Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Damn. Somebody Really Is Trying To Tell Me Something

*UPDATE BELOW*

I had a great post all ready for today. It was about health care, which, some of you know, is one of my hot button issues.

But instead, I'm going to rant about being attacked by dogs yesterday. Because I'm really pissed off.

Fall has FINALLY come, which means, temperatures have finally dropped below 80 degrees. Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful day; sunny, but breezy and cool. I decided, instead of doing my usual in home work out in front of the television, to take a walk. I was really enjoying the weather, grooving to my walking tunes, and enjoying life in general.

I was so incredibly buoyed by the nice weather. Summer can be interminably long and terribly oppressive for me. I'm a transplant to the South and even after 20 years, I have not acclimated.

Because I had headphones on, I didn't immediately realize that I was being attacked. It wasn't until the dog was mere inches from of me that I saw him. He was a very large Shepherd mix and there was a smaller dog of similar color and parentage on his heels. His hackles were up, he was barking in a very menacing manner. He was not simply issuing a warning. He intended to hurt me and his cohort was similarly inclined.

I was frightened, but I did manage to remember not to run. I knew he would take me down if I did that. He circled me, growling and barking. I had absolutely nothing with which to defend myself and I realized that my only chance was to scream loud enough that someone might hear me and come to help.

So I did. I have never screamed that loud or that long in my life. I screamed and screamed. I felt like a pure fool standing there in the street screaming like a girl, but it was the only thing I could do. The big dog went behind me and the smaller dog took position in front of me. In complete terror I realized that they were working in tandem to subdue their prey....me.

The big dog attacked me from behind. He bit me on the hip, and then circled for another pass. I didn't feel any pain, so I assumed that I wasn't badly hurt. Later I realized that so much adrenaline was coursing through my veins that I could have been hit by a bus and not felt anything.

Clearly, standing there screaming wasn't goiing to help. It was 2:00 in the afternoon and most people in the neighborhood were at work.

The dog readied for another attack. I could see the tension in his haunches as his muscles bunched and he prepared to launch himself at me. I could see his slavering jaws working up and down as he barked, and the hair standing up in a stiff ridge along his back.

I decided to switch tactics. I stood my ground and said in the meanest voice I could muster, "NO NO! BAD DOG! YOU GO HOME!" He backed off a bit and I felt quite proud of myself. But then I realized the dog wasn't cowed by me, but by the man that had come out of the house behind me weilding a rake and shouting.

"Get the hell out of here, you lousy fleabitten piece of shit!" the man hollered, brandishing his rake.

The dogs ran. And I suddenly felt as if I might faint, throw up, or both. I realized then that I had been in fear for my life.

"Are you hurt?" the man asked.

I assured him I wasn't, and thanked him profusely for coming to my rescue. He was MAD. He told me that the same dog had attacked another woman a couple weeks ago, while she was out walking her own dog. He said he wished he had had his gun handy. He saw the whole thing from his window, including when the dog bit me.

"I'd have shot those damned mongrels without a second thought." he said.

He was very dignified looking. His hair was silver and he wore a pair of bi-focals low on his nose. He was dressed in a black button down shirt, black and grey houndstooth patterned slacks, and black loafers. I later found out that he is a professor at the local college and that certainly fit with his appearnace.

He went to investigate where the dogs had gone. It turned out that they had retreated to their fenced back yard. The gate was standing wide open and nobody appeared to be home. Neither he nor I wanted to approach the house to shut the gate or knock on the door. He advised me to call animal control and offered to walk me home. I declined his offer, but thanked him again.

I hurried home to call animal control. The elementary school bus was due to arrive and one of the stops was right at the corner where I was attacked. I was extremely worried that a child might be hurt. After 2:30, the neighborhood is crawling with kids of every size.

Animal control said that I was the "next priority". The officer was at a vet in the neighborhing town and would be over when he was finished there. I told the dispatcher calmly, but firmly, that that was not acceptable. There were vicious dogs loose in a neighborhood and children were at risk. He said the officer would be there as soon as he could.

