I live in a residential neighborhood filled with children, couples with no children, single women, and retirees. We’re a real mixed demographic and it’s quite lovely in most regards. What drives me crazy, however, is the tendency for everyone to believe with their whole wonderful hearts that their dogs are perfect and obedient and cute and, therefore, do not need to abide by the leash law when they let the dogs out the front door to relieve themselves...usually in someone else’s yard. Of course. That’s just dog logic.
Perfect and obedient are not always the case, though cute often is. In fact, perfect and obedient rarely occurr. I no longer take my dog walking on her leash up the street because she has been attacked twice and scared witless by big old friendly dogs rushing up to her. We don’t deal well with rushing dogs. Especially the ones with jaws snapping and hackles raised. Fortunately, MacKenzie hasn’t been harmed with more than a couple of scratches. Unless you count the trauma, of course. She is terrified to walk up the street. Because she is very little and the other neighborhood dogs are very big.
This evening, I was in the process of dragging my trash barrel to the curb when the dog across the street...a black lab...came charging across the street with his hackles raised, his tail straight out, his ears flat back, showing his teeth and snarling. He wasn’t joking around. He meant it. And he came right for me. We did quite a fancy dance out by the street. He chased me in circles with his jaws snapping, while I turned circles, keeping my trash barrel between him and me. His owner shrieked at him and called him and scolded him and finally grabbed him. She did not say a word to me. I think I said something like, “I guess he doesn’t like me.” Yeah, understatement there.
I returned to the house shaking like a leaf. No apology, no nothing. Just...nothing. I don’t think an apology would have made me feel all that much better, but it would have been good to have some sort of acknowledgment that her dog had done a bad dangerous thing and she has absolutely no control over him. You know, it’s only a matter of time before one of the kids in the neighborhood gets mauled. I don’t know what set the dog off, if anything did in particular. It’s the third time in a month that he’s chased people that I’m aware of. Once was my friend across the street who got out of her car in my driveway. The other time happened a day or two before the lad left for New York. He was crossing the street after carrying some heavy stuff for another neighbor. The dog chased him home and scared both of us. Again, while his owner stood helplessly by yelling at him as he totally ignored her. There is something not quite right with that dog, not the least of it being an overly permissive owner.
What would you do in this situation? I don’t know. I would like the dog restrained at all times. A leash. It’s the law anyway. A fenced in yard. You know, a few of us with dogs went to the expense of picket fencing our yards in. In my case, as much to protect my dogs as to keep my dogs from wandering. Terry’s middle name was Wander and MacKenzie is basically terrified of anything that moves and apparently looks like easy pickings to larger dogs. Why is it that other people think they and their dogs are so special, even when events suggest otherwise? Why, why, why? I don’t need a leg full of stitches, thank you. Nor do any of the neighborhood small fry need facial reconstruction. This is nuts. Irresponsible even. And stupid. Let’s not forget stupid, either. I’m upset.
Am working from home today since internet is down in the area where the office is--a novelty to be sure and I am finding it hard to focus!! ;)
Just read this and Kate, much as you may hate to, I think you absolutely have to report this person to whomever the right person is. We have a dog officer here, not sure what you have there. But you will never forgive yourself if this animal hurts some little kid or someone less agile and savy than you were.
Really. Explain it to them, exactly as you wrote above and also make it clear you really do not want to start a neighborhood uprising but that it needs to be addressed before someone is badly hurt.
Do it. Now. Today.
Back to work....... ;(
I do hope you have taken the advice of the previous writer. Action needs to be taken. I have a big dog, who is very friendly, but I do not allow her to run free because just her size would frighten people. It is unfortunate there are irresponsible dog owners, which requires others, such as you, to take responsibility for the safety of others.
I have enjoyed your blog for a long time, decided it was time to not just be a ‘lurker.’
Thanks for sharing on your blog!
Mona, welcome. Thank you for delurking and saying howdy. It’s nice to see you.
Well, a couple of days after I wrote this post, the dog chased after a little girl from up the street. She was out practicing her skateboarding in the street and the dog took after her. She had the presence of mind to scramble up on top of a car parked on the side of the street. Her daddy happened to be outside doing yard work and heard her screaming Daddy, Daddy, Daddy while the dog was jumping and leaping against the side of the car, snarling and barking. (Daddy was outside doing yard work.) The dog’s owner hauled the dog in the house, but she and the dad had an intense confrontation over it.
He and I had a chat later. I told him it wasn’t the first incident nor the second and we decided to talk with the animal control officer. For his part, he said he didn’t give a rip if she knew that he reported her. So we did. Since the dog has not bitten anyone, he can’t be removed from the premises, but his owner has apparently been given a strong warning and told that the next infraction involves fines...unless the dog bites someone. Then it’s quarantine and probation (the dog could be put down in the worst case). The dog doesn’t get out of quarantine until the yard is fenced in and inspected. And the owner pays for the quarantine room and board, as well.
I’d rather have the quarantine now than after the dog has bitten someone. It would force her to be responsible now instead after after damage has been done.
Yesterday, the woman and her dog were out in their front yard playing with no leash in sight. The dog’s mama watched carefully to make sure no one was coming or going on the street, but that also meant that I couldn’t walk out my front door without a weapon or body armor.
Some people are, evidently, so slow on the uptake that it takes catastrophe to penetrate their thick skulls. She’s been reported once and it’s only making her cautious. Caution is not a substitute for a sturdy leash or a fence.
I have to say it...she’s the one who had all the teabagger signs in front of her house this past election cycle. Why am I so not surprised?
If a dog cannot remain within their own yard and be verbally controlled it should not be allowed to run lose! Whe I lived in Tahoe no one had fences, but dogs bascially stayed put in their space. If they didn’t they were ultra friendly to one and all. Now I live in the suburbs where a lose dog is a stray dog and will be picked up. I am sorry that your neighbors are so insensitive! I would say something to them.