New Year… New Lessons


Luke explaining to me why this is his side of the bed.

Luke explaining to me why this is his side of the bed.

A chilly Florida day and Luke was ready to get out and go. Literally.  His morning walk was rushed due to an cold snap.  I was freezing while Luke was hunting for the perfect spot.  Once this was achieved we ran back to the house as my cat, Jack, jogged behind us.  It was kind of fun.

Once back inside we went back to bed to read for a couple hours.  Our goal was to finish the Hobbit and have a second breakfast.  Second breakfast being very important when you are reading and writing about hobbits.  Still around 11, we needed to head outside for another walk. Luke wasn’t done and to be honest, he is used to walking two miles a day now so he wanted to stretch his legs.  I noticed the other dogs as soon as I stepped out.  The sight of the two large pit bulls unleashed in the yard across the street has become a common one.  The owner is usually near by and although I am not comfortable with it, I continued on because any time either dog has tried to leave the yard the owner stopped them.

Except for Friday, the little one came across the street. And by little I mean at least forty pounds of muscle.  I thought it was going to be alright at first, the two dogs were sniffing politely then a second later he went after Luke.  One of my neighbors came to help. The two were separated and the other dog was run back across the street. I picked Luke up like a baby and carried him into the house.

Hey Mom, I am a pirate.

Hey Mom, I am a pirate, not a baby.

I checked him as best I could looking where I thought the other dog had bite him.  I missed some spots but I will get to that later.  Besides being shaken up, he appeared no worse for wear. (I did after all pick him up like a big baby and carry him into the house.)

When I stepped back outside the dog that when after Luke was running all over the place barking and growling at people. The short time I was in the house, he went after another woman walking her dog.  Twenty minutes later the police arrived after being called by a neighbor.  The dog ran up to the officer and was sprayed.  The dog backed off, but continued his aggressive behavior to the point that the officer stepped up onto my porch to avoid shooting him. We spend the next couple of minutes getting people out of harm’s way.

There are many things that I have heard people say about the police and dogs, but in this case the police did everything to protect both the people and the animals involved. When additional officers arrived they coaxed the dogs into the backseat of the cars until the Animal Control officer arrived.  It was actually a sight to see the officers working to get the dogs to hop in the back. The on-lookers including myself all cheered when the second dog got in.

OPD protecting and serving all of its residents.

OPD protecting and serving all of its residents.

The other dog who had remained in the yard the whole time and was placed back inside the home whose door had been left open.  The door was shut and a notice was posted letting him know where his other dog was. We still don’t know why it was left open.  The owner couldn’t explain it and the police didn’t believe that someone had tried to break in.  I am not sure what to believe.

I did press charges.  And then I beat myself up for it. After all, it isn’t the dog’s fault. It is his human’s fault. In the end, I had a moment to decide and after having seen everything that happened after the attack I went forward.  Still I worry about the dog whose name even after I talked with the owner, I still don’t know.

I didn’t have too much time dwell on it though Luke began throwing up an hour after the attack.  This continued through the night. Six times in less than twenty-four hours. Three of those times were on my comforter.  I decided that the best course of action was to take him to the vet as soon they opened. Thankfully, they had an opening at eight o’clock so we hopped in the car, grabbed some coffee and headed off the the Haiwassee Veterinary Clinic. Even if Luke isn’t feeling well he still loves a car ride. He threw up in the car and looked up at me as if to say he was sorry.

At the vets’ office after some tears (mine) and screaming (Luke’s), it was determined that Luke had been hurt. His rear was causing him so much pain that he won’t go the bathroom.  This was causing him to be get backed up and gas to push back causing him to throw up.  A lot. Thankfully, he wasn’t dehydrated. Sadly for him, he had to get two shots one for pain and one for the constipation. We did find some scratches on his chest, but nothing broke the skin.

