owners, who happened to be immigrants, were deported. I can’t imagine a worse way to leave this earth — the man knew he was dying…
    For goodness sakes, please give us an update, preferably one in which the OP has moved on to another job and the owners no longer have the poor dog. They don’t deserve it, IMHO anyway.

  33. SorryWhatNow?*

    Isn’t this why the actor of Abby Scuito on NCIS just quit? The executive producer kept bringing in his dog and someone ended up with stitches at least once.

  34. Anon.*

    Inc.’s new header the most annoying thing I’ve seen in a while. On my iPhone, it covers up 75% of the screen, and here on my desktop, it’s still the first three inches of Chrome window, you can’t close it, and…it contains zero content. Not even a photo. lol

  35. Altagracia*

    Once, I was running some documents down to an attorney’s office, walked in the door, and a dog lunged at me and started barking. I had no idea there would be a dog in the office, plus I’m a little anxious around dogs (got attacked by one as a child), so I was dancing backward and trying not to climb the lobby furniture when the attorney walked in. He laughed indulgently, said “Oh, he wouldn’t hurt a fly, you must have startled him!” The dog was still barking when I left, and when I got back to my office, I let my boss know that I would not be hand-delivering anything else to that attorney. She said that the dog was known to be aggressive, but that the attorney refused to believe anything bad about him.

    Two months later, I glanced at a local attorney news bulletin–that attorney was no longer practicing at his old firm, and was indeed suspended for several months, with a reprimand on his record. Why? His dog attacked a client, right there in his office. I believe he ended up paying her medical bills.

  36. Michaela Westen*

    I know this is an older post, but it suggests something that the dog has gas. He needs a change in his diet so he’ll be more comfortable, and care from a good vet.
    If he has a tummy ache most of the time, that probably adds to his crankiness! Poor guy.
    However, I agree it’s inappropriate of the founders to expect their employees to put up with this.

  37. HermioneMe*

    Wouldn’t these be considered Worker’s Compensation injuries since the bites happened at work? There is no information about that from the LW, so just wondering if the employees who were bitten filed Worker’s Comp claims?

  38. nonprofit fun*

    Yikes – they value their furniture more than other people. OP, just call Animal Control. These people are ridiculous.

Comments are closed.