The Neighbors Free Range Pit Bull

Updated on February 07, 2009
C.S. asks from Saint Louis, MO
6 answers

Hi Moms and Pet Owners,
I have a situation that is new to me in my neighborhood. I have a 3 year old little girl and the new neighbor across the street has a Pit Bull. When he moved in, he came to our driveway and introduced himself to us and then invited us to his housewarming party, which we did not make it to because he asked us that afternoon. It didn't take long before I saw his Pit Bull in the front on the sidewalk without a leash. So the neighbor saw I was outside and put the dog inside. So I knocked on his door and asked if he didn't mind keeping the dog on a leash when he had it in the front because I had a 3 year old and was not comfortable. He tells me the dog is more afraid of me then I am of it (RIGHT!) and it stays inside the yard. Well it wasn't in his yard, but I decided not to argue and just insisted I would rather the dog be on a leash. Well, about 2 weeks later, the dog is out again and the guy is not. So, I thought to myself he said the dog was cool, so I tried to get my daughter and get her inside real quick and the dog came across the street and I had to shove my daughter back in the car and jump back in myself. The dog roamed in my yard and while it was doing that, I took pictures of it with my phone. It was within minutes before the guy came out and had to chase the dog from the back fence to my yard and carry the dog out because it doesn't even have a collar. After he put the dog inside, I started to mention to him that I knocked on his door and asked him and we ended up in a screaming match in the street. His response is he didn't know the dog got out.

Since then, he has opened the garage while we are outside and the dog is there with no leash and today when I left and the dog was out with him again with no leash. Obviously this guy is not going to ever put the dog on a leash.

We are not ones to call police and report people for minor things, but I am at a point where I will have to call the city to rectify this, I just don't want to. I don't want trouble. I know I have two different neighbors who are not pleased with it, but both seem very nice and probably would not call.

Does anyone have any suggestions prior to starting a city code violation nonsense process? We have never experienced this in the 10 years we have been here.

The nice weather is coming and we will want to spend our evenings out front playing. As for scared Pits and kids, I don't think it is a good mix. All I need is the dog to react to the noise of the skateboard wheels, barbie car, and laughter of the kids.

What can I do next?

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So What Happened?

So far I have not seen the dog. I told the postal girl about the dog in hopes they would send a warning or the NRS. If that doesn't work, I have the cities number loaded in my phone and I will just go ahead and make the phone call. At this point, he should consider himself warned and anything after that is his own stupidity. After a child involved snake attack, a recent chimp attack, I am not taking my chances.

More Answers



answers from Las Vegas on

25 and 3! What a range!! My son is 2 and his oldest brother is 21. It's kinda fun having kids with no sibling rivalry! As far as your dog problem goes I grew up in Memphis TN. EVERY year there are multiple cases of pits who are 'more afraid' that are put down because they have attacked someone. The cases are almost always children and the results are horrible. Children are killed or end up with scars that are pretty tough to live with. Don't worry about 'being nice'. If the guy was in his yard swinging around a shot gun saying there's no way it will go off you'd call the cops. That's what he has. I would speak with someone in animal control before the police so you can really know what your options are. Many states have special regulations for 'attack' animals. In TN you can't have a dog like that without a leash or you'll get serious fines and if you fail to control your dog and he harms someone the animal is considered a deadly weapon...just like a shotgun! Put it this way you'll get over being an annoying neighbor but you would never get over it if your daughter ever got hurt. She should'nt be in danger in her own yard. Your instincts are right.

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answers from Las Vegas on

C., please go over to his house and ask to meet his dog. Tell him your concerns about pit bulls and that you have no experience with them and find out the dogs name and spend some time with him to see how he (the dog) really is personality wise. As a pit bull lover/owner myself and working closely with rescues who specialize in pit bulls, I can tell you most of the stuff you hear on T.V is all hype. You can look up dog bites every year with the CDC and pit bulls are never even in the top 10 of the list. And most of those attacks you see on T.V are done by dogs who are unaltered, and mixed breeds (not really a pit bull, but they called it one), and neglected or abused. There are many attacks yearly that are done by other breeds but the media refuses to put it on the news becuase if they can't call it a pit bull it won't draw attention. Now this being said someone said some dogs are ok with kids, and no they are not! A resposnisble pet owner NEVER leaves any pet alone with small children. I have 2 children and 3 dogs. If I am unable to watch my older daughter for a few minutes due to putting my little baby down to bed, I put my dogs up in a area where they are gated off from her, or they are with me at my side so I can keep an eye on them. 2 of my dogs are rescued pit bulls. Both have been altered and well socialized. Both are very loving dogs. They are inside dogs but never left alone with my kids. But we Never leave our yellow lab alone with our girls either. We also have a 6 foot fenced yard that is properly secured, and we do not put collars on our dogs while they roam in our yard only. But when we take them somewhere with us which our male usually does travel everywhere with us, they wear collars then and I keep a leash in my purse. We live in a very nice neighborhood and luckily everyone is a dog lover so everyone knows everyones dogs and we get so many compliments on how good our dogs are from neighbors and our vet! . So I am trying to say if a dog is raised in a good home with proper socialization don't be so fearful of him.
Just try to go over and explain that you are a parent and that you have fears from all the media related stuff you see on T.V about pit bulls, but that you understand not all pitties are mean and that you would like to meet the dog and get comfortable with him. Ask the ownner the dogs name, knowing his name will help to so when you see him outside you can say hi "whatever the name may be". Also ask if he is up to date on shots and neutered. If so that is a good sign he is being well cared for. Ask if he has been around children much. These things will ease your mind a bit. Ask to pet the dog or maybe even take a bone with you so you can give the dog a treat to get to know his actions better. If the dog seems like a good dog, Let the owner know your ok with the dog being out front with him as long as the owner is out watching/tending to the dog, but you are uncomfortable with the dog being out alone. This may help your relationship with the owner too (as he won't feel like he can't bring his dog out, some owners like to have there dogs with them even when sititng outside). As long as he is out with the dog watching him the dog should be fine.
As far as aniaml control hauling the dog off to the pound, situations between neighbors could get bad doing that if the dog is not causing trouble. Not to mention it is usually pricey to reclaim your dog and they can get very ill in the pound with all the awful airborne illnesses.
I am not saying your wrong to worry but please try to get to know the dog and owner without judging him due to his breed before sending the dog to the pound.
Alittle insight on pit bulls is that Helen Kellers dog was a pit bull, and the little rascels dog Petey was a pit bull, pit bulls are NOT naturally human aggressive, nor are they bred to be. There are many good websites you can read about them and learn more, if you'd like more info please write me and I will send some sites over to you. I sure hope ther are other moms on here who can also tell of good experiences with pit bulls they own, have owned, or know someone who owns?
Oh one last thing, most pitties won't get scared from skateboards, barbie cars, things like that, they are very smart well balanced dogs, and do not get set off due to noise. All dog breeds can be set off to noise if abused or unsocialized! Socialization and responsible caring ownership is key with any animal!
Sorry this was so long just trying to help! Thanks.

