The Wheels of Justice Turn Slooooooooooooowly
After animal control failed to take measures that were, in my opinion, necessary to resolve the matter, I decided that I was not satisfied with the outcome. They issued a citation, but because I was not seriously injured, the dogs were not removed. Had the bite broken the skin, the dogs would have been taken immediately.
I said I was not hurt in the incident, but to my surprise, I found later that night as I undressed for bed, that I had a large bruise on my hip where the dog had bitten me. I knew he had bitten me, but I never felt any pain and assumed it was not serious. Husband says it's because gallons of adrenaline were coursing through my veins at the time.
Still it seems weird that I felt nothing. Once, Husband got a little too friendly with a dog we knew to be vicious, and the stupid beast nearly eviscerated him. He had a bruise so dark it was almost black from his hip to his nipple and I assure you, he knew he had been bitten.
It was then that I really understood that I had to follow through and get those dogs removed from the neighborhood.
A week and a half later I finally got a letter from the dog owner. It was not terribly sincere. He assured me that he had taken steps to reinforce the gate and that they are now keeping the animals in a kennel in the back yard when they are not at home. But there are still a number of ways they could get loose and roam freely about the neighborhood. I am not comfortable with vicious dogs here, period.
The HOA is taking this matter very seriously. In fact, it was the President who suggested to the dog owner that they might want to make some kind of gesture of apology.
The HOA board feels the dog must go, and explained to the dog owners that if, in the course of their investigaion, (they have to have all their legal ducks in a row) they determine that the dogs are vicious, they would have to be removed per the covenants, which stipulate that no such animals will be allowed to reside in the neighborhood.
Instead of remorse, embarassment, or chagrin, the dog owner demonstrated anger and denial. She said the smaller of the two dogs is afraid of his own shadow and while the other dog might behave aggressively at times, he would never attack anyone. It was implied that I overreacted, or that my hysteria caused me to misinterpret the dog's intentions. The wife stated unequivocally that if the dogs go, they go.
Well, then....don't let the door hitcha where the good Lord splitcha.
I have owned dogs myself and I have been charged by dogs plenty of times. I know enough to realize that most of the time, a dog is all bark and no bite. I was not initially afraid of the dogs, though I was startled because I had head phones on. It was only when I realized they meant business (which took all of two or three seconds) that I became afraid. I was afraid because I had nothing with which to protect myself, and I screamed because I knew that I had to get someone to hear me and come to my aid or I would be, quite literally, dogmeat. I was screaming loudly, but I was not screaming hysterically.
Someone told the woman that I said to the dog "BAD DOG, GO HOME", which suggested to her that I was not prostrate in the jaws of the slavering beast and thus, my account must have been somewhat exaggerated. I did say that to the dog, because I thought nobody had heard me screaming, and I remembered that a strong, authoritative tone will sometimes cause an aggressive dog to back down.
Does that sound like the the thought process of a hysterical person?
At any rate...it turns out that the witness, my knight in shining er...rake, had already decided to persue the matter whether I went forward with it or not. He has contacted an attorney for advice on the matter. Needless to say, he is very willing to corroborate my account as well as the fact that three other attacks took place. In fact, he told me that not ten minutes after my attack, a woman (a friend of the dog owner, it turns out) went to the door of that same house and was also attacked. He and his rake had to escort her back to her vehicle.
It also turns out that Mr. Witness has raised German Shepherds for many years and is somewhat of an expert on their behavior. He himself had to get rid of a dog that snapped at one of his children. He said you never give a dog that will bite a second chance.
The dog owner wrote a nearly illiterate letter to the HOA President explaining how the dogs have been around their toddler (!!!!!) who pulls it's tail, their young nephews (!!!!) and various friends' children (!!!!!) and never behaved aggressively. She states that they have never before had any complaints about aggressive behavior in any of the places they have lived.
To quote: "I'm not sure why my dogs would behave aggressively towards Ms. Antagonist".
This is to demonstrate that my veracity as the victim is surely in question. And perhaps I am reading more into the statement than is altogether wise, but I sort of felt that I was being accused of some kind of mischief which provoked the attack.
Anyway...the HOA president feels that with Mr. Witness's testimony and that of the other victim, whose name and address he was able to provide, we have more than enough to warrant legal eviction of the animals.
I feel kind of bad, but you know what? This is not an issue of petty revenge, though I will tell you that today, I went out walking for the first time since the attacks armed with a very stout stick. And still, I was afraid. I startled at every little sound. And that made me angry.
Still, it's not about that. It's about public safety. I can name five houses in very close proximity that have small children. My own son often plays outside at the house directly accross the street. Well, he did. I have not allowed him to go over there since that day.
There is a very fragile looking gentleman who uses a cane and walks at a snail's pace living adjacent to this house. He is so frail that I wonder how much time he has left every time I see him. I shudder to think what might have happened if those dogs had happned upon him or a small child instead of me.
I don't understand the attitude of the dog owner. I happened to see her in her yard while I was out walking today and she was very, very, young. If I had to guess I would say early twenty-ish. I remember myself at that age and I wonder if I would have been as obstinate and selfish. I think everyone is pretty self-absorbed in their twenties and yet...I don't think I would have put my fondness for an animal above the welfare of a human being.
I think I would have been truly horrified if my pet had caused someone pain and/or distress and would have done everything possible to set matters right.
And I can't understand how she can watch her child frolic with a dog that could almost swallow him whole, knowing that it has bitten.
Truly, it gives me goosebumps.
But the real crux of the matter is this (and Mr. Witness expressed the same feelings): If I do not do everything I can to make sure that this danger is removed from our neighborhood, I would be directly to blame if it should happen again. And it's entirely possible that if it DOES happen again, it will have much more disastrous consequences.
I can't live with that. I can't believe anybody could.