Since then the neighbor has come over to apologize which was more about how this is going to hurt him than actually seeing how my dog or I was doing.  He left saying he would see me in court.  Ok?? I think it was a poor attempt to get me to drop the charges or to make me feel guilty. Maybe both?  Everything was thrown on him at once and now he doesn’t know what to do. Wasn’t he grateful for the police having the decency to go out of their way to protect his animals from harm?  Did he care that Luke was throwing up all night? Did he care that his dog hurt my dog? Or what this unexpected bill was going to do to my finances?  All I heard was how both dogs were so good. This wasn’t about the dog that stayed in the yard as trained, it was about the dog that attacked Luke.  And then he admitted that the small one has attacked his larger dog and was new to the household.  This explained the dogs reaction more, but not why the door was open.  I am told him I was sorry as well, but made no offer to drop the charges.  I was exhausted from having been up all night with Luke, running to the vet and dealing with keeping an active dog calm so he could heal.

jan 096

Being patience with the humans

Luke has thrown up twice since we got back from the vet, but he seems to be keeping food down which is good and he was able to go the bathroom.  Still, we are taking it easy and not starting out on any epic walks.  The pain medication is making him crawl up into a little ball and sleep, which is adorable.

Tomorrow, I am going to call and speak with a lawyer to find out exactly what is going to happen next. I hate the idea that the other dog is going to suffer because of his owner’s negligent. The owner of the other dog has been cited for several things beyond the attack on Luke. So even if I dropped the charges, this won’t be over for him. I also want to know if it is worth it to go after the money for Luke’s vet bill.

Even with a three hundred dollar vet bill, I know that Luke and I got lucky. If my neighbor hadn’t been there to get the dog off and away from Luke he would have been seriously hurt.  After talking to the Animal Control officer, he should be able to get his dog back after paying the fine and I will only have to go to court if he fights it.  But, the lawyer will hopefully let me know for sure.

Is there a lesson out of this mess?  I am not sure. I want to believe that pressing charges is the right thing to do, but a good friend of mine has been making me question that. I don’t want the other dog hurt just in a better and safer place.  It is a human’s fault he was out and that he was so scared. But the aggression is another issue.  I live in a neighborhood with a lot of animals and kids.  What if the dog gets out again and bites a child could I live with myself then? No, I could not.

Maybe the lesson is that in life sometimes you make a choice  isn’t perfect, but it is the best one given the circumstances. And that no matter how much you love and respect someone you aren’t always going to agree with them on what the right thing to do is.

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5 thoughts on “New Year… New Lessons

  1. I have a few thoughts here. First, some breeds are more inherently aggressive than others. If you own a dog that is an aggressive breed, the owner MUST be responsible for the behavior of the dog. YOU have NOTHING to feel guilty about.

    Don’t let your feelings about animals in general cloud your thinking about this. Do dogs get into fights sometimes? Sure. Happens all the time. But there is a difference between two dogs on leashes who sniff each other, and something happens between them, and an aggressive dog unleashed, and unattended attacking another.

    Not only that, you should not feel scared to walk out of your home, for fear of getting attacked.

    I am in no way indicting Pit Bulls. I am however indicting poor ownership. You’re neighbor is one of them.

    • Thank you for your kind words. Regardless of the breed, an owner is responsible for the actions of his pet. I am feeling better but not a 100% about my decision. Right now, he is blasting music loud enough to shake my house.

  2. I am glad that Luke is starting to mend.

    It falls on us as owners and caregivers of animals to care for them. We need to be responsible for our pets and their actions. No one is going to question that a pet owner should clean up the poop on the neighbor’s lawn from their dog. That is called responsibility. On a larger scale, a pet owner needs to be held responsible for other actions their animal does.

    When a dog attacks, the dog’s owner needs to be held responsible for the actions. Similarly, the dog’s owner should be held responsible for expenses due to his neglect.

    I put this on the owner, not the dog. Unfortunately, because of this owner’s neglegence in not making sure the dog was secure and not fully compitent in the temperment of the animal, he has done the dog a disservice.

    Perhaps this animal could have rehabilitated, perhaps not. But, as soon as he attacked another animal without provocation, he became a danger. This part is not your choice of whether or not to press charges. The choice of what would happen was the pet owner’s not yours.

    If you don’t press charges and he doesn’t face his responsibilites nothing will be learned and he will feel as if he can do what he wants without consequences.

    • I put it on the owner as well. Pit Bull and Pit Mixes get a bad reputation because of people like him. Apparently, he could afford the fine and has his dog back. Maybe with time he will be able to work out the issues with this dog so it won’t act out and get a better lock for his front door.

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