Just got off the phone with my mom as she is at the emergency clinic with the family dog. Turns out the neighbor's Bull Terrier ate its way through the fence and had my dog by the throat. My dad started beating the dog with a tire iron but it had no effect. They finally got the dogs separated and as you can imagine, my dog is a bloody mess but is alive and getting her throat stitched back together as we speak.
Dilemma: Neighbor came and got the dog but we are debating whether or not to call AC/police. We live in a very nice neighborhood with a brick wall/wooden fence but this dog somehow managed to chew/dig his way through. However, this is someone's family pet and i'm afraid that AC will destroy him due to being an aggressive type breed (even if bullys aren't as badly thought of as pits) Thoughts? Tell the neighbors to fix the fence and not let it happen again? Get AC involved?
Get AC involved. No excuses for a vicious dog. What will happy the next time it gets loose?
Ditto. I'm all for people carefully managing dogs with aggression issues, however, MOST people don't have the skill set for that to work out and can become very difficult when you try to point that out to them. Clearly these people are not properly managing the issue if this happened.
If this had happened to my dog, I would definitely be reporting the issue. I hear too many stories where incidents go unreported until someone gets really hurt (and then wouldn't you feel bad?) Plus, this sounds like a pretty serious incident, not just an understandable minor kerfuffle, "dogs-will-be-dogs" sort of thing.
Call the police/AC. Not sure if the dog will need to be quarantined since it bit a dog and not a person, but it might. Also, what if next time it attacks a dog, a person gets bitten trying to separate them? Hopefully police/AC will give them steps to follow to be sure this doesn't happen again...and lay out the consequences for if it does. I don't think most municipalities will destroy a dog that attacked another dog and not a human (but this will vary I'm sure), but they WILL keep it on record for if it happens again.
Call the police/AC, document the attack and present the vet bill to your neighbor for reimbursement. The dog came on your property and attacked your dog. What if it would have been a small child? Sorry, I have no patience for irresponsible knucklehead owners. If the dog is seized, kind of "so what". It probably has an unreported history that well meaning people allow the behavior to escalate. You take care of your family. Your neighbors need to take care of their own business. They are responsible for the wellbeing of their animal. Not you.
BTW - Years ago we had a neighbor that had an Ayrdale that ran across the street out of their yard and attacked our sweet little dog. We allowed the people to talk us out of reporting because it was the only time it happened. About two months later, this same Ayrdale tried to attack a neighbor who was jogging past its house. That neighbor did not report it because "it was the only time it happened". About a month after that I was delivering papers one morning - yes it was that long ago - and dog lunged at me and bit the bag that the newspapers were in. No big deal... I wasn't hurt and it was early and only the owners saw it and they were nice people and tipped very well. At Christmas time, the dog bit somebody and they needed 28 stitches to their face, neck and arms. The dog still had another chance after that but was required to wear a muzzle when in public. They eventually put the dog down when they started their family. They could not trust it with their new baby.
Call the police/AC, document the attack and present the vet bill to your neighbor for reimbursement. The dog came on your property and attacked your dog. What if it would have been a small child?
I just want to point out that dogs can be dog aggressive and not at all human aggressive - a dog that bites another dog will not necessarily at some point 'graduate' to people/children.
That said, making the effort to get over/through/under a reasonable fence to get at another dog is some pretty impressive aggression. If the OP doesn't feel comfortable calling animal control, perhaps strongly suggest that the neighbor calls in a specialist trainer for advice or you will contact animal control? (Agree that neighbor should pay vet bills also.)
(I'm not sure if I'd call AC right away myself - I think it would depend a lot on my relationship with the neighbor and if I thought they were going to take the problem seriously and get professional help. People can and do manage dog aggressive dogs, but you can't just 'wing' it and be safe. If they show no signs of thinking there's a problem that needs to be fixed, then I probably would contact AC at that point.)
