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Remember the family that let Dorothy run loose?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Some of you may recall Dorothy, a beautiful Siamese mix who belonged to a family four doors down from me. They left her to run loose all day long -- even though the poor kitty was declawed! Long story short, I made a safe(r) place for Dorothy in our fenced yard, fed her and played with her... and when she'd chosen to stay there for a month, I finally just got her rehomed. She now lives in a fabulous downtown condo with a wealthy middle-aged woman and an orange tabby named Murray.

Anyway, that same family also had a small white dog who ran loose as well. I nearly ran over him in the street once, and my mom had to drive right into our fence one day to keep from hitting him in our driveway. I went over and told them about it, but it didn't seem to faze them. They just don't get it about being responsible with their animals. Several months later, the little white dog disappeared, and of course I fear the worst... though I'd like to think somebody took him in, the way I did Dorothy.

Well, that family just got a new dog: a Rottweiler. Now before you castigate me for being afraid of Rottweilers, let me say that I do understand how bad owners create dangerous dogs through cruelty or through deliberate training. I recognize that a Rottweiler can be a perfectly lovely animal.

But dogs (and cats as well) can "turn" for no apparent reason, and they can get confused or frightened and react in unpredictable ways. When a Chihuahua suddenly has a vicious moment, nobody's life is in danger -- but in that same moment, a Rottweiler can kill a person.

We've all heard stories about vicious dog attacks. Around here, hardly a week goes by without such an incident. And the scariest example I know of happened right in front of a friend of our family: he carried something in from the car for an older woman in his neighborhood, and when they walked in the front door, her Rottweiler just leaped up and ripped her throat out. Her own dog! She bled to death before help even got there.

It's just plain foolish not to be extremely cautious with Rottweilers and other dogs who are capable of killing so quickly. That's not prejudice -- it's just common sense.

So back to these neighbors: the dog has scared me silly twice now with threatening behaviors, ignoring his family's efforts to control him, chasing after me, growling while shoving his face against the backs of my legs as I was walking away. (It was all I could do not to break and run, but I knew that would be a mistake. When I got inside the house, I sat and shook for ten minutes.)

I've been doing so well with walking every day, getting so much stronger and losing weight... but now I'm afraid to go out! Even if I go the opposite way and stay off of my own street, it's still not safe, because the dog runs all over the neighborhood, with and without his people.

We've been very fortunate here: other people in this neighborhood consistently keep their dogs behind fences or on leashes at all times. And it doesn't have to be a hardship for the dogs, because there's a huge fenced dog park just a mile or so down the walking trail behind our house. If they want to let their dog off the leash, that's the place to do it!

So I'm torn between two courses of action:

1. Write the family a friendly letter explaining about the city's animal ordinance and how it's for the dog's safety as well, telling them about the dog park in case they aren't aware of it, etc.

2. Call Animal Control and see if they'll go have a talk with the family.

Which approach would be less likely to make them angry? Which approach would be more likely to get them to comply with the ordinance?

Even if I remain anonymous, they're going to suspect it was me, after these two scary incidents. I really don't want to upset them!

Any suggestions?
post #2 of 30
i would try the letter see how they react and then if no avail get the animal control...
like youve said if a rotty doesnt have the right control or owners then it will turn bad...
good luck carol!
post #3 of 30
Carol, I'm so sorry to hear about this. You are doing so well on the exercise.

First I would contact the Animal Control people to understand what exactly they and you can do.

Do you think the neighbors would be receptive to working with you? Can you get some support from your other neighbors so you don't have to go it alone?
post #4 of 30
I personally would take the animal control route. A nice letter won't impact people like this, besides are you sure they can read!!? After all they are behaving like ignoramuses!!!!

Hey, you're worried about ticking off these people? Well, they're not terribly concerned about your welfare or the welfare of their neighbors in general if they're letting this big,strong dog run loose. So, maybe if they're told the next time we will take the dog or write a citation... and that will cost them the animal and/or money... that might take with them.

What if there little kids in the neighborhood... and that dog goes after one of them... I mean, really.
post #5 of 30
I would call Animal Control. They know how to deal with these situations and if something happens where the dog does get more aggresive then its good to have a call on record.
post #6 of 30
I think you should call animal control first, also. The only rottweilers I've ever been around were some of the nicest dogs I've ever seen, but I was still careful.. they do make me feel a little nervous.

I can only imagine what would happen if that dog got ahold of a little kid.. years ago, a rottweiler got ahold of a kid and killed him while he was waiting for the school bus.. somewhere close to us I think, and it was all over our news. Surely I'm not the only one who knows this story.
post #7 of 30
report them from a pay phone.
use fake name
post #8 of 30
Yeah, that.

Hard to be sure what will work best.
post #9 of 30
Call animal control.

