February 10, 2008


Of all of the emotions and thoughts that were running through my head that morning, the most overwhelming one was of helplessness. That feeling of helplessness has been difficult to reconcile because I knew I would have been safer with a proper means to defend myself.
       --Bradford Wiles, quoted by Glenn Reynolds

The other night when we were out walking Charlie, the neighborhood watch guy was out. He warned us that they were looking for two stray dogs, a pit bull and a rottweiler, who had been roaming the neighborhood. These dogs had already mauled and killed another dog, right in front of his owner on her front lawn. Animal control had been out and set a trap, but they weren't having any luck luring the dogs. He told us to be careful.

We just got back from a walk again today, and as we rounded a corner in the neighborhood, I spotted the rottweiler coming slowly from between two houses. We immediately turned, and I don't think the dog ever saw us. But it certainly was unnerving to walk the rest ofthe way home with our backs to where we'd last seen a dangerous dog. I couldn't help but wish we had some way to defend ourselves. I remembered reading Glenn Reynolds' article again the other day, and I felt Bradford Wiles' sense of helplessness.

And my husband is now uneasy that we're safe in our home while danger lurks outside. He's a sheepdog, and he feels awful about letting the wolf roam free. But we don't know anything about the legal ramifications of the situation; can one just go outside with a pistol and Atticus Finch a dangerous dog? Animal control has tried and failed to catch this dog, so the whole neighborhood is at his mercy.

I also worry about the many dogs in the neighborhood who are tied up outside. A vicious dog could come attack them in their own yards, and they'd be at a serious disadvantage if they're on a ten-foot leash.

And I worry about taking Charlie on another walk tomorrow.

Posted by Sarah at February 10, 2008 01:46 PM | TrackBack

I think in NC you can shoot it if it's on your property, but I wouldn't suggest any firearms if you're in a subdivision. If there's a natural area around, they might be hiding out back there, and it might be pretty easy to cap 'em if your hubby could hang out in the woods for a little while. We had to do that a few times, but we lived on 100's of acres of undeveloped land. Subdivisions are going to be a bit harder.

I also have a friend whose dog was killed by another while it was on a walk on a leash. I'd keep Charlie leashed until the aggressors are taken care of.

Posted by: Sis B at February 10, 2008 02:18 PM

Take Charlie walking in another neighborhood until these dogs are caught, k? We had an experience in our family where a known aggressive German Shepherd was allowed in the retirement community where ex-dh's grandma lived. That dog ripped her tiny Maltese from the arms of her nurse and shook her dog to death. His grandma (and the nurse) were never the same after that and my first mil, who is not a sheepdog in the least, would have shot that dog on sight, I'm sure.

I hope enough of your neighbors get on the horn to the authorities until they either a) get out there until the job is done or b) give some professionals an opportunity to take care of it.

Posted by: Guard Wife at February 10, 2008 05:33 PM

That is really scary. My childhood cat was an indoor/outdoor cat, and he was mauled by a neighbor's loose, vicious dog. I can't imagine what it must have felt like to have to walk home knowing that the dog was somewhere behind you.

Maybe you can call either animal control or the local authorities and ask what you can do if the animals are on your property or if you see them? Maybe you're allowed to shoot them where you live, or they'll give you some other options that might make you feel safer?

Posted by: Ann M. at February 12, 2008 09:13 PM