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Canine problems
Old 08-13-2009, 07:28 PM   #1
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Canine problems

Well, it finally happened. During my routine “evening walk the dog” to and around a park close to home we were attacked by a german shepard. The owner takes it off leash in the park even though he clearly doesn’t have control of the dog. The dog saw us before the owner (at least 50 yards), attacked my dog, and the totally winded owner managed to catch up to the three of us quite a bit later. A couple of bites (german shaphard to my shiba) that did no harm due to the thick shiba coat and my intervention.

The first words out of is mouth – “don’t worry, there’s no danger” and I lost my temper, saying something unrepeatable in this forum – but along the lines of “only an idiot would say something like that after his dog just attacked with obvious intent and is still uncontrolled”.

In this park we have had encounters previously with this and two other dogs frequently off leash (doberman, boxer) and always politely demand they put the dogs on leash, so I was not totally surprised this happened.

Tomorrow I’m calling the local police animal control to discuss and ask for guidance. Any other suggestions?

Not sure what the FIRE connection is – but if I were working I wouldn’t be walking the dog...
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Old 08-13-2009, 07:35 PM   #2
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How about pepper spray - first the dog, then the owner.
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Old 08-13-2009, 07:45 PM   #3
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Good for you for pursuing this. We have owned dogs -- including a Doberman -- and never let them off leash except in dog parks, where they were well socialized. We have been dog-attack from time to time similar to you.

Around here, I've seen dog walkers carrying small stun batons. Pepper is hard to use well in the struggle of the moment, and you'll likely end up peppering your own dog, if not yourself.

Hope they at least fine the guy.
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Old 08-13-2009, 07:50 PM   #4
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A stun baton is your best bet if legal in your community. Pepper spray will go everywhere.

Just be sure to ask what type of defense you can use when you talk to animal control. You don't want a suit filed against you.

If you have enough info, file a report on the lame brain.
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Old 08-13-2009, 08:36 PM   #5
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I carry bear spray while walking for dogs. Ive had about 3 situations in my lifetime that required me to get physical with loose animals. 2 dog situations and 1 bear. Id rather not carry a sidearm so I compromised. Im not going to stun baton a bear..
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Old 08-13-2009, 08:46 PM   #6
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Most definitely call animal control, and if you ever see the dog's owner again, tell him you're contacting a lawyer too--that would scare me into restraining my dog even more than pepper spray or a stun baton!
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:04 PM   #7
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I carry bear spray while walking for dogs. Ive had about 3 situations in my lifetime that required me to get physical with loose animals. 2 dog situations and 1 bear. Id rather not carry a sidearm so I compromised. Im not going to stun baton a bear..
Sounds like a good story...
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:16 PM   #8
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Sounds like a good story...

Not much of a story. DW and I were on a walk. Small bear in Tahoe came towards us. We yelled and managed to scare it off. But what if it didn't buy the ruse? Got the adrenaline pumping. I carry bear spray from now on. I just prefer to not to do things hand to fang with an animal. At least that is my hope without carrying a firearm.

A can of bear spray is fairly light to not impede your walk. A small firearm is not so heavy either.

Peace of mind? Worthless? I dont know. I know the feeling of helplessness of facing a wild animal that close.
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:22 PM   #9
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How about pepper spray - first the dog, then the owner.
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A stun baton is your best bet if legal in your community.
What part of the anatomy do you aim for?

Please specify if the answer would be different between the dog and the owner...
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:29 PM   #10
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What part of the anatomy do you aim for?

Please specify if the answer would be different between the dog and the owner...
A dog...on the nose or on top of the head. An owner...well it depends on the gender....
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Old 08-13-2009, 09:45 PM   #11
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A dog...on the nose or on top of the head. An owner...well it depends on the gender....

Why would gender matter? Wont that hurt either way?
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Old 08-13-2009, 11:00 PM   #12
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When I was in college I was walking to my night class and was attacked by 3 collies running loose. One of them bit me several times on the upper thigh and back of the knee. All I had for defense was my bookbag with a heavy book inside and I swung it at them and they took off. I'm lucky they didn't knock me down or it could have been much worse.

