Dangerous Dog on Street

Updated on June 20, 2011
B.P. asks from Bedminster, NJ
14 answers

Hi moms,

My husband and I were out for a walk today and noticed across the street one of our neighbors was walking a grey pitbull type dog on a choke collar. As we were passing (across the street) with no provocation, the dog became very angry and starting lunging, snarling, jumping, and barking at us. The owner scolded the dog and seemed to be in control but if the leash snapped it would have attacked us. The owner and the dog live at the end of the street at a house with no fence and our son's bus stop is right in front of his house. Can we do anything? It makes me extrememly nervous that a dog can easily escape and harm someone.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

We did call animal control and because there wasn't a "incident" there is nothing the police can do. I can walk down the street to the stop before the one my son gets on but I don't think that will really help if the dog is loose. Even if they changed the bustop we would still need to pass the house where the dog lives. I have never heard it barking while walking by the house. Maybe it sleeps all day?

Also, I know the difference between an excited dog and one that wants to attack. We made no attempt to speak or make contact with the owner, instead the dog saw us coming and starting to freak out SNARLING. Who the hell cares what breed it is, I have had dogs and this was not normal. Yes, I know all breeds can be aggressive, seriously guys.

I did take your advice ladies and reached out to the owner who called back and completely acknowledged that her dog does act just the way we described when strangers are near. She assured me that the dog is never off leash and wanted to know if she could bring the dog down to meet us. I am not sure about that but I appreciate all your advice in case in the unlikely event that there is some kind of "incident".

More Answers


answers from Austin on

I had a german shepherd ( with a purple tongue/ half Chow ) , he looked VERY intimidating. This was many many moons ago but I still to this day remember one of the ladies who lived in my apartment complex. She was terrified of my dog- Ozzy. I used to take him everywhere I went ;).
I couldn't figure why in the world she would be so scared, he was one big bundle of fur and fun. If she saw me and Ozzy out in the parking lot, she would not step out. One morning I was out front messing around with my flowers ( dog with me ) she was late for work because she would not go outside to get in the car.
One day she approched me and told me terrified she was of my dog, I offered to let her meet him so she could see he was harmless, she said 'no way' and I didn't push her on it nor did I discount her fears. From that point on if I saw her out and I had Ozzy with me, I waited until she was inside before I let him out of the car or I would take him for walks on a different path so as to not go anywhere near her apartment.
My thing is, just talk to the dog owner. Hopefully he/she will be receptive. I don't think there are bad dogs, just bad dog owners.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

Can you do anything?
What is it you want to do?

What if the leash had snapped?
It didn't.
The dog owner has no fence which would seem to me that it's not allowed to run. The bus stop is right in front of the house where the dog lives. And?

If there is no incident to report, what do you want done?
Let me say that I'm not crazy about dogs. I like them from a distance, if that. However, that doesn't mean that all dogs are dangerous or attackers.
I've known little Yorkies that are far more dangerous than "pit bull types". They will bark, snip, nip and bite and go into attack mode without a second thought.
Just saying.
I hope you're not basing your fear on the assumed breed of dog.
I hope you're not thinking that you need to "do something" because a dog became excited.
Like I said, I'm not a dog lover. But for some damn reason dogs love me and I prefer they keep their distance, but I wouldn't go into hyper mode at this point. I just wouldn't.
Dogs can be scary, but the best thing is not to freak out. Avoid eye contact. Turn your back, especially to a dog on a leash with an owner trying to control them.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Sometimes dogs are much worse on a leash than they are when they're loose - on a leash, they feel they're protecting their owner. In this case, the owner did the right thing by keeping control over the dog and correcting it. But if you have ever watched police dogs in action, if you get "too close" to the police officer, the K-9 dog will give you warning barks to tell you to back off. And those are some of the best-trained and most predictable dogs around. The same dog, when off the leash and "off duty" will do nothing of the sort. Dogs are very perceptive this way. I would say, just because the dog barked at you does not mean the dog would attack you off-leash. It also doesn't necessarily mean that the dog is a menace to children. It just means the dog wanted you to stay away from his owner, and his owner corrected him and let him know that wasn't necessary.