Also if the dog is acting like that invest in some direct stop. its basically doggy mace. It doesnt hurt the dog, it is just uncomfortable for them. Then just carry it with you when you walk. I believe they sell the stuff at petsmart but it isnt cheap.
post #10 of 30
A letter will do nothing with these people. You have to call animal control! The dog should not be allowed to roam free, for everyone's safety! What morons you have as neighbors.
post #11 of 30
I think that you should call animal control. They are obviously ignoring the leash laws in your town. You have every right to be able to take a walk and not feel threatened by an unrestrained dog. I would also invest in some mace. This would be helpful regardless what type of assailant (human or canine) threatened you! Good luck!
post #12 of 30
You have contacted them about their previous dog and they did nothing. I would call animal control. The dog has threatened you. If he was growling and shuffing his face against the back of your legs, that is a threat. the dog needs to be taken away from this family.

Like others have said, the dog could attack a child. The child wouldn't know not to run and then the dog would charge.

post #13 of 30
I suspect that your city has an ordinance about free roaming dogs and what they are doing is illegal. Call the city to verify the ordinance then call animal control. The best that can happen is that they find the dog a proper home. The worst is that they will euthanize for aggression. And I know you well enough that you would feel forever guilty if they did that, but you really can't allow an aggressive dog to run loose without proper supervision.

My DH is the ultimate dog lover and even he used to carry sticks and rocks when he would run the rural areas to throw at the dogs that would follow him and attack him. The only dog that ever bit him was a poodle. He hated to do it, but we didn't have leash laws in our area and he was training for a marathon and had to run. He told me that nothing stopped a dog quicker than a small rock bouncing off them.

Ask Animal Control to talk to the neighbors and if its possible fine them to make a stronger statement to them. Irresponsible people hate to be hit in the wallet and that might get their attention.
post #14 of 30
I agree, animal control is your best bet. Talking to them didn't help before, and I doubt a letter would help now. You may, however, what to write a letter for animal control's records and contact the rest of the people in the neighborhood and have them sign it. If the dog is bothing you, I'm sure that there are other that are just as bothered and that way it will be on record that you aren't the only one with a complaint.

Our best friends have a Rottie, and he is a big teddy bear BUT he is also well trained (better trained than my dogs!) and his owners don't let him get away with anything. But I agree, ANY big dog that isn't trained and runs basically wild is a hazard. Like you said, if a little dog attacks, you get bites on your ankles; if a big dog attacks you can be killed.
post #15 of 30
i'm gonna go w/the rest - call Animal Control. obviously, these people aren't going to listen to you - they didn't in the past, did they?
i'd also get the Direct Stop, as well.
post #16 of 30
Just another vote for animal control and some kind of self defense spray. They obviously don't care to be responsible with their pets. That dog could hurt anyone including you. I would want to have my warning call on file should he hurt another neighbor or (heaven forbid) a child.
post #17 of 30
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
I suspect that your city has an ordinance about free roaming dogs and what they are doing is illegal. Call the city to verify the ordinance then call animal control.
I would also write a letter to the mayor's office, and send a copy to the local newspaper if you don't get a response, to ensure that something is really done about the matter.

A large dog can do a lot of damage. We had a nearby family that let their German Short-haired Pointer (a breed not known for aggression) run loose. He attacked other dogs, and the people wouldn't listen to pleas/complaints. Nothing was done until the dog badly injured a teenage girl who was trying to protect her little mutt.
post #18 of 30
I'd call Animal Control. IMO you've already had talks with them on responsibility in the past. Seems they don't want to listen. And when you call AC, tell them about their past animals and the fact they do NOT control the dogs but allow them to run loose and terrorize the neighborhood. Too late when a child or elderly person gets attacked and hurt or killed cause of them!
post #19 of 30
Carol, as you know, the magic words in our area are "my attorney" or "my lawyer." Sad but true. Use them.

If you can call before June 4th, use "school children at risk" if you are close to the elementary school or a park.

Plano is pretty good about animal control.

It's not the dog's fault, but they do have to control it.
post #20 of 30
Originally Posted by AddieBee View Post
I personally would take the animal control route. A nice letter won't impact people like this, besides are you sure they can read!!? After all they are behaving like ignoramuses!!!!

Hey, you're worried about ticking off these people? Well, they're not terribly concerned about your welfare or the welfare of their neighbors in general if they're letting this big,strong dog run loose. So, maybe if they're told the next time we will take the dog or write a citation... and that will cost them the animal and/or money... that might take with them.

What if there little kids in the neighborhood... and that dog goes after one of them... I mean, really.