The owner wasn't with them but they ran straight home so I went to the door and told them what happened. I wanted to make sure they had their rabies vaccinations, which they did.

I called the police and filed a report and took myself to the ER. I didn't need any stitches but I got a tetanus shot. Talking to others in the neighborhood I found out that these dogs were often allowed to run loose and had bitten before.

When I went into work I spoke to the company lawyer (and showed him my puncture wounds and spectacular purple and black bruises) and he said I had a good case for suing. He recommended a friend and I filed a lawsuit. A few months later we settled. The lawyer thought a settlement was a good idea since this was a rural county and dog bites are pretty common and although it was a traumatic incident for me, it wasn't worth much money.

I thought the owners would be paying but it turns out that their homeowners insurance covered it. I was young and naive and didn't really know how these things work.

I'm glad your dog was ok. I was pretty shaky around any dog for a while. Now I'm just extra cautious if one if not on a leash and I'll avoid it.
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Old 08-13-2009, 11:23 PM   #13
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We have a few in our area that tend to monopolize the little parks with their dogs running off the leash.

I suspect they often don't even realize how much of a problem they cause because others just avoid the park. Even if it does look like a friendly lab playing fetch you don't want to deal with it so turn around and go home with plans to take your dog back out later.

These people also don't realize it's not always their dog being friendly, my dog doesn't like other dogs. They can sputter all they want as their dog trots up to mine about how don't worry their dog is nice but hey bro my dog ain't so we have a problem.
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Old 08-14-2009, 12:52 AM   #14
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Ugh. As a dog owner I HATE stories like these, because it's a people problem, but the dogs get blamed. (OK, that shepherd can get blamed, too).

We have a lab that's been bitten and attacked at parks, including a playground where there were kids playing and the other owners had their Golden off-leash. He charged over and sliced open Lilly's shoulder. I was furious and insisted they leash him immediately. They protested, saying that they were "playing ball" and that he was "really gentle." I showed them the slice on my dog's shoulder and was "really firm" in my insistence that their dog be leashed. I should have gotten their information and sent them the $200 vet bill after the cut got infected.

Turns out they live in the same complex that we do. When I'm out with my dog, they now cross the street.

But yeah, we run into this a lot in our area, too. I've realized that my standards for "well-behaved" and "under verbal or physical control" are considered ridiculously high by most dog owners in our area. It's because I consider "control" to be: your dog stays at your side or comes immediately when called. Others in this area seem to feel that it means "your dog is in a 1/4-mile radius around you at most times."

However, they fall well below the standards for our local obedience club.

DH and I are seriously considering asking our local parks for an off-leash permit system, where your dog has to pass a standardized behavior test -- like the AKC's Canine Good Citizen Test -- in order for you to have off-leash priviledges.

And don't think that complaints to Animal control go unnoticed. One of our favorite parks has had it's off-leash hours VERY strictly enforced as of late, since neighbors were complaining to the park rangers about off-leash dogs during on-leash hours.
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:03 AM   #15
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Wow, this is stuff I never have to deal with, as we have 4 fenced acres for our dogs and do not take them to these dog parks.
I did have a couple of foster puppies recently that I took to the local off leash dog park and I could definitely see the kinds of situations y'all describe.
People are oblivious to their dogs (and for that matter kids--though kids usually don't bite me) bad behavior.
I would certainly carry a small weapon--I think they make very small taser-type things you could use. Or you could at least make sure the guy sees you walking while carrying a nice sized aluminum baseball bat.
I'm interested in the legal situation that would arise from one dog biting another dog. I know that a person getting bit (like what happened to Sue) is actionable, but can the other owner be held responsible for the fight between dogs?
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:32 AM   #16
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Interesting and supportive comments. Thanks. Nothing to update yet – Ill be calling animal control after 9:00 am. My primary objective is to get advice on what to do when this happens again and how to protect. Nothing legal in mind, but we also want this on the record.

Some interesting background I didn’t bother with initial post. We have crossed paths frequently with German Shephard / bike rider. Even on leash, from a bike he cannot control his untrained dog. He knows his dog is aggressive, has limited control, yet takes it off leash in a public place.

