Monday, September 25, 2006

Know Your Rights! (and Protect Your Pooches)

So many issues, so little time! This recent incident in Palo Alto (below) inspired a long overdue BR Blog and webpage on Dog Law
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A Palo Alto pit bull owner found herself in the headlines when her dog fatally injured a small dog during a routine on-leash walk. This tragedy played out in the media as a vicious pit bull attack on an innocent victim. The pit owner swears up and down that, although she called out several warnings to keep a distance, the small dog owner willingly, unwittingly, marched her tiny pet right within the reach of the offending dog, and right into a train wreck - so to speak.

While we’ll never really know exactly how/why this tragedy played out the way it did, many large dog owners are using the opportunity to confess: Poorly managed small dogs scare the crap out of us. Somewhere along the way, we seem to have shifted to a new society that thinks all dogs should be chummy with all other canines. The problem is, Mother Nature doesn’t agree. She’s written some pretty tough laws about predator/prey relationships, and try as we might to rebel against her motherly wisdom, she keeps reminding us that a dog is STILL a dog - That is, an animal with teeth and some 10,000 years of hardwired instincts; Hardly a small and saintly mini-human. Denial of this nuts and bolts reality has created a very untidy epidemic of dog owners who insist on rushed nose-to-nose greetings and forced kisses between pets that are strangers to each other, including the small dogs that look like prey and large dogs that might agree that they look like prey. Talk about setting our dogs up to fail!

At a recent Pet Fair, BAD RAP volunteers experienced a climate where forced dog-dog greets were the name of the game. Dozens of dog owners rushed their pets up to see the 'nice pit bulls' again and again. Thankfully, our demo dogs have been conditioned to calmly tolerate a certain amount of rude dog behavior, although even our most rock solid ambassadors were hard pressed when a Chihuahua owner unexpectedly thrust her tiny squirrel-imposter friend into their noses while cooing “Want to meet the doggies?” Praise be, our dogs were steady. But just imagine how the 6 o'clock news would've reported things if instinct had taken hold and our dogs had decided to accept the kind gift of the tiny animal sacrifice?

BAD RAP’s legal beagles have written an info page on Dog Owner Rights: What you need to know to stay out of trouble with your dog and what to do if trouble finds you. We need it. Bad.

Stay smart and enjoy your best bulls in peace.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cant tell you how many times at the park or even on the street I get faced with someones leashless yap machine making a beeline for my dogs. I have a Pit and a Pug, and while they are the best of friends, my Pit isnt the sweetest of girls when it comes to animals flying up in her face.

Heres to hoping more owners of little dogs wake up to their own responsibility.

Anonymous said...

Cant tell you how many times at the park or even on the street I get faced with someones leashless yap machine making a beeline for my dogs. I have a Pit and a Pug, and while they are the best of friends, my Pit isnt the sweetest of girls when it comes to animals flying up in her face. Heres to hoping more owners of little dogs wake up to their own responsibility.

Mary Jo said...

Molly (my rescued Pit Bull) and I live in my RV and travel the country. It doesn't matter if there are leash laws or where we are camped, there are folks who refuse to leash their dogs. Small dog owners are by far the worst.

I carry tons of treats for Molly, a spray bottle with an ammonia solution. Sometimes just yelling at the other dog will cause the dog to retreat. Sometimes talking to the owner helps. I have taken Molly in my car (which I tow) to malls where I know there is lots of grass and trees and no or few dogs so she will be safe. I have even taken her to a municpal police station and walked her figuring that there would be less unleased dogs. I do take my phone which has a camera.

Anonymous said...

Molly (my rescued Pit Bull) and I live in my RV and travel the country. It doesn't matter if there are leash laws or where we are camped, there are folks who refuse to leash their dogs. Small dog owners are by far the worst.I carry tons of treats for Molly, a spray bottle with an ammonia solution. Sometimes just yelling at the other dog will cause the dog to retreat. Sometimes talking to the owner helps. I have taken Molly in my car (which I tow) to malls where I know there is lots of grass and trees and no or few dogs so she will be safe. I have even taken her to a municpal police station and walked her figuring that there would be less unleased dogs. I do take my phone which has a camera.