I agree totally. Definitely go the animal control route.
post #21 of 30
Thread Starter 
My brother and my nephew were here for a bit today, and when they walked out toward their car, the Rottweiler headed right for them. It didn't seem to be an aggressive move, but it scared us all -- even my brother (who is 6'2") turned back toward the house. The teenage boy came and took hold of the dog's collar to get him turned around, and Noel and Grant waited to leave until the dog was back in his own front yard.

This was the first time I'd noticed how loose the collar is. If the dog wanted out of it, he could easily slip it off.

And you're right, all of you who mentioned children -- there are two little boys and a toddler two doors down from us, and across the street are beautiful twin girls, eleven years old -- we've all known them since they were born. My father just melted whenever those little girls visited, and they adored him too.

So you're right, this has to be fixed immediately, and if seeing their dog growl and chase after me didn't make them put him on a leash, my gentle little letter wouldn't do it either. So I'll have to call Animal Control in the morning.

We do have a good strong ordinance, by the way -- I read it online, and it requires dogs to be controlled either behind a fence or on a leash at all times, except in the dog park.

I just hate to do this, because this is a minority family, and the last thing in the world I want is make them feel persecuted in some way, y'know? It's about the dog, and only the dog. Oh, how I hope they understand that.

And they'll know I'm the one who reported them... unless maybe they've had incidents with other neighbors as well. If any backup is needed, I know that our next-door neighbors, the parents of the boys, the mother of the twin girls, and the older couple across the side street would all support the complaint... but it shouldn't be necessary. The law exists.

Amy, I'm hoping maybe by making this report, I'll be preventing the kind of incident that could end up with the dog being euthanized. That's how I'm looking at it.

Thanks everybody... I was leaning toward the letter, but you're right, and I will talk to Animal Control in the morning.
post #22 of 30
That makes me so mad, we used to have a little king charles de spaniol, and my father would let him off his leash but this dog never got agressive, unless it was to another cat on our territory!
One of my friends died at the age of 14 because his brother brought home a big black sort of rottweiler they were playing outside and the dog bit his ear off and a chunk off his neck, he was alive for a while but because his mother is deaf she didnt go out there untill it was too late.

They can be lovely animals but this dog is purely in the wrong hands. Report it now!
post #23 of 30
I would call Animal Control, and if they take the dog, so be it. I am sorry, my opinion is a bit prejudice, but I do not like dogs. I have had a few in my life, and had no luck with them. I especially don't like Rotts. Every time I get around on, it tries to bite me. I always hear, "oh, he's such a good boy," just about the time the stupid thing lunges at me, then it is "he's just playing." I don't care, I don't want to play with your stupid dog, I have RA and cannot get away or get knocked down without being injured. I realize it is the owners, and it is a shame that it has come to people that are now terrified of dogs. Just last week, on board Camp Lejuene, a child was killed by a pit bull. Before the Animal Control got there, the people switched dogs for a less "game" dog, and allowed a dog they considered a mutt to be killed, and kept the dog that had killed the child. They do not even know it, and the case is closed. The only reason I know about it is because a former friend of mine bred the dog. She is no longer my friend, I will not have a friend that would be in on such a thing.
post #24 of 30
Don't worry about them being a "minority" group. People need to control their animals whether rich, poor, black, white, hispanic, homosextual or heterosexual. When you call animal control tell them you dont want to be involved in this, that you dont want your name brought up.

On the other hand, you can do this a different way with the animal control. You can call them while the dog is on the loose, they will pick it up, and return it home. Then if the dog is on the loose again after that? Call them again, and then it will become a real issue with animal control to watch these people.

I agree that the AC need to be told that the dog has acted vicious, but i'm wondering if just a warning would do anything... Sometimes AC needs proof before they will step in...
post #25 of 30
Animal Control.
I had a friend whose beautiful baby brother was mauled by a dog and was disfigured for life. The dog ripped off half of his face. He was in the hospital near death for months. This tore apart their family and he ended up becoming a drug addict and is now in prison for life. Perhaps these things would have happened anyway but I know he was never the same cute lighthearted high achiever anymore. He was disfigured horribly and it was the kind where if you saw one side of his face in profile you would never expect him to turn around and have a half mangled face. He was in pain from the head injuries most of the time, he had also lost some fingers and a chunk of his arm. Going through this as he grew older and interested in girls in high school, having people gawk at you or small children shrieking at the sight of you is a terrible price to pay for irresponsible pet owners. His life was ruined and he was unable to rise above it.
That dog had a reputation for being aggressive but no one did anything about it.
post #26 of 30
Thread Starter 
Oh my god... I'm so sorry for all your friends who have suffered such awful things. And I'm so glad I asked for your opinions, because I'm afraid it would not have been enough if I'd gone the way I was leaning.