His almost daily routine takes him across the front of our house, where he likes to stop and loiter. Our dog (always inside) reacts fiercely and very loudly to dogs or people in front and especially on the lawn, her barking is clear out front, and the guy actually stops, looks up and smiles in a perverse way. Not a good dog owner or neighbor. I’ve gone out a couple of times to speak with him and ask him not to do that but he always rides away. Yesterday was our first exchange or words – or shouts.

Most of the pet owners we’ve known are responsible and thoughtful – and careful.
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:56 AM   #17
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These people also don't realize it's not always their dog being friendly, my dog doesn't like other dogs. They can sputter all they want as their dog trots up to mine about how don't worry their dog is nice but hey bro my dog ain't so we have a problem.
Why would you even take an animal like this to a public dog park?
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:09 AM   #18
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Interesting and supportive comments. Thanks. Nothing to update yet – Ill be calling animal control after 9:00 am. My primary objective is to get advice on what to do when this happens again and how to protect. Nothing legal in mind, but we also want this on the record.

Some interesting background I didn’t bother with initial post. We have crossed paths frequently with German Shephard / bike rider. Even on leash, from a bike he cannot control his untrained dog. He knows his dog is aggressive, has limited control, yet takes it off leash in a public place.

His almost daily routine takes him across the front of our house, where he likes to stop and loiter. Our dog (always inside) reacts fiercely and very loudly to dogs or people in front and especially on the lawn, her barking is clear out front, and the guy actually stops, looks up and smiles in a perverse way. Not a good dog owner or neighbor. I’ve gone out a couple of times to speak with him and ask him not to do that but he always rides away. Yesterday was our first exchange or words – or shouts.

Most of the pet owners we’ve known are responsible and thoughtful – and careful.
I personally would speak to police about this before doing anything else.

If they give the OK, do you have a videorecorder to capture this semi-stalking behavior? You could either do it safely from inside or take it outside where he directly sees you recording him on your private property. Depending on the guy's mentality...above all else, be safe.
Knowing he is being recorded may stop the nonsense.

Good luck!
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:35 AM   #19
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Why would you even take an animal like this to a dog park?
He said little parks not dog parks.

I have a dog that's afraid of other dogs. Fortunately, with lots of training he's getting better. No longer snaps when other dogs sniff him too intensely and doesn't howl like he's dying for at least the first two minutes of contact. But I definitely watch the no leash animals because all it takes is one aggressive and my fraidy pooch is going to be back to traumatized (he was mauled twice before we got him). My dogs stay on a leash and by our sides.
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:27 AM   #20
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He said little parks not dog parks.

I have a dog that's afraid of other dogs. Fortunately, with lots of training he's getting better. No longer snaps when other dogs sniff him too intensely and doesn't howl like he's dying for at least the first two minutes of contact. But I definitely watch the no leash animals because all it takes is one aggressive and my fraidy pooch is going to be back to traumatized (he was mauled twice before we got him). My dogs stay on a leash and by our sides.
An aggressive dog that doesn't like other dogs poses a different threat to society than a "fraidy pooch".

Unfortunately, it's a dog-eat-dog world out there, and dogs are still animals no matter how hard people try to turn them into their kids. Pack behaviors of dominance, fear, flight, or fight may be repressed, but not eliminated. A park is a social environment- little park, big park, dog park. If your pet is not well socialized, it doesn't belong there, IMHO .If you have a dog that has a history of not liking other dogs (overly aggressive or overly passive) keep it away from other dogs in public. Dogs can't read the ordinances, you are relying on owners who think their pets are just perfect to control their behavior at all times (How many times have you heard " well, I can't believe that Fido would bite your child, maul your dog ,kill your cat,chase your car, crap in your yard, hump your leg do anything wrong- he's never done that before...


Sorry to hear your dog got mauled, but if it exhibits that much fear around other dogs, it may well happen again- animals smell fear like blood in the water. And in an uncertain social setting like a public park with strangers, new smells, new physical environment, everyone is on high alert. People mean well, but their dogs may have other ideas....
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