Obviously with any dog you don't know well, children should never approach the dog unless the owner is right there and says it's okay, and the same goes for adults. Make sure your son knows not to run into the yard where the dog lives. Don't make eye contact with dogs who seem aggressive, and don't run. Often times if dogs are running loose, they can be controlled with voice commands. One time a big Husky got loose in our neighborhood and chased our cat. I picked up our 5 year old because the dog was acting aggressive. Then I yelled at the dog to sit and stay, and to my surprise, it did! So - even when dogs are acting crazy, sometimes they just need someone to step up and be the Alpha. Don't be afraid of the dog, but do give him respect and keep a safe distance to be on the safe side.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Check your state laws...

although it's not the breed!! it's the owner!!! if the dog is on a run or in a kennel situation - it is being used as a "deterrent" for crime...

please don't give Pit Bulls a bad name....it's bad enough all the bad publicity they get because of bad owners...

ANIMALS SENSE FEAR...and ANY animal will play on that fear...NEVER EVER turn your back on a dog...it is a sign of SUBMISSION...just like you don't with a bear - don't run and DO NOT turn your back..

if you are fearful of the dog - then carry wasp or pepper spray with you even a walking stick....ANY dog can attack - even Chihuahuas...Cocker Spaniels...ANY ANIMAL...

Go to the neighbor and talk to him about your concerns....if he tells you you are high - but you notice the dog is not being cared for - turn him in.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Tulsa on

I want to add the while you shouldn't turn your back you should also NOT face the dog directly. The best thing to do if a dog is rushing to attack you is to turn your side to the dog, avoid eye contact, do not make any sudden movements, stay calm.

As far as your question...I personally think you're over-reating. The dog barked at you, and you have NO idea what the dog would do off the leash. It may just as easily avoid you when off leash. I agree with everyone's post so far...it's not the breed it's the owner. Keep in mind that even though the dog scared you, the owner maintained control over her dog, and the dog did nothing more than scare you. Not trying to be harsh...very sorry if my response has offended...I just personally don't see that this is that big of an issue.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

Talk to the owner of the dog and address your concerns...

It's NOT the breed - it's the OWNER!!!


ANY dog can and will attack - it is NOT just Pit Bulls...please know that Pit Bulls used to be used by the Royals as Dog Nanny's...

I've seen a Cocker Spaniel lose it. Was it bad? yes...they too have sharp teeth so please don't blame the dog - blame the owner.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

Now the dog may be the spawn of satan, or it may just be *ridiculously* friendly. My chocolate lab does the same kind of thing when he's been cooped up, but it's because he wants to play. He's our 'kangaroo dog'/ GREAT sled dog, and he cares not one iota about being choked. If he hasn't had his 'get exhausted' time that day/week (we've been in the hospital quite a bit) he gets very wild. Now, he's very well trained, BUT he's also a lunatic who wants to prove his devotion/submissiveness by jumping (dogs lick or gently bite the underside of the jaw of someone they view to be superior to them). So, unlike every other dog I've owned/trained, he has to stay on leash at all times unless we're at the fenced dog park or back of beyond or just with kids (he never bowls over kids, nor jumps on or near them, but sakes alive, he wants to jump on every adult he sees and get VERY vocal about not being allowed to). One of the QUIRKIEST dogs I've ever owned.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

Talk to the school and explain there's a dangerous dog on the property near the bus stop. Ask them to relocate the bus stop down the block or down the street, away from the dog.

I understand your concern. I have a sibling with a dog like this. I understand that it isn't always a 'breed' issue, but his jaws would crush my son's head-- they're that big. With any kind of animal who has this sort of strength, we do have to take precautions. If it were a golden retriever or a labrador which had this kind of strength and body (an amazingly huge head and mouth-- the dog's head is as big as mine), I'd feel exactly the same way.

And the strength of some dogs' jaws makes it impossible to remove the dog from its victim. That's the terror of it, frankly, knowing that if the dog did decide to attack, there might be nothing we, as parents, could do to protect our child.