See, until just six years ago, I had an outright phobia about dogs. I had some scary experiences as a child (mostly with Dobermans), and I've always been terrified of all but the tiniest dogs. Then while I was volunteering at the shelter, I finally managed to overcome that phobia, and it's been wonderful to live without fear, and to be able to enjoy dogs!

But still, I spent forty years being ridiculed because I was afraid of so many perfectly nice dogs -- so my instinct when I got scared of this Rottweiler was to figure it was just me being cowardly again, and I shouldn't make such a fuss about it. That's a big part of why I hesitated to call Animal Control.

But your stories and encouragement showed me that I was not overreacting. I did call Animal Control, and I asked what they do when there's a complaint like this. The woman said they go out and talk to the owners, explain the reasons why it's so important to be responsible with their animals, explain the ordinance, explain the rabies vaccination requirements, and explain the various penalties for noncompliance. She said they do it courteously, and they do not tell the owners anything about how the animal came to their attention. So I gave her the address.

Four hours later, I was here at the computer by the dining room window, and I saw the Animal Control truck go by. The officer spent about ten minutes in the house, and the teenage boy's bus dropped him off from school while she was there, so I presume she got to speak to him, too.

So... I thank you all so much for your help! I'm sure you pointed me right.
post #27 of 30
That's great that you got such a quick response! Also, make sure to follow up, and call each and every time you see that dog unrestrained. This time was probably a "gimme", but if they find him unrestrained again, they'll probably issue tickets. When you start affecting people's money, they start to pay attention. In a way, you're saving that dog's life. If he did attack someone, he may well be euthanized, so don't ever feel bad about reporting him.

I utterly alienated a neighbor, "D", in my building because I kept making a stink about her letting her pitbull mix out in the common area unattended. This dog had numerous issues, and so when not attended with her would become aggressive out of fear. More than once we were all chased and menaced by this dog. One time I was putting groceries by the back deck to take up, and the dog came out of nowhere, so I ran back to the garage. Imagine my ire as I saw her dog eat my groceries. "D" ended up hating me, but I know that dog would have bitten someone (and we have two small children who live in the building, one severely disabled), and that would have been the end of the dog I'm sure. "D" finally saw the light when she finally witnessed her dog growl, snap at, and chase one of my neighbors...he only escaped injury by jumping up on the dumpster. Until then "D" couldn't, or more precisely, wouldn't believe it was going on. When restrained, the dog was docile, and was actually excited and happy to see me...unrestrained, she was fearful and aggressive to me as if I were a stranger.
post #28 of 30
You did the right thing. You can rest easier knowing that you have done your duty. Too often we hesitate to speak up and then regret it.
post #29 of 30
You did the right thing....

For the record something has to provoke an animal to attack... it unfortunately can be a lack of training or even a scent ( yes they smell fear
post #30 of 30
Oh you deffinately did the right thing Carol!

When my cousin's daughter was about 3 my Gram dropped her off at my Cousin's friend's house. My cousin and her daughter were always there and it wasn't uncommon for my Gram to stop by to pick up her daugher or drop them off. They had 3 rottwilers and normally they were "pretty good" or kept out back. But all it took was one time and one of the dogs came at them. He got ahold of my Gram's hand and Gram had to block her great-grandbaby with her other hand! Gram's hand was bit up, but it could have been much worse. She had to go to the ER and all that. Fortunatley the dog was up to date on it's rabies shots. Gram was in her mid 70's at the time. Oh, and the people who owned the dogs, had a baby and toddler in the house too. They were just the kind of people who thought having a dog with the potential to do damage was cool.

We had a near-incident with a pit bull last month at my MIL's too. The Pitt saw my in-law's boxer and lab in the fenced backyard and came over. Unfortunatley because the house is built into a hill, that pit almost jumped the retaining wall next to the house. My 3 an 5 year old neice and nephew had left only a short time before, my 11 year old nephew was out there with me. We were told the dog was loose because he'd followed his owner's car there after getting loose from his house a mile or two away. He came over twice. A short time later he got loose a third time (from the people's broke-up deck) and made the mistake of going down past my in-laws to this veterinarian's house. A few minutes later we heard a gunshot and saw the owner go down in his suv. He came back with the dog (and another that had followed the pitt) in the suv so apparently they must have done that to scare or distract him. For a minute I thought they had shot him! He may have been trying to attack their dogs. If that was the case, I wouldn't blame them a bit!

I had a friend in college who's dog was attacked by a pitt that had been trained to fight. It had gotten loose from his chain (not the first time either). It did kill her dog and I'll leave the details at that. It was guesome. My friend had her 2 year old outside with her and pretty much threw her into the house. Her husband was injured pretty bad as well. Several neighbors rushed over to help, but one had to shoot the dog. As awful as I think that is, I know it would have been euthanized. Poor animal didn't deserve that kind of life.
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