TWO HOURS later the animal control officer had still not arrived. While I was waiting I had contacted our HOA president to inquire about any vicious animal clauses in our covenants.

In my opinion, a dog that will attack a person completely unprovoked has no place in an urban neighborhood, fence or no fence. I was not in this dog's yard. I was not anywhere near his yard. I was not doing anything threatening. I was simply walking.

I called animal control again. I explained the situation again. I made it clear that I was not happy it was taking so long when there was very real danger. He apologized, explained that they were short handed and contacted the officer in the field to see when he would be getting here. Turns out, there was some kind of miscommunication, and he had never gotten the original call. Ididots. Don't you think such a call would warrant some kind of priority or red flag?

HELLO. Vicious dogs running loose. Send help.

I was peeved.

Finally he arrived. I explained what happened and then we went to the home where the dogs had come from. There was a car in the driveway, the gate was now closed and CHILDREN'S toys could be seen in the open garage. The dogs there matched my description and when he approached, the dog did behave aggressively toward the officer. However, as he noted, he was in the dogs' territory, so aggressive behavior was not necessarily an indication of viciousness.

My witness was not at home and as it turned out, the woman at the house was only the grandmother, not the homeowner. He issued a citation and that was that.

That. Was That.

Had the bite broken the skin, the dog would have been removed immediately. But since I only had a bruise, they couldn't and wouldn't.

So in other words, an animal has to hurt somebody before it can be removed, even though it has repeatedly demonstrated aggressive behavior. Does that make any kind of sense to you??

I am very angry. I'm not sure what to do next, but I will not let this go. The HOA president was horrified and upset and assured me that there were covenants to that effect, but of course, they are not without their caveats. There is protocol that has to be followed.

I got nothing from the homeowners, though my name, address and phone number were on the citation. No word of apology, no offers of recompense. Nothing.

This is unacceptable. Dangerous animals have more rights than my children and those in the neighborhood? Don't get me wrong...I love animals. I really, really do. But I also have a healthy appreciation for the fact that they are, above all, animals. People have a tendency to project human thoughts and emotions onto them, but the fact is, that they are just animals. Predators.

I won't walk outside again without being armed with something. A stick. Mace. A cattleprod would be good. And that's wrong.

I shouldn't fear for my life in my own backyard.

Post Script: I called the HOA president, explained that Animal Control had been issued a citation and that I did not find that an acceptable resolution. I told her I was considering writing a letter to the homeowners asking them to voluntarily to remove the dog, and if they were unwilling to comply, to proceed with legal action.

This isn't a matter of revenge. But there are small children that live and play right next door. My sons play at the house accross the street. The bus stops at that corner every day. Also, there is a very frail man with a cane who walks there daily. If I don't do everything I can to take care of this problem and a child is hurt, or god forbid killed, I could never live with myself.

Anyway, the HOA president is taking this very seriously. She did some calling around and found out that there have been not one, but two previous attacks. Why those individuals did not contact animal control is beyond my understanding. But, she is going to contact them personally tomorrow and ask them to write a statement. She will also contact my witness and ask him to write a statement. I know he will be willing.

Then, they will approach the homeowners, explain that because of the number and severity of the attacks the dogs will have to removed as per our HOA covenants. If they will not comply, the HOA will begin legal proceedings.

The HOA president has been wonderful and she expressed disbelief and outrage that the owners have not contacted us to apologize.

Mrs. Chicky..I do know that if he wanted to hurt me he would have. That little bite was just a warning. But I also know that he was preparing to launch a second attack and goodness knows what he would have done. My witness expressed the belief that the dog had deadly intent as well.

Thanks to everyone for your kind words and well wishes. At this point, I'm over the panic and just pissed as hell.

28 Comments:

  • At 7:16 AM, Blogger Avalon said…

    First: Take pictures of the bruising. Every day until it is gone. Then, go to the home of the witness and ask that he write out a quick statement. Offer to pay him to have it notarized. Then, type up a letter of intent to the homeowner advising them about what happened. let them know that you will NOT tolerate EVER seeing these dogs lose again, and if you do, you intend to pursue legal action against them.

