January 26, 2009,
L.B. asks from Silver Spring, MD on December 06, 2008
Dogs Running Loose
This isn't really a pet question but a safety concern. I have new neighbors who got two bull mastiff puppies about 10 months ago. They fenced their yard but they cannot seem to keep these dogs in. They also have a young son who apparently lets them out...though given the size of these dogs, they may just run him over when he opens the door. The dogs now weigh about 150 pounds each and they are almost as tall as my 6 year old. They are sweet tempered dogs but they run loose a lot. Recently a pit bull has been running around with them. Apparently, the neighbors have gotten another dog or they are dog sitting for someone because I saw the young mom driving around the neighborhood today in her pickup calling all three dogs by name. Yesterday I saw the dogs running around the intersection where my son and 4 other children catch the bus to their elementary school. The bus had only picked them up a half an hour prior to me seeing these dogs loose. The owner was nowhere in sight.
I must confess that my own pet, a large tabby cat, goes outside so I am not one to cast stones but this situation frightens me. If these were Chihuahuas I might be concerned about them biting my kid but not about them packing together and killing him. Before the pit bull and mastiff lovers start flaming me and defending the breed, I am not saying that these dogs are bad but I am saying that I don't think the owners are responsible enough to be taking care of these dogs. I really don't want to call Animal Services and I don't want the neighbor to know I am the complaintant but I don't think I could live with myself if something terrible happened and I hadn't tried to stop it. What would you do in this situation?
So What Happened?™
Okay, I finally did call Animal Control (Mont. Co) and reported the dogs. I've returned them to the neighbor's yard four times in the past three weeks and the owner refuses to answer the door when I knock. Anyway, I got a letter from the animal control division of the police department asking me to send in a written complaint. No one I've talked to who has called in an animal complaint has ever gotten a request for a written complaint. In addition, it says at the top of the form that I can be called in to court to testify. This was my first complaint ever and I was hoping that it would be anonymous. Another neighbor called the head of our Neighborhood Watch, who then called me. He said that there have been numerous complaints about the dogs and I was definitely not the first to call animal services about the situation. He was also surprised that I had been asked to put my complaint in writing. Has anyone else had this experience?
A.D. answers from Washington DC on December 07, 2008
My first thought is CALL! Better to piss off a neighbor than to let a child be harmed. Make the call anonymously. There must be other neighbors who are thinking about this too.
I called Animal Control once and have NEVER been sorry that I did it. The dog was vicious and got loose outside and chased me. Luckily - it was me and not a child and I had the presence of mind to handle the situation correctly and not get biten by the dog. I was terrified and I can imagine how a little child would have felt in this situation. One call to animal control took care of the problem.
K.T. answers from New York on December 07, 2008
Sorry, but I would (and have!) call Animal Services. Tell them the situation. They will visit them fisrt and work with them to keep their dogs safe. But if it becomes a situation where the dogs are out and you feel children will not be safe, they may need to pick up the dogs and then the people will be fined to get them back. Owning pets has a responsiblility attached to it.
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C.D. answers from Washington DC on December 07, 2008
Call Animal Control. Do not wait another minute. Animal Control, at least where I live, will respond quickly. The owners should know that dogs should not run loose through a neighborhood for any reason. There are plenty of other neighbors who will probably thank you for making the call. Better yet, have multiple neighbors call and Animal Control will get there even faster.
D.R. answers from Washington DC on December 08, 2008
I am a dog lover myself but as you say safety comes first. I would not worry about what she thinks if you call Animal services. You are looking out for your kids and others in the neighborhood and these are too huge of a dog to be running freely.
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A.B. answers from Washington DC on December 08, 2008
L. B you in no way should feel sorry for reporting these dogs. I'm sure just like me you've seen the news reports about these randam dog attacks. Need I say more? Protect your family at all cost!
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T.N. answers from Washington DC on December 07, 2008
I ditto everything Wendy E. said!
Your neighbor is showing no regard for her neighbors or the law in letting 3 dogs run loose in the neighborhood. Them getting out once in awhile is one thing, that happens to most dog owners eventually, but she KNOWS she has a problem and isn't doing anything to correct it - or it would have been corrected by now. CALL! You can sit around trying to be the "nice neighbor" and not hurt her feelings, but in the meantime your kids and possibly others could get bitten or be attacked - even by generally friendly dogs - they are still animals, and will react with instinct not "oh, I know that little kid, so instead of acting like a canine, I'll just let him go on by." Doesn't always happen! And it only takes one time for a dog to attack with fatal consequences. Don't let your kind nature keep you from doing the right thing, and make your neighbor be a RESPONSIBLE pet owner! It doesn't matter if they were 3 golden retrievers (considered one of the friendliest larger breeds) running around... they need to be on a leash and under the control of a human (pref. adult) when outside of their fenced area.
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D.W. answers from Charlottesville on December 07, 2008
If I were in your shoes, I'd contact your neighbor with your concerns and worrys. The dogs may be sweet as pie, and wouldn't intentionally harm your son, but just their size can be intimidating for a child as young as yours. If your neighbor doesn't do something about the dogs running lose, I don't see where you have any other choice but to contact animal control. That is what they are there for when all other options have been exhausted. Some people that own large breed dogs and are around them all the time just don't realize how "Big and scarey" they can be to those that aren't around them or familiar with the breed. But making sure that your neighbors are safe is of major importance when owning such breeds. Hope you get things resolved with your neighbors without involving animal control. I know if I were your neighbors, I'd rather see my neighbor coming to see me than animal control or the police telling me that my animals had been euthanized because they'd attacked someone while they were out running loose with me knowing they were.
E.N. answers from Washington DC on December 17, 2008
If your community has a HOA, you should let them know of the situation. I know what you mean about not wanting them to know you are the one who reported them. If you don't, call the neccesary authorities so that they can handle the situation. The more details you give the better. Safty comes first.
S.M. answers from Washington DC on December 10, 2008
I think y should call someone especially if there are puppies loose.These dogs could get hurt by a vehicle and they could need surgery. I understand you don't want the owner to find out that y called but y need to call before a child gets bit our these dogs die by getting hurt by a car.
A.D. answers from Washington DC on January 26, 2009
Hi, I agree with especially Michelle, but many others who are suggesting you find out what the laws and rules are for your community, county, and city or town. Have this information as knowledge and kindly suggest in a way that will appear you are not trying to "tell them what to do", but rather inform them that you have observed there dogs out and in possible danger. I hope these dogs have a licence on them or at the vary least an id tags, or micro chips incase they do become lost or something worse happens.
Good Luck, and handle this gingerly, some people get vary sensitive about this kind of thing!
J.W. answers from Richmond on December 06, 2008
I second that - call animal control. I know you can do it anonymously - I have a friend who worked for animal control for many years. Animal control's purpose is to keep the community and animals safe - not to dime you out and start a neighborhood brawl. Ask them.
As someone who's grown up with animals and all my family has animals, including pit bulls, I can surely say that these are not responsible owners and these are the type of people that really p*ss me off. These people need a wake up call - hopefully you live in an area that will fine them also.
Also, not only are you possibly stopping an accident with a child, you're also protecting these dogs b/c if they're running around in the street, it's only a matter of time before they get hit by a car.