POLL: Put down without permission

Anger over Max's shock demise

MAX was a victim of the RSPCA's temperament test when he was impounded in May.

The pointer was handed to Dog Rescue Newcastle last year after his owners went travelling overseas long-term.

He spent a few weeks with foster carers Geoff Davidson and his wife, Annette, before joining the Leybourne family household in Cessnock.

Mr Davidson described Max as a "big, gentle giant" but in May 2012 his life was cut short.

"He escaped from his yard, not for the first time, and ended up at RSPCA Rutherford," he said.

"They agreed to hold him a few days over the normal 14-day statutory period to allow the owner time to get money to get him out."

When Mr Davidson heard Max was with the RSPCA he tried to contact them on May 24 to find out how he was doing.

He was told Max wasn't there but was also told only the owner, Sarah Leybourne, could reclaim the dog.

Ms Leybourne went to the RSPCA the next day and was told Max had been put down a few days earlier after failing a temperament test.

"They've killed him and they didn't tell her either," Mr Davidson said. "It's just terrible. No way was he aggressive; allegedly he was put down because he was being aggressive to other dogs."

Mr Davidson believes the temperament test used by RSPCA NSW is not a fair assessment for dogs.

He said Max would have been "stressing out" in the pound.

"But they would have thought it was business as usual," he said.

"The test isn't in the dogs' natural environment.

"They're getting killed for natural behaviours, like barking and jumping around."

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