Sunday, November 1, 2009

Dog Attack

We have two dogs that I leash up and take outside several times a day. This is a daily occurrence. There is no fenced yard at this (stupid) rental house so I have to take dogs out to do their business. In the AM it is always for a quick pee in the front yard. We don't go out the back because the small flight of steps off the deck are too hard for our big dog to negotiate.

Our big dog is approximately 125 lbs. He's a Great Pyrenees / yellow Labrador Retriever mix. He has the long, thick coat of the Great Pyrenees but with the yellow lab coloring. He has the thick mane often found in male Pyrenees. We have had him for about 10 years now, since he was a puppy. For a big breed, he's a very old dog. He is a gentle giant and one of the truly nicest dogs I've ever known. We'll call him Duke. He resembles this picture only is yellow, like a big lion.

Our little dog is about 22 lbs and is a terrier mix. He actually looks very much like the terrier in the pict
ure. We adopted him from the animal shelter when we lived in Nevada, about 5 years ago. He is also a friendly, nice, little dog. He very rarely barks, a trait I love. I'll refer to him as Sparky.

Both of our dogs are well socialized to other dogs and people. The only time our big dog has ever been aggressive was when he was protecting our daughter (and Sparky) from an attacking boxer several years ago.

On Friday, On October 30th at approximately 11:15 AM I called Duke in from the garage, he and Sparky, knowing our routine, went tails wagging right to the front door, I leashed up both dogs, and took them out to the front yard to pee.

After maybe getting 3 steps off the front porch to the yard the two dogs from the cop's house across the street came charging over, apparently to attack us. He has a young German Shepherd and what appears to be a retriever mix. The retriever was just a follower, barking but not aggressively. The German Shepherd, however, was aggressive. He was barking, snarling, snapping, and lunging at us. He was circling around us, trying to bite us the whole time.

I kept a firm hold on both leashes keeping both Duke and Sparky right by my side. I continually kept turning so I was facing the German Shepherd at all times, while holding the leashes, preparing to kick. I was repeatedly screaming at the top of my lungs in a firm, loud voice, "GO HOME! NO! GET! NO! GET OUT OF HERE! NO! GO AWAY! GO HOME!" etc. It felt like it lasted 15 minutes but I'm sure it was under 5.

I know people were home at the cop's house. I know the (big, fat) cop was home. I know his wife was home. I know their 4 kids were home (1/2 day of school). I also know the neighbors next to us were home and had someone over. (Sounds familiar, doesn't it? People home and certainly able to hear me yelling and yet no one came to help.)

Finally the Retriever lost interest and ran off, which lead to the German Shepherd backing off a bit and eventually he took off running. I tried to get my dogs inside but at that point Duke was unable to get up on his back legs. While holding him back away from the German Shepherd he was pulled back on his haunches. Like many big breeds Duke's having some hip problems due to his age. Normally he's been getting along very well - we no longer give him the sit command (just down) and he's able to move around pretty good. We usually do a long walk of about a mile, sometimes more depending upon how he's doing. But now, my big boy, Duke, was scooting around the front yard trying to get up on his legs but unable to do so. In the meantime, I'm keeping a hold of leashes still, looking out for the German Shepherd to return. Then I hear dog fight noises happening one block over.

All the time Duke is repeatedly trying to stand up and unable to do so. Sparky is frantic. We are all full of adrenaline from the attack. I'm keeping a look out for the cop's dogs and listening to the dog fight sounds coming from down the block and wondering how long we have before they return and how am I going to get Duke into the car to go to the vet and thinking that if he can't walk I may have to have him put "to sleep." Finally Duke was able to get up. After letting him stand for a bit, I checked to see if he could walk to the garage. I managed to get both dogs inside before the two cop dogs returned.

Right after I got my dogs inside, the cop's kids step out of their front door and start yelling for their dogs to come home. Apparently they had been watching the attack but didn't bother to stop it. No sign of the cop or Mrs. cop, even though I know they were both home. Once they got their dogs rounded up, I defiantly took mine out again, in our front yard and around to the back so they could pee, the whole reason we went out in the first place.

I was sort of expecting someone from the cops house to come over and apologize sometime during the day. After all, he's an officer sworn to uphold the law. I would imagine that even includes something as mundane as the leash law and having your dogs under control. Did an apology happen? No. Nothing. This isn't an isolated incident either. The German Shepherd has been lose more than once terrorizing people out walking their dogs or running across the street to bark at our front door.

