Thursday, October 10, 2013

Think twice before you own two or more large dogs!

Anyone who owns or wants to own two (or more) large dogs should reconsider that decision.
A highly publicized Oct. 7, 2013 attack by two pit bulls on a Layton, Utah woman and her dog near my own house prove having two large canines to be a significant, potential danger.
I have one large dog and he's a handful.
But the widespread trend now is to own two or more dogs and that is a troubling fad.
Here's why:
I've lived in my same house for 30 years. For 26 years, I ran and walked about the neighborhood with only one loose dog problem.
Then it is late 2009 and two loose dogs attack me and I'm bitten once on the leg.
After that attack, the flood gates opened. I have since encountered three more sets of loose double dogs, spared from attacks only by the pepper spray and stick I religiously carry now.
The younger generation seems to think that they have to have two dogs -- one won't do.
Trouble is, some of these owners don't have proper fences to contain their dogs and never take them out for walks.
In essence, they don't properly care for the animals.

                     Pepper spray, like this, is a wise item for walkers/runners to always carry.

And, some like the owners of the two dogs that caused that Oct. 7, 2013 attack in Layton, they don't even have their dogs licensed or vaccinated.
(Anyone in Layton City with three or more dogs isn't going to license them, since two dogs is the maximum legal limit in ownership.)
I also partially blame the animal adoption groups, like No More Homeless Pets and the Humane Society of Utah, for this troubling trend.
They are TOO good at getting people to adopt not one, but two dogs -- when some pet owners couldn't even properly care and contain one canine, let alone two.
(Yes, I've seen these adoption groups routinely strongly encourage potential adopters to take two dogs, so the one dog won't be lonely.)
These adoption groups brag about their success, but they are helping to create a surge in dog ownership, with its accompanying problems.
When you own two large dogs, you have a huge potential liability because the chances are, if they get loose, they will act like a pack and are far more likely to attack someone.
I've seen the difference first hand. If I meet a solo loose dog, he usually isn't all that aggressive -- just territorial at the most.
But two loose dogs together is another story. They usually do act more aggressive and want to team up on you.
So, people can claim to me that their dogs are calm and would never attack anyone, but get them loose and in a dog "pack" mentality and it could happen!
I've met several dozen solo loose dogs in recent years, plus the four sets of double dogs and I've seen the difference in behavior.
Now, regarding pit bulls and similar breeds:
If my Aussie bites someone, the bite is a .22 caliber type. Any dog can bite.
However, pit bulls have more of a .44 or even .357 caliber bite.
They are simply more deadly in potential and need to be treated as such. If you own pit bulls, you need to pay more attention to keeping them confined properly.
(In the United Kingdom, pit bull owners have to keep such dogs' face muzzled in public, or they face jail time and loss of the animal.)
The owners of the dogs which caused the Layton attack didn't miss their dogs until many hours later. The attack happened at 5:45 a.m. It was afternoon when the owners contacted Davis County Animal Control and reported their missing animals, still oblivious to any attack they had already caused.
By then, these owners were on record and when they heard about the attacks, they came forward again. They have offered to pay for all medical and vet bills (likely in the thousands of dollars) and their two dogs were put to sleep.
However, I remain unconvinced that these owners would have come forward IF they had heard about the attacks first.
After all, they could be sued big time for their negligence.
I would have been surely tempted to make an example of these irresponsible owners. To not have their dogs vaccinated, licensed and loose for many hours before they missed them is simply inexcusable.
But, at the least these irresponsible owners are likely to get misdemeanor criminal charges for not having their dogs licensed, vaccinated and for them running loose.
I've been warning people in my neighborhood for 4 years about the high potential for such and attack and sadly it happened.
That woman could have been killed had not a car came by with two people who helped her. (One of the dogs had knocked her to the ground at that point.)

               The rod from a broken umbrella makes a good retractable walking stick.

I have to carry pepper spray and retractable stick with me at all times when I walk or run about the neighborhood.
The stem from and old umbrella makes a suitable, retractable walking stick. It fits inside one layer of my clothes, by the side of my hip. I can even jog with it there.
Pepper sprays usually have a belt clip on them.
(However, be warned! Trying to use pepper spray in a crisis situation at night, in the dark, or if it is windy, is tricky. I know, I've tried it. It is hard to hit your target and it could hit your own face.)
-It is not a matter of if I will encounter more  loose dogs, just a matter of when.
So far, in the past 3 weeks alone, I have encountered 7 loose dogs in the area, running about freely.
I love dogs. I've always had one around. But it is these irresponsible dog owners who I could do without.
--In a related note, if you own two or more large dogs and they are outside on your lawn a lot, they will likely ruin it and it will become a mud/dirt area only.

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