So the couple two doors down (suburban neighborhood, small lots) have a pair of pit bulls. This guy talks about burglaries and home defense all the time, though this is not a high crime area. Let's be clear - I don't hate dogs, and I don't think pit bulls are evil. I do know what dogs are capable of doing when they want to hurt you.
These dogs don't get out of the yard or make noise. They do get a walk every evening, usually right about the time I have to work in my front yard. It's cool enough by then, and local drought ordinances say you can't water before 6 PM. I also grow veggies out there and need to pick them for dinner. There's no fence enclosing the garden - it's not legal to fence front yards in this town.
One evening in April, the female dog owner stopped to talk to me and my husband on the sidewalk in front of our house. The dogs were on leash, but one of them started approaching me with an aggressive stance. I am no dog expert and I have no idea what pissed him off, but I could feel this animal's hostility. I am a small woman, not a person who looks like a threat to anyone. I stepped back and raised my left arm to my chest to get my hand out of the dog's reach.
This was apparently a mistake, because instantly he growled, leaped and clamped my forearm in his jaws. This all happened in a few seconds - it seemed to come out of nowhere.
Luckily I was wearing a heavy jacket, and his teeth didn't penetrate. The owner yanked him off, blurted 'Sorry' and hurried the dogs away.
I've never even been nipped by a puppy before. I was scared, furious and very shaken up. That was a hard, strong bite, which made my whole arm numb and tingly for half an hour. There were distinct tooth impressions in my skin right through the jacket, and my arm felt sore and bruised for days.
Various people advised me to call some kind of authorities, but I never did. I like to be a decent neighbor, and I hate to bring in the law unless I absolutely have to. I did look up the relevant city ordinances, but it seemed that if there wasn't any broken skin or blood, it didn't 'count' as a bite. So no call.
The neighbors did not check on me nor come over to apologize. I thought that was a serious omission of courtesy, and I took photos of the bruises just in case. They still walked the dogs right past my house. When I would see them coming, I would try to get to the back of the yard, but I couldn't always do that.
Then last week, one of the dogs got out of the house while the woman was packing the car for a trip. I was in my garden minding my own business. The dog rushed straight at me, clear through another neighbor's yard, barking and growling. I screamed and ran in the house. Then I sent my husband over to discuss this with the dog owners. He discovered that the woman had never even told her husband about the bite incident. Seems the one which rushed at me was the other dog, not the biter. So they're both aggressive. Great.
A few evenings later, I needed to pick some tomatoes at the front of the yard. I cast nervous glances at the dog house for a while, but finally got down to work. I was crouched with my back to the sidewalk, feeling for ripe ones, when I heard something behind me. There was the woman with both dogs on leash, not ten feet away, silently guiding them past me. Not a word of warning.
I about fainted. I scrambled for my front door with my heart pounding, and didn't go back for the tomatoes for at least ten minutes.
So this evening, I'm out watering, and yeah, here she comes with the dogs. I addressed her, and asked her to please, as a courtesy, not to take them past my house. Just go the other direction, which is a perfectly good way to get to the park. She didn't seem to understand me at all. 'Oh, they're on leash, see?' she says. Apparently not remembering or caring that one of them BIT ME while on leash.
I repeated my request, which was phrased politely, if a little desperately. I was literally shaking with terror having to look at those beasts at close range. It ain't paranoia when you're talking about dogs which have actually attacked you. 'Please don't take the dogs past my house. I would really appreciate that, thank you,' is what I said, several times over.
'I apologized last time,' she says, as if that mattered. I reminded her that the LAST incident was when she took me by surprise when my back was turned. 'Oh, I didn't see you.'
'That's right, you might not see me if I'm working out here. So please don't take the dogs past my house. Take them THAT way instead. I have to work in the garden this time of the evening. I don't have a choice about that.'
All I get is another blank look. 'Oh, I can't go that way,' she replies. (Literally no idea why she thinks so - it's a half block detour.) And then she took them straight past my house and continued on her way.
Okay, I think I've been WAY MORE than reasonable in the face of a potentially serious physical threat, and THIS is the response. I asked my husband to go over there and talk to them again and try to impress on them that this is not a trivial matter, because you could not pay me a million bucks to knock on a door with those dogs lurking behind it.