    Then, have a nice warm bath. So glad your injuries were not worse, and that the kids were not with you when it happened.

     
  • At 8:59 AM, Blogger Veronica Mitchell said…

    I agree with the first commenter. Document, document, document.

    We intervened in a vicious dog attack several years ago when an aggressive pit bull attacked a blind man's seeing eye dog while they were on a walk. That dog wasn't put down either, even though he should have been.

    Our city has aggressive-dog laws, but they don't do much good.

     
  • At 9:14 AM, Blogger URBAN PEDESTRIAN said…

    We also have aggressive people laws, but they're not enforced until someone gets seriously hurt. But that's neither here nor there. You're absolutely right -- they're just animals, not sacred. If owners aren't capable of raising an animal so that it's properly socialized then they shouldn't be allowed to have one. When I was 4, I was bit in the face by a nasty mutt. It required a lot of repair work and I almost lost an eye. Unfortunately, there was no one around at the time, so the owner claimed I must have been tormenting the dog and in those days no one cared much about what happened to kids, so that was the end of it for the dog's side. I eventually healed except for some tiny scars.

     
  • At 9:50 AM, Blogger painted maypole said…

    that sucks. I hope that it never happens again, but good for you for taking every available measure to contact those that CAN do something. Because if it happens again (and hopefully it will not) there will be a record, and that will help.

    I can't believe the owners of the dogs didn't contact you, apologize profusely, promise that the dogs would never be loose again, and bake you some coookies or something. jerks.

     
  • At 11:38 AM, Blogger Natalie said…

    I agree that you have got to document like crazy. That is insane! I am so sorry that happened to you.

     
  • At 11:45 AM, Blogger Amanda said…

    I agree with Avalon, document. Next time (Lord forbid there is a next time!) call 911 (if you have your cell phone with you!!)

    I am so thankful you weren't hurt any worse. A bruise is bad enough.. but it could have been worse!!!!

    I hope you don't let this rest... it deserves much needed attention! Maybe the media???

     
  • At 11:51 AM, Anonymous midlife mommy said…

    Sue them. That will get their attention. I am not a litigious person, but if nothing else is going to happen, that might be the only course of action. And I agree with Avalon . . . document, document, document, even if you don't sue.

     
  • At 11:55 AM, Blogger Magi said…

    I agree with the advice you've already been given to document and call 911, but I'd go one step further. I'd contact the local media. Almost every news channel has one of those "on your side" programs. The next person attacked might be a child, and the outcome could be very, very ugly.

     
  • At 12:55 PM, Blogger Cathy said…

    I grew up in a rural neighborhood. For several years, all of the kids living on my street were frequently chased and attacked by this huge, vicious dog. One day, it chased me all the way down the street until I ran into it (on my bicycle) and flew over the handlebars. Luckily, someone came to my rescue.

    Over and over, parents complained to the owners. (They didn't want to fence the dog because it would be "cruel.")

    One day, as some children tried to board a school bus, this dog blocked the door, growling.

    The bus driver intervened and then -- only then -- did that dog finally disappear. I don't know what happened to it. It was just gone.

    Several years later, a man moved in next door with his four pit bulls that were forever getting out.

    They killed a neighborhood dog. They killed chickens across the street. And one day, they attacked an elderly woman IN HER OWN YARD. Her son came running out and shot at them. He hit one.

    When I got home from school, there was a bleeding pit bull ON MY FRONT PORCH. And no one, NO ONE would come and pick it up. When my parents got home, the tracked down the owner and he came and got it. He was weeping. (It lived.) I felt no sympathy, naturally, since he refused to keep those dogs fenced in.

    Anyway, my point is that I totally understand your outrage. Don't let them drop this.

     
  • At 1:39 PM, Blogger LizardBreath said…

    Holy cow, that is totally unacceptable! I'm so glad you're OK (outwardly), it could have been REALLY bad. Good for you for staying on top of animal control. Hopefully something good will come out of your attack and no innocent children will get hurt.

