We were out for a walk a couple of weeks ago. About 2/3 of the way through the walk I had just started thinking that maybe we’d get lucky this time and be able to have a great long walk without any problems when up ahead I noticed a larger sized black and white dog watching us from its porch several houses ahead. I couldn’t tell if the dog was leashed or not but I can tell you this porch was not very far from the sidewalk and even a short leash would have have allowed this dog to get too close to the sidewalk and us. My inner alarm went off because I already know all to well that this situation is never pretty. Not only are my dogs in danger of being injured in a dog fight but this is also dangerous for me and so I avoid other dogs any way I can.
As I started my avoidance detour by crossing the street (walking not running because I know running is only going to make things worse!) — a large brown dog came charging, growling and snarling at us from behind the black and white dog. I didn’t even know he was there until he came at us and there was no doubt in my mind that he meant business. This set off the black and white dog who jumped off the porch to pack up with his buddy but was stopped short by the leash snapping his neck which really had to hurt this poor dog! The brown dog was not leashed and as we stepped up on the curb across the street, the brown dog was already in the street still carrying on in his (or hers!) very convincing “This is my property — GET OFF!” voice and moving one step closer to us with each bark. Now mind you, we were still three to four houses away from this house with the two dogs but it was quite obvious these dogs believed the entire block belonged to them, that we were intruders on their territory and they weren’t about to let that happen.
This kind of other-dog behavior sets my Riley off into immediate protection-mode which means I then have a dog in high alert mode — jazzed up, ready and more than willing to rumble — which makes things more difficult for me and escalates the entire situation. I now have two dogs I have to try to control (and one of them isn’t even mine!) plus I must try to keep my precious non-confrontational Nissa safely out of the action. Are you doing the math here? One person faced with having to keep three dogs and herself safe all because of one loose dog! Had the black and white dog snapped its leash you can add it to the mix as well.
There were two cars in the driveway and the front inner door to the house was open. There was quite obviously someone at home! You’ll never convince me that these people didn’t hear that something was up with their dogs but yet not one single person came out of that house or from anywhere in sight to control their dogs! I also noticed these folks have a decent size back yard in which they could keep their dogs safely confined but they chose to put them on their front porch which sits maybe eight feet from the sidewalk. We can’t possibly be the only ones who’ve ever walked by their house, so they have to know how their dogs are going to react when strangers enter the area!
Lucky for us, there was a very nice man who came out of his house on the side of the street we had detoured over to when he heard the commotion. He offered to keep an eye on and shoo the offending dog (who was now halfway into the street and still making his way towards us) back to his yard should he follow us when we turned around to go back in the direction we’d come from. The brown dog was so determined to keep us away that he was slowly inching his way towards us even we weren’t anywhere near him and his yard. As we walked away I looked back and saw that the brown dog was still jazzed up watching us but this nice man kept his word, put himself in danger and was– very gratefully — guiding the dog home.
I can never relax when I walk my FurKids because I must always be watching for loose dogs or dogs that even if tethered, are tied in such a way that they’re able to get too close to the sidewalk. I can’t begin to tell you how sick to death I am of irresponsible owners not giving a damn and allowing their dogs to be outside unattended, unleashed or confined in some insecure manner which poses a potential threat to anyone walking by — with or without a dog.
Not only is it physically dangerous, but because we’ve been charged so often by loose dogs and dogs on short leashes with easy access to the sidewalk — my Riley now goes on the defensive no matter what other dogs are nearby. I know there are many other people out there who cannot safely and pleasantly walk their dogs without fear of an incident. These situations have caused me to lose all interest in walking my dogs, I dread even thinking about walking them. I just do not want to have to deal with it and I don’t want my own dogs to have to deal with it. It’s an absolute chore to get me out of the house for a walk now which doesn’t help me help my dogs with the emotional and behavioral issues that now plague them. Instead of nearly daily walks, we get out maybe twice a week. We should be able to get out whenever we want to and go on a safe walk!
It got to the point where I was walking my dogs in the overnight hours. I was more afraid of a loose dog than I was of the other bad things that can happen to a person out walking in darkness. Not to long ago I realized that walking overnight wasn’t the answer because I would likely not see a loose dog coming before it was to late! There are more dogs to deal with during the daylight hours, but for the most part at least I am able to see them coming, that is after peeking around bushes and other visual barriers that have on occasion blocked my view to dogs on porches and a few other things.
The whole situation has made me freaking furious! Who the hell are you people that you feel you and your dog are so much better than the rest of us that the laws don’t apply to you? What right do you have to take away the rights of others to walk their dogs in safety? Words like “lazy” and “irresponsible” come to mind. Oh, so you think because your dog is so calm and friendly that it’s ok for you to just leave it outside on its own? Have you ever thought about your own dog’s safety? What happens to your own dog if someone else’s dog who’s not so friendly is either left out or gets out and is wandering around? Do you not give a hoot that your own dog could be in harm’s way or worse? Not every dog is other-dog friendly and one of the reasons they’re not is a direct result of people like you who don’t take their dog parenting responsibilities seriously.