The police may not give a crap until I actually end up in the emergency room, I suppose, but I think I deserve to enjoy my own damn front yard without fear of mayhem. What the hell would YOU do?
A leash is a restraint, not a substitute for control and training. This woman didn't discipline the dog the first time after it attacked you? Shame on her, because she indirectly taught the dog it's ok to be aggressive to you. And that dog probably picked up on your fear. (I'm no dog expert, so please correct me if I'm wrong, but that was something we learned when we took our Boxer/pitbull mix through obedience school 10 years ago. And the only person he's ever bitten is my dumbass brother who thought he was funny by pretending to try to eat from the dog's bowl while the dog was eating.) Regardless, this woman has shown she is not in control of the dogs when she walks them.
I have called Code Enforcement on my neighbors three times since July, because their little aggressive dogs have come onto my property seven times now and nearly attacked me or our dog, who is in poor health and always leashed when he's staying with me. The first three times, I asked them to please control their dogs or leash them when they were on the porch. The fourth time, I asked again but said I was calling Code Enforcement the next time the dogs came after me on my property. The dogs are still not leashed, but I have seen the woman scoop up the dogs when she sees me mowing or taking out the trash now. But I've seen them go after other neighbors. You have every right to expect to be safe on your own property.
If I were you, I'd take the pictures to the police station and explain everything to them and see what advice they have. Maybe they can't do anything legally, but perhaps a patrol drive past your house around 6PM would let them observe things and maybe show your neighbors you're not just asking to be an annoyance? I would be willing to bet you are not the only person to whom that dog has been aggressive in public. Makes me wonder how the dog does at the park with all of those people.
I've never had a problem, when walking our dog, with making sure I had him under control around any stranger. He was 65 lbs at his healthiest weight, so even though we know he's docile, he still looks like a big intimidating dog to others. We'd cross the street if we saw kids, and ther was one neighbor who did tell us he was deathly afraid of all dogs and we would cross the street so we didn't pass on his sidewalk. It was just courtesy. Good luck!
Do you have a good Humane Society in your area? You might try talking to somebody there & see if they have any suggestions for dealing with the clueless & irresponsible owners. (Not that the HS could likely *do* anything, but they might have experience intervening.) Similarly, if there's a pit bull rescue organization nearby, they might have some suggestions.
I'm sorry you've had bad dog experiences because of this irresponsible human. It makes me sad when dogs don't know how to behave because of bad owners.
Yeah, it is definitely the owners at fault here, not the dogs. We tried to be welcoming when they moved in, but they've always had some weird notions and a sense of hostility towards the world. For instance, they hassle the woman who lives in the house between us because she doesn't like their ultra-bright security lights staying on all night and because she holds garage sales which draw 'the wrong kind of people.' Sheesh.
If you figure that dogs usually mirror their owners' ideas, yeah, it's not so surprising how the pooches behave. There's another guy I've noticed walking a big pit bull in the neighborhood, and he always (politely? cautiously?) detours out into the street with the dog when he sees someone coming along the sidewalk. Now that's what I call good manners.
Thanks for the feedback! I hear that wasp spray shoots a long way and may be pretty effective, though I'd better look up just how harmful it is to hit a dog in the eyes with that stuff. I might compose them a letter documenting everything just so they get the picture nice and clear - and there turns out to be a mediation number to call at the police department if that's not enough.
Cosigning what other people said. Our dog (who we're assuming is a pit/greyhound mix) is an absolute sweetheart, but her previous owners probably socialized her properly when she was a puppy. The only issue we've had with her getting aggressive was when a drunk douchenozzle antagonized her downtown, and Code Enforcement pretty much told the guy it was his fault.
One thing your neighbors probably don't get is that the best way to have a well-behaved dog is to not put it in situations where it could misbehave. Even though our dog isn't aggressive, we'll still shorten the leash if people are walking by specifically so she doesn't scare them (her "hi hi hi I love you love me back forever please" approach can come off as aggression to the untrained eye). Stuff like that, really, and it doesn't seem all that surprising that they're not willing to be considerate.
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