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Follow up? What would you do?

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  • Follow up? What would you do?

    I am seething, and I could use some advice about how to handle a dog attack I witnessed this evening. I was walking on a beach in Gloucester, MA, with my daughters, and I saw some commotion in the water near the marshy area.

    A woman was standing on the edge of the creek, watching her dog as he attacked a seagull or a heron in the shallow water. She was pretty far away from us, but when I realized what was happening, and that she was doing nothing, not even calling her dog, my daughter and I started running down the beach toward her, shouting, "Call your dog!"

    The dog kept barking and pouncing on the bird in the shallow water, and she turned and just walked away. I screamed, 'Call your dog!" again and she called back, "I tried," which was obviously not true. As she saw us getting closer, she finally called the dog off and ran for the parking lot with him before we could get there. He was a huge standard poodle, and this was happening only ten feet away from her in shallow water but she did nothing!

    The bird didn't resurface and was carried away by the current before we could get there. Dogs aren't allowed on the beach until September 15, so she was violating the rules just being there. I am a dog lover, and I really enjoy all the dogs on the beach, but this was horrific. What would you have done? Should I call animal control in the morning? Honestly, it's probably a good thing that woman ran for it and got away because my blood was boiling, just witnessing that scene.

    It seems to me that bringing a dog to the beach is a privilege, and there is no place for a dog that will attack and kill the wildlife there, and definitely no place for a dog owner who witnessed their dog attacking something and does absolutely nothing. What if it's another small dog next time? It seems so futile, now that the poor bird is dead and she got away, but it was just so wrong.

  • #2
    hmmmm, this is kind of tough in a odd way.
    Yes, I'd call the ACO, describe the dog and the woman, if for no other reason that if someone else sees this woman, they have a record...or already know her.

    As far as why I have mixed feelings. As you know, its difficult to be able to bring your dog to the beach, so by reporting it, you kind of make dog owners, or some dog owners look bad.

    But all in all, yes, I would report it, and probably even write a letter to the local newspaper.

    I am sorry you witnessed that.
    save lives...spay/neuter/geld


    • #3
      I think that unless you have some way to identify her (license plate), there's not much anyone can do.

      I would call the people in charge of the beach, whoever that may be, and just let them know what you saw. That way if anything happens, at least it was reported and there's a bit of a "paper trail."

      I'm infuriated right along with you, glad you at least tried to step in and do something.


      • #4
        I don't think you can make the leap between a dog going after a bird and a dog attacking another dog.

        If you got the woman's license plate you could report that a dog was on the beach to whoever patrols the beach.

        What happened was sick but I don't think animal control can fine someone for watching their dog kill a bird unless the bird was a protected animal.


        • #5
          I have no advice about what to do about it, but I felt strongly enough to post and say I'm horrified. I'm horrified it happened, that the woman did nothing, and that you had to see it. Her running for it leads me to believe that she really didn't give a #$&^ about what her dog was doing until she got caught. I know if I were in her position and people came running I'd be glad for the help, because I WOULD give a HUGE ^%$*.

          Even if there is nothing you can do really, hopefully this woman spends a few days scared silly that there IS something you can do and can track her. And hopefully it will be enough for her to think twice before taking that dog out off a leash.

          You mentioned it might have been a heron. Are they protected in your area?

          Just all around, it's very sad, she sounds like a not great addition to humanity, and I'm sorry it happened.
          "Aye God, Woodrow..."


          • #6
            I once had an old grizzled pomeranian (not by choice), that I would take to the beach. He was a swimmer, loved going in the water. The beach ventures stopped after he caught up with a mallard duck and tried to mount it in the water. Clearly, the duck didnt mind as it didnt even try to swim away, however for the childrens sake I never brought him back. He was a horny little dog, but usually for legs/dogs/cats, I guess willing ducks are no different....

            As for the standard poodle, yes...I think you did all you could. She should not have brought the dog to the beach if they arent allowed during this time. Her dogs recall should have been better, but lets face it, most dog owners do not have even 50% recall abilities. If my old JRT caught up with a squirrel, although he had 99% recall, that would have been a 1% time he would have ignored me.