When you hear stories of awful crimes or attacks happening where many people heard the cries for help and did nothing or watched the attack and didn't try to stop it, I imagine most people in the small town we're in would tisk-tisk and say "That wouldn't happen here." but don't you believe it. Even the Cop didn't try to control his own dogs.

No, I didn't report the attack. I'm documenting it right here. I know that the local police would not take it seriously. These are the same police who like to harass old women out walking dogs at night. These are the same police who basically dismissed my concerns over someone stopping and looking in our mailbox. (The cops and our mailbox stand by each other. Someone stopped and opened both mailboxes, looking inside. I called the police because it was weird, a federal offense, and just before Christmas. The good-old boy cop said, "Well, maybe Mrs. cop put something in her mailbox for someone to pick up. I'll ask cop about it tonight." and basically dismissed my concerns. Not a word was said to us about this.)

I know that German Shepherds can be wonderful dogs but I also know it takes training and socialization. I firmly believe it's the owners, not the dogs. In Nevada we had a Great Dane who almost looked me eye to eye. She was a wonderful, gentle dog. She and Duke liked each other immediately and Duke adored her owner. We also had the aforementioned boxer on the street. The boxer was vicious and out of control. It repeatedly attacked when our daughter was just trying to walk down the street to the walking trail. The owners never tried to restrain her and in fact could not control her. We finally had to call animal control on them after the boxer continued to be running loose and attacking our daughter when she was walking Duke down the street - on a leash.

The big question to me, after experiencing dog attacks in several different states is this:
Why don't people take controlling their dogs seriously?

Yes, it may be a loving pet to your family, but that doesn't mean you can just let them run loose. There are leash laws almost everywhere. How hard is it to follow them? I understand that sometimes dogs can get loose, but any repeated roaming free points to an ongoing lackadaisical attitude and a big problem if your dog is aggressive.


Memories of yesterday said...

Oh Lori!!! (((hugs))) I am SOOO sorry. Praying that move happens faster than ever.

Lori L said...

Thanks, Stacey! I have a feeling the cop is going to be careful about letting his dogs run loose for awhile now so hopefully we'll find the house for us and be gone before he gets sloppy again.

raidergirl3 said...

I like that this comes from a dog owner.

My kids have been terribly afraid of dogs, but recognize that if the dog is on a leash with the owner, they are fine. I ge so angry at people who let their dogs run free, and then shout - 'he won't bite', as their dog runs toward us. I'm thinking 'Hard to believe you when you have such great control of your dog there.' sheesh.

Ironically, the guy who lets his dog run free in our neighbourhood is a cop. Interesting, isn't it?
His dog is now so old that he doesn't bother my kids, but he shouldn't be walking through my back yard regardless!

Sorry, I went off there. Sorry you had such a terrible experience.

Lori L said...

It's nice to see other people understand. We are totally in agreement, Raidergirl. I have heard over the years all sorts of variations of people shouting "He won't bite!" or "He just wants to say hi!" or "He just wants to play!" as their dog comes tearing over, out-of-control. It is totally unacceptable. Even if it is a friendly dog it should not be allowed to run free. If you own dogs you have to take responsibility for them. They can not run loose (an exception would be if you are out in the country with no neighbors).

There can be all sorts of reasons why someone may not want to have a friendly dog come up to "visit" them. Several years ago my mother was recovering from surgery. When she was finally feeling up to taking a small walk down her block she had someone's friendly dog come running over and jumped up on her, causing major pain That should have never happened.

We have a very old dog living behind us who mostly sleeps all day. She is very friendly and calm but her owner still has her either in her kennel or on a rope. She is never allowed to run free (even though she'd probably just look for a new napping place). I'm wondering if she was the other dog attacked by the German Shepherd.

It is funny that they are both cops...

Lisa said...

How scary! Our neighbor's dogs jump the fence and play in our yard all the time. Fortunately we are on good terms and we have known both dogs since they were puppies. It would be scary if they were full grown when we met them.

Lori L said...

Lisa, our little dog used to dig under our fence in NV to visit our neighbor's little boy. While they thought it was cute (and their son and Sparky loved each other) we buried fencing going underground to stop his digging and visiting. It was our responsibility as dog owners to keep him under control even if his visits were welcome. (This behavior is probably why he ended up in the pound to begin with.)