Being angry, taking detours and practicing one avoidance measure after another is quite obviously not working. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired and I’m so done with this crap! I’ve had enough of you people and your loose dogs and this includes people who walk their dogs off-leash! I don’t care why you think you are better than anyone else, why you feel you don’t have to obey the laws or why you have absolutely no regard for the safety of your own dog and that of others and their dogs. I should be able to get out and walk my dogs down any street I choose and not have to worry about what might come at us. I and every other responsible dog owner who cares about their own dog and those of others have a right to be safe when walking our dogs.
We should not have to memorize where every dog lives on every block we travel! About the time I think I’ve got it down pat, these dogs have moved or died, been replaced with another dog or an additional dog has been added to the household. We should not be forced to take detours to avoid loose dogs! There are so many dogs in my area there’s really no other detours we can take!
I’ve racked my brain and thought very long and hard about what I can do so that I can walk my dogs in safety. I’m not fond of any of the alternatives bouncing around in my head but I will no longer tolerate loose dogs and the dangers they pose to me, my dogs and others floating the same boat. I can’t believe I even considered taking this kind of action but I’m at the point where I feel I have no other choice. I have a desire, a right and a duty to protect myself and my dogs and that’s what I’m going to do to the best of my ability. The last thing I want is to cause discomfort or pain to any dog — even one that’s charging us — but irresponsible dog owners have left me and others like me with no other alternative but to take steps to protect ourselves. I’m going to make good on my husband’s words: “It takes a lot to get her to this point but this is one woman you don’t want to be on the wrong side of!”
After discussing the use of a taser with a couple of Police Officers who rank very high on our Police Department’s range scores and are quite weapon savvy, I learned that tasers are too difficult to use safely because dogs move so fast. I’d have to be a good enough shot to make my local SWAT Team in order to even hope to zap a dog successfully with a taser. The chances of me stopping a charging dog with a taser while trying to control my own dogs are slim and next to none and I may only piss off the charging dog more than he is already making matters even worse. If it weren’t such a dangerous and scary situation, the visual of me trying to accomplish this would be laughable.
I refuse to carry a gun, you can’t shoot a gun inside the city limits anyway. I’m not out to murder or even seriously injure your dogs, I just want to keep your dogs away from us — they’ve caused way to much damage to me and my dogs already.
Since the incident two weeks ago and on the recommendations of these Officers, I now carry pepper spray on our walks and I will not hesitate to use it if I have to. Yes, that’s right — I will spray your dog in the face with pepper spray if it so much as makes a move in our direction. I will hate doing it, I will feel absolutely horrible and I will cry like a baby for days and maybe even weeks afterwards because your dog is going to pay the price for your stupidity and that is something I will have an extremely hard time dealing with in my heart. I’ve been assured that although your dog will be extremely uncomfortable for several hours from the pepper spray it, he/she will not suffer any permanent harm or damage and I have no doubt that I’ll have to remind myself of that many times over in order to get past it. I have absolutely no doubt that pepper spray is a horrible thing to do to a dog, but for our safety and those of other dogs and their walkers — I will use it.
If you don’t want your dog pepper sprayed, get up off your lazy ass, get responsible, protect your own dog and those people and their dogs who walk near your house. The city streets and sidewalks are public domain and I have every right to use them to walk my dogs and be safe doing so. I don’t care how big or small the dog, I don’t care in what way it’s approaching us — if it’s coming in our direction — it’s going to get a face-full of pepper spray. That includes the friendly unknowing puppy who doesn’t have a clue that other dogs might be a danger to them if they approach. You can think of it this way — my pepper spray just saved your little guy’s life — so he’ll learn a harsh lesson but at least he’ll be alive. You will have no one to blame but yourself if your dog gets sprayed!
I will also make note of your address and call the Police myself and tell them what happened. I’m the very last person who wants to pepper spray a dog but I’ve verified with our Police Department that I have every right to protect myself and my dogs. If you come towards us in anger because I’ve sprayed your dog, you’ll be the next one wearing pepper spray and you’ll be thanking me again for me keeping you safe from a bite. Should I or my dogs need medical or veterinary attention afterwards, you can rest assured you’ll be held responsible for paying all costs. If you want to fight it, go ahead and good freaking luck with it because you’re going to lose. I’ll hire a lawyer if I have to and you can pay his fees as well. Are you getting the picture yet? YOU are responsible for YOUR dog but if you leave your responsibility to me you aren’t going to like the consequences.
Our city is moving towards stronger safe-dog laws but this is not something that will happen overnight. I also know that even with stricter laws there will always be law-breakers. It could be years before our streets and sidewalks are safer to walk with our FurKids and so until then, I have to think about and do something pro-active for better safety in the here and now.
I’m not recommending that anyone else do this, this is my solution to a huge problem that I face every time I step foot outside my house with my dogs. I’m at my wits end and feel that pepper spray — as ugly as it is — is my only hope. It breaks my heart to even think about using it because the dog on the receiving end will suffer simply because it drew the short straw in the owner department. Unfortunately, the fact is that the unprotected alternatives are so much worse. At least I will save all the the dogs from a dog fight and the resulting injuries to them or myself. You irresponsible, lazy dog owners have left me with no other alternative and you might want to keep in mind that I may not be the only law-abiding responsible dog owner packing pepper spray.
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