            • #7
              Depending on the type of bird, what happened could be a federal wildlife crime. I know migratory birds are protected, and I bet a lot of egrets and herons are also. And I bet this has happened before, and from the owner's reaction probably this wasn't out of the ordinary with this owner and animal. I would report it to whoever supervises the beach, and tell them if you see her again you'll try to get a license number.
              You can't fix stupid-Ron White


              • #8
                From a practical standpoint, if the dog was able to attack the bird, it was probably sick or injured. A healthy bird would have flown away when the dog approached. The exception might be a bird sitting on eggs or protecting its nest but its pretty late in the year for that. Also, in my experience once a dog or any predator for that matter, grabs a bird or other prey animal, its very difficult to save it. Even if it survives the attack, the stress or trauma from the injuries usually kills it. So, if my dog catches a rabbit, bird, etc. I just let nature take its course. Now, there is the question of whether the dog should have been unleashed at the beach. Personally, my dogs are always leashed in public places and they dang sure would be leashed at a beach. I remember the scene from Jaws where the shark ate the lab.
                I'm a second hand Vegan. Cows eat grass. I eat cows.


                • #9
                  I am with wireweiners here. I actually called my vet once when one of my dogs killed a bird (in my yard). I was concerned about my dog catching something from the bird. I was told that while that was unlikely, the bird could have been sick or injured because healthy adult birds are pretty hard for most dogs to catch. Practically speaking, most pet owners aren't able to call their dog off a prey animal. Calling the dog may not have done much good, and once the dog has bitten into the prey, it is probably quicker for the dog to finish it off.
                  Off leash may be legal there, but the privilege will probably be taken away if other visitors have to watch dogs eat the wildlife. However, I am not sure how I feel about saying that the dog attacked the bird. The dog is a predator. He did what his instincts told him to do. The owner should train him to leave it or leave the leash on.


                  • #10
                    Firstly, the beach was not open to dogs yet anyway, probably due to nesting or migratory habits of certain birds (like the one killed most likely and just for that reason). I'm sorry but I couldn't be as casual as some of you are suggesting the poster should be. I would report it. For all you know, that parking lot, like many beach parking lots, has a camera trained on it. I would also be tempted to put up a flyer asking if anyone knew the dog and it's owner. If anything came of the flyers, I would turn it over the authorities.

                    The whole, well, the bird was probably sick and going to die anyway is ridiculous. You're going to eventually die as well, but that doesn't mean that I get to hunt you down and kill you any sooner than would occur naturally.

                    I'm so sick of this whole MYOB movement that is going on in America. It's no wonder that football teams are gang-raping girls and posting photos on Twitter while doing it and no one reports it.
                    Rhode Islands are red;
                    North Hollands are blue.
                    Sorry my thoroughbreds
                    Stomped on your roo. Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' :


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by SquishTheBunny View Post
                      I once had an old grizzled pomeranian (not by choice), that I would take to the beach. He was a swimmer, loved going in the water. The beach ventures stopped after he caught up with a mallard duck and tried to mount it in the water. Clearly, the duck didnt mind as it didnt even try to swim away, however for the childrens sake I never brought him back. He was a horny little dog, but usually for legs/dogs/cats, I guess willing ducks are no different....

                      That's hysterical!!!!!


                      • #12
                        There isn't anything wrong with reporting it. I agree that she shouldn't be bringing her dog to the beach if it isnt allowed. And perhaps if there is a special date, then the birds are nesting and that is why the dog caught it.
                        Personally, though, I hate the Disney movies that imply that animals don't eat each other.


                        • #13
                          I don't think anyone said or implied that animals don't eat each other. Even more reason for people to be responsible and in control of their animals, and not bring their animals to the area when they are not allowed. I'm pretty sure the fed govt doesn't give a hinney if your dog is an animal that eats other animals. If you let him eat a flattened musk turtle/red-headed cockaded woodpecker/pick your endangered species of choice, while you stood there watching it, you would be looking at a fine.
                          Rhode Islands are red;
                          North Hollands are blue.
                          Sorry my thoroughbreds
                          Stomped on your roo. Originally Posted by pAin't_Misbehavin' :


                          • #14
                            Please report it. Might prevent more carnage. I want you to know that your concern about it happening and the possibility (certainty) that it will happen again is admirable. Our dogs aren't wolves that have to kill for a living. It's our responsibility to effectively manage and control their prey drive. If that's a problem, they need to stay in our large, well fenced yards and when out of that environment, be on a leash. You are terrific for caring about this as much as you do. Kudos.


