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I have kept a ~50 lb Husky/GSD named George for several months now. He was originally kept by an animal hoarder with 50 other dogs. Although he was initially very timid, he became moderately reactive as he grew to become more self-assured while living with me. I was ignorant about how difficult and expensive even a relatively low-key reactive dog could be and promised to adopt him. I really like George, but I realized he isn't a fit for my lifestyle, and needs to be returned. I let the agency know that I wanted to return him to them on October 14th, however, they still haven't found a foster home for him.

This is a problem for me, because I don't have the time to give him the minimum hour of exercise per day he needs and deserves because I adopted a female Husky/Cattle-dog named Ginger from the same agency that needs the same amount of time. George cannot be taken to the dog park or walked with the other dog because he nips new dogs that approach too rambunctiously (so far, never hard enough to draw blood) and will constantly lightly pull during walks, just light enough his martengale collar doesn't choke him (he will escape a normal collar). I tried to leash-train him for several weeks, but my college work got unexpectedly hectic and I had to stop. So, I've been prioritizing the exercise of the dog I actually own while assuming that George will have a new foster home in a short amount of time.

I have also seen George kill a juvenile robin, and eat a mouse. He is probably responsible for killing two wild rabbits as well, but I am not completely sure that they weren't victims of Ginger. I haven't seen her hurt anything, though she is big enough for it, and used to be a stray. I had promised to foster George until he was adopted, but since he and Ginger have escaped my fence several times, I felt like I couldn't provide a safe home for him. I have fixed the issue with my fence, but I still can't exercise him enough, and this is what I think caused the escape attempts in the first place. I assume Ginger just went along because he is part of her pack, and I'm sure she enjoyed it too.

George is a really playful, and clearly wants to be loved even if he is anxious about people or other dogs hurting him. I have paid for his collar, leash, and food out of my own pocket. I know the agency does a lot of good work, and I don't want to get in the way of that. However, I am unsure of how to approach this situation. I have asked how the search for a new foster is going twice. The first time I was asked if he was completely house-trained and needed another dog in the house (both no), I asked again about a week later last Sunday, and haven't received a reply.

I understand the agency is probably busy, but I feel bad for George. I want him in a home that can meet his needs. I want him to be able to run around and enjoy life.

How should I approach this situation?

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Talk to the agency.

There are a lot of variables, but in most/many cases the agency legally owns the animal that you are fostering.

In the eyes of the law (again in many/most cases) the animal is property like a car. The liability for actions is similar.

Optimally they will find a new foster home, before your date. If they can't they are still obligated to take possession of their property.

If they have a facility (like a county animal shelter) take the dog to them. Let them know ahead of time that you will be delivering the dog at a specific date/time.

It is harsh to talk about animals as property, but sadly that is the legal case in most places.

If the agency does not legally own the animal and/or refuses to take the dog on your date. You are left with no alternative but to begin rehoming tasks as the owner of the dog.

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  • I thought we had a post about how to rehome dogs, but it is not jumping out at me. If anyone knows where it is we should add the link to my answer. – James Jenkins Nov 7 '19 at 12:53

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