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phylny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-20-05 08:42 PM
Original message
Need advice regarding pit bull situation
Before I begin, this is not meant to be a condemnation of pit bulls or their owners, but I wanted advice regarding something that happened to me, and see what others would do in the same circumstance.

I provide early intervention services and make visits to homes of kids from birth to three years old. This past Monday, I was getting out of my car in front of a house of a child I see, and I heard vicious growling. I had just picked up my large duffel bag of toys out of the trunk and was preparing to walk toward the kid's house, and saw two pit bulls tied up on the property next door to the house I was visiting.

One dog, a lactating female, got loose, and came after me, growling, and assumed a threatening posture. I backed myself up to my car, put the duffel bag between me and the dog (figuring if the dog lunged at me, she'd hopefully bite the bag, not me). I then looked away (thinking that maybe she would recognize that I was not a threat by my not maintaining eye contact with her.)

As I was doing this, she continued to growl, and I finally got my keys and used my automatic opener to open the middle passenger door (minivan) and backed my way in slowly. I was able to close the door and wait.

The owner of the dog came out and as soon as she started yelling at the dog, the dog assumed a submissive posture and the woman got the dog restrained. I walked out of my car and the woman said, unconvincingly, "Sorry." I looked straight at her and said, "That scared the daylights out of me. It scared the DAYLIGHTS out of me." She then sarcastically repeated, "Sorry."

Once I got into the house, the mother of the child I was seeing told me that at times, she's afraid to take her kids out of the car after grocery shopping because she's afraid of the dogs.

I called the local animal control, left a message, and called them again but they haven't called back. My question is this: Am I right to report these dogs and this woman? I don't want any revenge from the owner, and I hate to make things worse for the family that has to live next door to the dogs, but all I could visualize was the headline, "Early Intervention Therapist Mauled and Killed by Pit Bull."

What do you think? Should I continue to pursue the report?
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salin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 07:01 AM
Response to Original message
1. Locally there was just a mauling death
at the hands of three dogs of an elderly neighbor. There had been reports of the dogs wandering in the area (more rural) and possibly killing some small farm animals. However the elderly couple/neighbors reportedly were freinds with the owners - AND the dogs. The man was on his property when the dogs became intimidating - and backed up - to a pond ... before being fatally attacked. The owners now face serious charges.

It sounds as if this dog/these dogs are not fully under the owner's control. It is in everyone's best interest (from the family you provide services to, to yourself and other visiters, to the owner and the dogs themselves) - for the owner to get a wakeup call that could lead to better control of her pets.
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ehrnst Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 08:15 AM
Response to Original message
2. I think that owner may be loving, but not responsible.
I think that it is right of you to call animal control - BEFORE there is a mauling. That could potentially prevent human injury and having the dogs put down.

This owner needs to be put on notice to be responsible, and she's obviously not listening to you.

Animal control is there to prevent bad situation from occuring - and if they don't respond, keep trying.

You may want to tell them that if they don't address the situation, you'll go to the media and let them know that animal control is not doing it's job. The media LOVES stories that involve injury and death...even potential injury and death.
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IndyOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 09:56 AM
Response to Original message
3. Yes! Continue to report until the owners
agree to build a very sturdy enclosure for the dogs or agree to keep the dogs inside. If the owner was anything other than extremely sorry and immediately takes action to keep the dogs restrained then she is a problem. I personally believe that the worst way to keep a pit bull is to tie them out. They need constant human socialization, and if they can't have that, they need room to run and play. Tying a pit bull to a tree is bad news!

Also, this will have an impact on the health and well-being of the family you are working with - no one should have to be afraid to walk from their car to the house. The kids can't play outside, nor can the family go for a walk, if they are afraid of the dog.
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ernstbass Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 11:48 AM
Response to Reply #3
5. I'm in total agreement Indyop
Dogs shouldn't be chained up. I have a friend who recues pit bulls - she walks them 3 miles a day on weekdays and 10 miles a day on weekends to provide them with the exercise/stimulation they need.
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flvegan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 10:16 AM
Response to Original message
4. Probably not the first time.
Definitely keep calling animal control. Is there something in your line of job duties that would help you out, since you're in early intervention/child welfare? The court? Police?

Tied up lactating female pit bull...not much good coming out of that, dog herself aside. The people are likely just cranking out puppies (for sale or who-knows-what), and really need to be more responsible.

If you still don't get any help, and you want to do a little online legwork, you can:
1. Find out who OWNS the property (she may be a tenant) from the Property Appraiser;
2. Quick public records search will tell you who holds the mortgage on same;
3. Contact both the owner and the mortgage company, as I'm sure they'd both like to know that a. there are unrestrained dogs on the property; and, b. animal control isn't doing anything. The homeowner's insurance company would probably like that info as well.
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Eloriel Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-21-05 10:32 PM
Response to Original message
6. Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES. And yes.
Please help protect these children. In fact, please also find out if this owner has children in that home -- that would be a Child Protective Services issue, I would think.
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IndyOp Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-22-05 04:59 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Excellent thought: If the dog's owner has children
then this is a Child Protective Services issue. Yes! If they don't it should still be a police/ASPCA issue.
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phylny Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-22-05 07:58 PM
Response to Original message
8. Thanks to everyone for your excellent insight! n/t
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LiberalFighter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Jul-22-05 08:25 PM
Response to Original message
9. In most cases if not all the owner was in violation of city ordinance...
or state law regarding dogs required to be on a leash when outdoors. Once they leave the owners property they would be in violation.

Are the dogs registered as required by law? Do the dogs have rabies shot?
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