                            • Original Poster

                              Follow up

                              Thank you for all the input. Squishthebunny, thank you for the laugh. It sounds like you had quite the Glen Campbell of the dog world! I only wish what I saw was an amorous romp, but unfortunately, this was a huge dog out for the kill.

                              I thought about this all last night. While it is over and done with, I am just not one to sit by and watch something so horrible happen and walk away. Going over it, and talking to my daughters about it, it was the woman's cavalier attitude that really made us angry. She just stood there, allowing the killing less then ten feet away from her in full view of vacationers, parents and kids across the creek from her. She truly didn't care, or even worse, she was into it, because when she saw me running down the beach toward her, shouting at her to call her dog, she shouted back, 'I tried,' but when she saw me keep on coming, she called her dog pretty darn quick and he bounded out of the water behind her as she hot footed it to the parking lot and got away.

                              I'm not Rambo. I'm more like Mrs. Weasley, but it was just so awful to see something so gruesome, and the owner just standing there doing Absolutely Nothing.

                              Most dog owners who walk that beach with their dogs love the beach, appreciate the natural beauty and are very conscientious about their dogs. Her behavior with her dog could jeopardize that, because there is an element who don't like the dogs on the beach even in the off season. She was there before dogs are allowed on the beach, and she let her dog go off leash and kill a shore bird, possibly an endangered one. I think other dog owners would not be happy to think she could be jeopardizing their privilege with her behavior.

                              So, this morning I called animal control and reported what we witnessed. I asked him to please call me back, and hopefully he will. It won't undo what's been done, but I am at that beach fairly often, and if she is there with her dog off leash again, allowing it to chase down and kill wildlife, I want to know what I can do and who I can call to stop it.

                              Thanks again, everyone. I appreciate all the input. Even Mrs. Weasley could kick some serious behind when she had to....


                              • #16
                                You could try visiting the beach around the same time and see if you see her again. People are so pattern oriented that she may go there around the same time of day if not every day maybe a few times a week...you might be able to get her plates.


                                • #17
                                  Have your cell phone at the ready.
                                  take a pic of her and the dog, take a pic of her vehicle, etc

                                  Good for you that you reported it.
                                  Living here in New england, I know how hard it is for us to even have beach rights for our dogs in the off season...but we have to police ourselves, so I am glad you reported it.

                                  And, although I agree with the others about the bird being attacked and not intervening since that means the bird dies a slower death...I can get that, and thought of that too.
                                  But, I always disapprove of any violence, even if it is at the expense of one bird or whatever. If my dogs do something wrong(injuring another animal), I am all over them...
                                  my only rule is...you must get along with each other, if not, you deal with me.

                                  I agree, this woman sounds kind of sicko or incompetent.
                                  She ran, because she knew she did wrong.

                                  I hope you 'meet' her again, and silently get her license number.
                                  save lives...spay/neuter/geld


                                  • #18
                                    Originally posted by JanM View Post
                                    Depending on the type of bird, what happened could be a federal wildlife crime. I know migratory birds are protected, and I bet a lot of egrets and herons are also. And I bet this has happened before, and from the owner's reaction probably this wasn't out of the ordinary with this owner and animal. I would report it to whoever supervises the beach, and tell them if you see her again you'll try to get a license number.
                                    Yes, I know there are Leech's Storm Petrels in Gloucester, because a birdy coworker was very excited to have seen one. Here's the list for Mass, there are a number of sea birds on it:


                                    I'd give the beach management folks a heads up, they may not be able to do anything right now, but they'd be aware that there is an issue.


                                    • #19
                                      Thank you for making the call. As a dog lover and beach lover, I love combining the 2 and people like this make me so, so angry. My beach is dog friendly during the season before and after lifeguard hours, and after Labor Day all the time. But we clean up after ourselves, and he's learning not to go near the line marking the piping plover nesting area. I don't even like him chasing the seagulls. The idea of allowing him to kill wildlife...that is horrifying to me and that lady is clearly not right.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Cnaqua, thank you for such an interesting link. I bookmarked it because I love bird watching, especially at Good Harbor. Mr. Chai and I were both happy to see the Piping Plovers making a comeback this year. We haven't seen that many since we were kids.

                                        Just came back from a September 11 swim...water is beautiful, so crystal clear and warm for this time of year. No sign of the killer dog or the owner, but I'm on the lookout.