BAD RAP Ground Crew said...

I just love that you walk your dog on the lawns outside of the local police station... Smart idea!

This also gives your local police some positive exposure pit bulls.

Donna

Anonymous said...

We, too, are frustrated with people who fail to abide by leash laws. We also have found people just looking for any excuse to cause trouble when they see our pit bulls. We have taken to carrying a stun gun to protect our dogs and ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Please be aware that the incident in Palo Alto was erroneously reported by the Palo Alto Weekly - a local paper known to wildly exaggerate all kinds of stories. One Pit Bull reached out and bit a small dog who came toward it and barked. Tragically, the small dog died, though it had only one bite - it was not "mauled" in any way. Anyone who lives in Palo Alto and has a large dog should be very careful. If anything happens with a small dog, you will be blamed. My vet has advised large dog owners to carry an old golf club or a riding whip when we walk our dogs to fight off any small dogs, leashed or unleashed, who come up to our dogs.

Anonymous said...

Please be aware that the incident in Palo Alto was erroneously reported by the Palo Alto Weekly - a local paper known to wildly exaggerate all kinds of stories. One Pit Bull reached out and bit a small dog who came toward it and barked. Tragically, the small dog died, though it had only one bite - it was not "mauled" in any way. Anyone who lives in Palo Alto and has a large dog should be very careful. If anything happens with a small dog, you will be blamed. My vet has advised large dog owners to carry an old golf club or a riding whip when we walk our dogs to fight off any small dogs, leashed or unleashed, who come up to our dogs.

Teresa81097@yahoo.com said...

I have had many jogs turn from relaxing to stressful because many people in my community enjoy walking their dogs off leash. These dogs routinely approach my pit bull. He is calm around other dogs, but I worry that a small dog with a Napoleon complex might initiate a scuffle. I have asked dog owners to please leash their dogs. I see the same dog owners ignoring my requests over and over. I have considered carrying a small flyer that explains leash laws and spells out where the fault lies in the event of a bite. I wonder if the BADRAP Crew could advise me on the content of such a flyer, or point me to some information to get me started.

Anonymous said...

My pit bull were out for our jog and came face to face with another small, agressive, off leash dog this morning. The small dog was lucky this time, but I really worry that next time he will not be. I almost punted him away right in front of his owner. I didn't think at the time to yell out to the owner as the dog approached, because he was looking right at us, but I think I will try that next time. Small dog owners really have no idea.

Sarah Tunks said...

I deal with this ALL THE TIME in my neighborhood of mostly condos. Everyone has small dogs and many are off the leash even though it's against the law in Dallas. I can't believe it when my 95lb pit walks perfectly on the leash next to me while some owner can't control their 8lb dog. Just yesterday a yorkie was gunning for my pit and instead of picking the dog up and walking off she kept staring at me like I needed to do something. Here we calmly stood, needing to use the street to get home, but she let her dog bark and charge with zero action.

Luckily my dog doesn't care (99% of the time) and this was one of those cases. Sometimes it seems like he just looks at them like "little dog, you are nuts!".

Rawket Food said...

I own a 6 month old American Staffordshire Terrier. EVERY time I take him for a walk in the neighborhood there are always dogs off leash. One was a rottweiler ont he opposite side of the street who decided to come on our side of the street. My dog wasn't looking and I did an about face. When I looked back he was behind us and I yelled out at the invisible neighbor to get his dog. Luckily the dog came when called....the third time. But, he still didn't put the dog on a leash. There is an unleashed and no collar pit that is walked too. Makes me mad. Then another pit up the street sitting in the driveway....no leash. Those dogs are very friendly, but one snap and in the press it goes. The majority of the little dogs around here are simply out of control, yappy, want to 'get' my dog. I think it's time to post letters or write someone!