I'd also try to get the full story of what happened and see if there's anything that can be done to minimize risk of something happening in the future, on your side of things. Yes, you should able to enjoy your property with your dog, etc. but I'd rather keep my dog away from that edge of the yard if necessary than risk ending up with a dead dog, you know?
What do you mean you're debating whether you should get the AC involved? The dog came through a fence to try to eat your dog! What about precedent? Is yours the first time this occurred, or perhaps this has happened before and some other victim was too softhearted to report it to the AC?
ETA full disclosure; I got a dog like that from the pound a long time ago. That was his first episode. He got worse and he attacked his groomer and I put him down. That is not to say that dog aggression equals people aggression, but I'll echo Kdow - coming through a fence (in his case, over 2 back to back fences including one that was 6 foot with barbed wire on top) is some pretty impressive aggression. What I learned about this dog after I had him destroyed made me speculate that he'd done something pretty bad in his first home and his owners lacked the courage do right by the dog and instead dropped him off at the pound without disclosure so he became somebody else's problem.
He is total garbage! Quick! Hide him on my trailer (Petstorejunkie).
Definitely report it both to police and animal control. Important not just to have a record on file so that there can be an established history if there are any future attacks on your dog or anyone else's, but also in case the owners try to weasel out of paying your vet bills and damages to the fence.
I guess before running off to report this incident, I would see what the owners do to see that it never happens again. Do they put in new fencing, do they also get an e collar type fence, do they bring in a trainer, do they build a kennel so the dog is contained when outside without a person with it?
If I observed this type of behavior on their part I probably wouldn't report it because the owner is taking all the steps necessary to prevent another attack.
(Full disclosure, I have a bad little dog who has been known to nip on occassion. (Darn aussie herding instinct.) My neighbors did not report the 2 incidents because the steps I took and continue to take convinced them that I took the problem very seriously. The bad little dog is trained within an inch of his life and there have been no further incidents or close calls. I will be forever grateful that they gave me a chance to fix the dog without involving AC.)
Have them contact the local AC and Police, and file a report. It depends on the state laws in regards to who is responsible for paying the Vet bills though, morally, they should be offering to pay for them. Bull Terriers, like other bully breeds, have a high propensity of being dog aggressive. For a dog to go through the fence to get to another dog just says to me that the dog has been dog aggressive for awhile, probably hasn't been around any other dogs, [possibly intact,] and has owners who haven't done anything in the past to stop it/try to manage it.
Dog Aggression does not always equal Human Aggression, but it can if the dog has a few wires loose.
If wishes were horses then beggars would ride...
DLA: Draft Lovers Anonymous
Originally Posted by talkofthetown
As in, the majikal butterfly-fahting gypsy vanners.
I would talk to the neighbors first. Do they realize how serious the situation is ? Do they realize that the dog had to be beaten with a tire iron to let go ? Have the offered to pay the vet bills ?
IF they are doing all the right things (ie, fixing fence, adding training, paying bill, apologizing profusely), I would keep an eye on things. Is this a new dog, or has he been living there for years and years (and working on the escape plan for some time) before he got out ? Is this the first incident ? Did the dog go after the people who were trying to help the dog being attacked ?
I would still call animal control if I had any doubts whatsoever after talking to the neighbors about it. But there are too many 'unknowns' , so I would talk to them first.
As a Pit Bull and a Bull Terrier owner--don't let it slide. There are too many dogs being euthanized around the world to let things like this 'go' and perpetuate bad reputations.
They should at the very least pay every dime of your medical bills, and fix the fence--and turn him outside in a cage muzzle from now on. There's a difference between a dog being leash tense, or a one dog only home, or not friendly with strangers---and chewing THROUGH a fence to kill another dog. Not acceptable.
