But Gilbert, along with five other dogs flown into Dallas earlier this week, was spared that fate. They're now in the care of the SPCA of Texas, the first of 250 dogs scheduled to taste freedom for the first time in North America.
The only catch is that when Gilbert arrived, he didn't know the first thing about being a dog.
He'd been in Dallas for only a day when he was offered a walk in the grass outside his kennel.
He just froze up.