I would also ask the neighbor to erect a fence surrounding his entire property. There's a woman in our neighborhood whose minature pincer escapes rather frequently, and he's sent more than one child into tears because he chases us, growls, barks and nips. The woman always seems to think that because her dog is small, it's benign, "Oh, how did you get out?" she asks it. It's the law that people have their dogs on a leash. If they want their dog off leash, they need to have a fence high enough to contain the dog. Humans come first when it comes to being able to use the neighborhood safely. My sister lets her dog run through the neighborhood and believe me, I'm appalled. How scary for the neighbors.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

Call animal control or whatever and just ask, it never hurts to ask a question. Chances are there is nothing you can do, the dog was on a leash, the owner was in control to some degree at least, and while it worried you there was no actual threat, but like any other situation the more complaints and information the proper authorities have the faster they will react when something does happen.

Also, give the school a call, explain the situation to them, maybe get a petition signed by other parents whose kids use that stop, and see if they will move it a block one way or the other, just in case.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Just because the dog is a pitbull and barked & snarled doesnt mean it is dangerous. The best thing to do is go talk to the dogs owner. Talk to them as a friendly neighbor. For all you know is that the dog is a big love bug and wouldnt hurt a child. Is this neighbor the only person in the neighborhood with a dog? Any dog can escape and any dog regardless of breed can and will bite. I have a Ptbull & a Chihuahua, and to be honest the Chihuahua is the one I worry about biting.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

I'd talk to the owner about the dog. I don't care what breed it is either. Dogs reflect their owner's insecurities and if the owner adopted him/her, it will get better in time, but if the owner is a jerk him/herself then it won't go away.

Maybe talk to the school about moving the bus stop. Did animal control say anything about having no fence? That would make me nervous with any dog that isn't small. I'm not against pit bulls but I am realistic about their strength and temperament (when the owner doesn't know how to train them effectively) so unless he/she has a caring owner he/she may try to attack. I wonder about that dog's temperament b/c we had a LOOSE rottweiler and pitbull and we were across the street and while they did bark and snarl they did not come at us. Scary as hell because I like both breeds, but that's not the kind of dogs I want trying to attack me and especially not my daughter.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

If the owner scolded the dog, he may be a reasonable person so talking to him may help. Perhaps he can introduce your son to the dog so the dog at least views your son as a friend... If you go and be really nice and nonconfrontational, it may solve the problem. At least you'll know what you're up against. We have a big dog who's a sweetheart but does bark so if anyone approached us with similar concerns, I'd not be offended at all. If you're nice but the owner is a jerk, then it may be worth taking your son to the next bus stop, asking the school to switch the location of the stop etc.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Seattle on

I live in a rural area. Every time I drive from town, I see deer by the road. I have been very nervous that I (or a loved one) would hit one. As you probably know, hitting a deer can be fatal (for the driver/passenger of the car as well as the deer). Of course, life is filled with risks. We could all die, be consumed by illness, have our body rendered nonfunctional by an accident, have a loved one taken, or any number of other tragedies. It is, at times, very scary. Especially having children.

But, by and large, we are not in control! I hate it, believe me. I really wish I was able to protect myself and my loved ones from all the tragedies life hands us, but, I am not. There will always be the POTENTIAL accident. And sometimes, the real one.

I hit a deer, a week ago. Finally, my fears came true. The deer died upon impact. (Thankfully, she was not nursing, and had not given birth this season.) My truck was really damaged (and the accident is not covered by our insurance). But I was uninjured and the road was empty, so there were no other injuries.

I was overwhelmed by my sense of powerlessness. I had done everything right, and still, I hit a deer.

Yet, I don't feel afraid anymore. I am starting to learn that some things are just beyond my control. If, instead of trying to control those things, I just accept that I don't have control, I am able to let go of my fear.

For me, a potentially aggressive dog escaping is one of those things.

I hear your fear, and it's NOT unreasonable. Something COULD happen. I mean, something CAN always happen. But, it is out of your/my control. Accepting these things, and moving through the worry/anxiety/fear is helpful for me.

((BTW, I'm not suggesting you throw caution to the wind. Showing your child how to read a dog's behavior, what to do when meeting an aggressive dog, what to do around dog fights, what to do when a dog tries/does bite/attack, etc. are GREAT skills to teach.))



answers from Detroit on

just contact the school and alert them, and write a written letter to both the transportation department, principle and superintendent of the school requesting the bus stop to be changed immediately. I'm sure the owner of the dog doesn't want you in front of their house anyway, and it probably annoys the dog to have kids hanging there.

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