The dog clawed through a fence, damn near killed your dog, wouldn't release with your dad hitting the dog with a tire iron, and your dog is at the vet after being shreded? Call AC if the vet hasn't already, and if AC isn't part of the police department then make a report through them also. And give the vet bills to the owner, and tell them they are paying every penny or else you're suing them. If the neighbors didn't know their dog was that aggressive (bet they did too), they do now. I don't care what they do in the future about the dog, but they are now on notice about the animal's aggression, and if you don't document it will be like the Airdale story above. If it happens again, and it will, your dog could be dead or have to be put down, and your dad and others who tried to help are lucky they weren't bitten trying to rescue your dog.
Being nice and neighborly stops for me when something like this happens. Their dog is a menace to other animals, and maybe people if something happens and a person has to rescue an animal from their dog.
No way, in general, that dog aggression equals or graduates to people aggression. That's like saying because your horse kicked another horse in the pasture that it's probably going to graduate to kicking people.
On this particular dog, however, hear me out...
One of the most experienced dog behaviorists out there, Jean Donaldson, says the two important factors in judging how dangerous a dog is:
If a dog has good bite inhibition (never draws blood) it doesn't matter how many fights it gets into. That's perfectly normal dog behavior and the fights are a social problem for the humans, not the dogs.
Similarly, if a dog gives lots of warning signals--growls, freezing, etc--it is also normal behavior, communicating to the other party that there's a BIG problem here that had better be addressed NOW, or ELSE.
If a dog has bite inhibition and gives fair warning, aggression issues can very likely be addressed with faithful management and training.
The most dangerous dogs--and the OP dog definitely falls into the first category at the least--have no bite inhibition and give no warning. They just go from nothing to nailing bite in the blink of an eye. It's not that the dog chewed through the fence--lots of dogs are escape artists--or the fact of the fight itself. Many if not most dogs will fight or bite for whatever canine reasons they have.
The fact that the OP dog not only drew blood but was clearly trying to kill is the crucial factor. That puts it in the Most Dangerous category.
Those of us with big dogs that can be dog-dog aggressive end up spending a lot of time thinking about these things. It's a miserable social experience to own and love a dog that starts fights with other dogs. But those two factors, bite inhibition and warning signals, are crucial. As long as my dog has those two things strongly intact, I can do a lot of management, training and apologizing for loud scary sound-n-fury scuffles at the dog park that end up with two perfectly unhurt dogs and a couple of very upset owners. It's the owners who suffer, the dogs trot away fine.
But if I had a dog that drew blood intentionally, I would have to draw the line. From the description, this dog was way over the psychological line where it would kill anything. Ergo, I don't think amateur owners can probably safely manage the dog. It's a tragic situation, and I'm very sorry to hear about it and that it happened to your poor dog, OP.
Last edited by MelantheLLC; Sep. 6, 2012 at 12:53 PM.
If my dog attacked someone I would put them down immediately. If my dog were attacked I would take whatever steps necessary to make sure that dog never hurt anyone else. If the owner was stepping up and taking care of matters themselves then we could leave the police out of it. If there was any hesitation on the owner's part I would take it out of the owner's hands by reporting it.
As a pit owner I also agree to call AC. I agree with Laurie, if my dog did anything like that it would be considering getting it put down. I also don't leave my dog in a yard without supervision and my yard is concrete with a reinforced fence around it for not digging but besides the point.
Its the owners fault and hopefully they take responsibility but I would not 100% count on it. Jingles for your dog.
I am on my phone 90% of the time. Please ignore typos, misplaced lower case letters, and the random word butchered by autocowreck.
Thanks for all the responses guys! Gave me some things to think about.
We have made a report with AC and the owners are paying the vet bills. They said the dog will most likely have to be quarantined.
I think part of the hesitation with reporting this incident is that we used to have a dog that was very dog aggressive. We were super careful with her and never put her in situations where she would be able to hurt another dog BUT I do remember one night she dug a hole behind some bushes and went into that dog's very yard (different neighbors) lol The people didn't own any dogs and in my dog's 8 years of life she never offered any aggression toward humans. Accidents happen and I would hate for this dog to be dealt with super harshly just because of his breed rep.
That being said, my dog's wellbeing comes first and I think we did the right thing!