Man put his St Bernard down, fearing it was a ticking time bomb when becoming aggressive

Sharon Herrington, heartbroken and concerned for public safety, made the difficult decision to euthanize her beloved ten and a half stone St Bernard, Bear.

Sharon Herrington, a devastated dog owner, had to make the difficult decision to euthanize her St Bernard, referred to as a “ticking time bomb.” She is now urging potential buyers to exercise caution.

Concerned about Bear’s potential for a fatal attack, weighing 10 stone and having already bitten two strangers, Sharon prioritized the safety of her family. She and her husband Cyril Herrington, aged 65, adopted Bear at the age of one after his previous owners surrendered him due to health issues.

Initially, there were no indications of aggression, but within a short span of six weeks, Bear began lunging at people. Despite being experienced dog owners and having owned two St Bernards before, the couple dedicated over a year to rehabilitating Bear.

Unfortunately, they concluded that he was beyond recovery, leading them to the difficult decision of euthanasia. Sharon believes that the aggressive behavior stems from poor breeding practices and advises potential buyers to thoroughly investigate the bloodlines before making a purchase.

She said: “He was like a ticking time bomb – we were scared he would launch a full-blown attack on someone. I couldn’t trust him enough to have the grandchildren in the house.”

Man put his St Bernard down, fearing it was a ticking time bomb when becoming aggressive
Image: Sharon Herrington 
Man put his St Bernard down, fearing it was a ticking time bomb when becoming aggressive
Image: Sharon Herrington

Sharon expressed her deep anguish, describing the situation without her beloved dog as horrendous. She and her family were heartbroken by the necessity of their decision, but they believed it was the responsible course of action. The absence of their energetic and affectionate canine companion created a significant void in their lives.

Having four children, the couple decided to adopt a St Bernard due to the breed’s typically docile nature. However, after Bear’s behavior shifted, Sharon sought assistance and guidance online. Despite attempting anti-aggression training, their efforts proved unsuccessful in addressing Bear’s behavioral changes.

Through a community known as “St Bernards With Issues,” Sharon gained knowledge that the aggression in Bear was likely inherited. Reflecting on her previous experiences with St Bernards, Sharon mentioned how her children could freely interact and climb on them.

“They’re a gentle, loving, breed, and that’s why people buy them. You could definitely tell that it was genetic and not behavioural [with Bear], because nothing made it better.”

Approximately four weeks after bringing Bear into their home, Sharon recalls an incident where he targeted their eldest son. Subsequently, Bear stood on his hind legs and snapped at Cyril while he attempted to intervene in a scuffle between Bear and another dog.

Man put his St Bernard down, fearing it was a ticking time bomb when becoming aggressive
Sharon Herrington

After Bear’s aggressive incidents escalated, including biting a neighbor’s guest and attacking a plumber on March 15, the couple recognized the need for decisive action. They faced an incredibly difficult choice but ultimately made the heartbreaking decision to euthanize Bear on March 29. Sharon acknowledged that if aggression is ingrained in a dog’s DNA, there may be limited options for remedying the situation.

As a passionate animal lover, Sharon expressed deep sadness not only for Bear but also for other dogs who face similar outcomes.

“Bear had fear aggression – that’s genetic. It means they have a fight response to everyday situations that they can’t control.”

Sharon and Cyril have since welcomed Rosie, a six-year-old St Bernard, into their family. They adopted Rosie from the St Bernard Trust as a rescue dog, providing her with a loving home and a fresh start.

Sharon said: “There are some great breeders out there, but also a lot who only care about the pound signs. Ask to see the mum and the dad with the pups – if they don’t let you do that it’s a definite warning sign.”

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