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answers from Las Vegas on

Hi C.,

I'll start by telling you that I am a dog lover - large and small breeds but I completely understand your concern. He doesn't sound like a very responsible owner - particularly if he claims to not have known that the dog gets out. It sounds like he'll likely not cooperate no matter what you do. So, for your family's safety I recommend you keep a small can of pepper spray on you. It may sound inconvenient but it works on dogs - trust me. Also, that dog will have a new found respect for your space if you ever do end up having to use it. I'm retired now but in my previous job I resorted to this tactic a few times when it was absolutely necessary and the dogs responded immediately and remembered the experience after the fact.

Good luck.

J. B

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answers from Las Vegas on

I wish I had an easy, conflict-free answer for you, but I don't. You've already tried to go the peaceful, grown up, let's talking it out route and this guy's response to your overatures has been one of disrespect and uncooperativeness. He's not even a good dog owner. Good dog owners make sure that there are tags on their dogs.

I agree with you totally that you should be concerned about this dog. Some dogs are okay but you can never be 100% sure with a pit bull and small child, especially when it is not your pit bull. Right this very minute, please log in the telephone number for animal control into your cell phone so that you can call them the next time the dog is loose and take pictures of the dog off it it's property as well to use as evidence if necessary. Heck, the next time the dog waunders into your driveway, if you have an automatic garage door, raise the door (while you are in the car) and let him walking in, then close the garage door to trap him. And then call animal control to come pick him up.

The only other thing that I can think of to resolve the situation is to ask the other dog owner to muzzle his dog at when the dog is not in the house. I have a feeling that this suggestion will not be greeted with any messure of goodwill and understand but, I guess you can always try.

I really do hope this works out for the best for you and your family.

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answers from Las Vegas on

I had a similar situation with a dog that was not a pit but a large mixed breed. His owners claimed he somehow "accidently" kept getting out of their yard. I was assured that he was a "nice dog" and was absolutely no threat to me or my son. I didn't feel that way and one day when my two year old and I were walking down the street we spotted the dog across the street from us. I felt uncomfortable so I picked up my son and started heading home. When I looked back to see where the dog was, I realized he had crossed to our side of the street and was running towards us. I had to run home carrying my son with the dog chasing and barking at us the entire time. Later when I relayed the story to his owners, they looked at me like I was crazy and told me "he would never do that!" Unfortunately, he would. A few weeks later, the dog chased and caught an elderly man walking his small dog. The dog was mauled and the man ended up in the hospital. The owners were fined and the dog put to sleep.

Trust your instincts, contact animal control to find out what laws are in effect in your city. Most likely there is a leash law. If you want to be really nice you might warn your neighbor that you have researched the laws in your city and he is required to have his dog leashed, ect and you need him to either follow the law or get reported.

Remember, he is the one breaking the law, not you. It is your job to keep your children safe and not put them at risk.

Best of luck, M.

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answers from Las Vegas on

I feel for you because this is not an easy thing to deal with. First of all, I am a huge animal lover and own 2 dogs myself. This guy is a very irresponsible pet owner and this isn't fair to you or your family. Even if this dog is gentle as a lamb, pit bulls scare me too,(and I love dogs) because pits can be unpredictable. I have a VERY close friend who has to have reconstructive surgery on her arm from a vicious bite from her own beloved "Gentle" pit bull, who was "playing" with her too rough. As much as I would hate to do it, I would call animal control if I were you. I am also not one to call the poclice or make trouble, but why wait until the dog has hurt you or your child? It isn't worth trying to be the nice guy here, because the pet owner isn't making any efforts to make you more comfortable by doing what he is required by law to do in the first place! Even if it was any other kind of dog, the courteous and lawful thing to do is leash your pet and know where they are at all times. (he didn't know it was out? how does that happen) I know where my 2 dogs are at all times!!! And especially if he owns a pit bull, he has to know the common concerns people have about them and be senstive to that. I think he is being a jerk at the expense of you and your family and he needs to be called out on it. If you want to politely tell him you are giving him an opportunity to please leash his dog, before you call animal control, that may be the bigger thing for you to do. He will be slapped with a fine, be asked to prove rabies shots are current and get the dog licensed and be told to keep it leashed or lose it. Good luck and don't take any chances, it isn't worth it. You are a good person for being concerned enough about the neighbor and his pet to ask for advice.

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