     
  • At 1:41 PM, Blogger Tracey said…

    I'm so sorry! I almost wish that it HAD broken the skin, so that you could do something about it! (not that I'd want you hurt worse, though!)

     
  • At 1:44 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    Go to the dr and take dated photos of the bruise.

    Then send a certified letter to the homeowner, stating what happened and send a copy to the HOA and Animal control. Ask the homeowner and the HOA what they intend to do to keep this from happening not only to you but to the children of the neighborhood.

    If nothing comes of that in 30 days take them to court. Tell them you will drop the action if they agree to get training for their dogs with documentation from a trainer who specializes in aggressive behavior, and also bolster both the lock on their gate and the structure of the gate itself, also proven with documentation.

     
  • At 2:07 PM, Blogger bubandpie said…

    That is horrifying. We have several large Rottweilers on my street and it makes me uneasy, especially the house that has a pair of them who run leash-free after dusk (never during daylight hours when my kids are likely to be around, but still...).

     
  • At 2:46 PM, Blogger Alison said…

    That is completely unacceptable. You should definitely document your injury and don't drop the issue. Next time, someone will be hurt worse than you were. (Jeez, what is WRONG with people? I would be mortified if my dog had hurt someone!)

     
  • At 2:51 PM, Blogger mrinz said…

    We have had some very bad dog attacks on children (and adults)here in New Zealand.

    Irresponsible dog owners need to be held accountable for their animals actions!

    I agree with many of the previous comments

    Please keep us posted on developments.

     
  • At 3:43 PM, Blogger Mimi aka pz5wjj said…

    I agree. Completely unacceptable! My parents had a dog that was so sweet... and then she bit my sister in the face (sis needed well over 100 stitches and no trace of the bite can be seen). The dog got put down immediately!

    Several years later -- like 15 they had a dog that bit one person and put him down before you could say boo.

    You can't have dogs go biting people! I think you should call the cops and report them.

     
  • At 4:25 PM, Blogger Irreverent Antisocial Intellectual said…

    Animal Control is useless. Completely useless.
    Document and file an actual report with the PD or SO - not joking. There are dangerous animal and leash laws on the books and that can force them to take action.
    I have pepper-sprayed many dogs in our neighborhood, even the yippee ones. Owners have gotten pissed but they can't do shit since they're the ones breaking the law. The way I look at it, we have two huge German Shepherds and huge fence with secure gates. We make the effort for the safety of the dogs and the safety of others - people who don't get what's coming to them. Could mean your dog comes home full of pepper or bullets ... you you get slapped with a lawsuit or huge fine. Karma, baby, karma.

     
  • At 6:16 PM, Blogger Mrs. Chicky said…

    You know I'm an animal rights advocate and an animal lover, but that said a dog who attacks unprovoked needs to be removed from the situation entirely. I wouldn't trust the owners to take the necessary steps to keep the dogs secure in their home or yard and you shouldn't have to live in fear in your own neighborhood.

    But like everyone else said, document the heck out of this. Someone else might come forward with similar stories like yours.

    With that said, from the dog's POV (not that I'm justifying, I just want you to understand for safety reasons) - that dog would have bitten you if he wanted. That bruise on your hip was a sign from him that the next time there is a good chance he will bite someone. Attacks escalate and dogs don't miss when they try to bite. Every attack is purposeful. I would be concerned for your safety and the safety of your neighbors.

     
  • At 6:17 PM, Blogger Mrs. Chicky said…

    Oops, forgot to say I'm very glad you're OK and not hurt worse than that bruise! I'm sure you're very shaken, though. Thinking about you.

     
  • At 9:07 PM, Blogger slouching mom said…

    Good God, BA. I am so sorry that happened to you, and so glad that you were not hurt worse than you were.

    I'm glad that at least the HOA is taking you seriously.

    Please, please take care until this situation is resolved in a way that removes those dogs or at least keeps them shut in.

     
  • At 10:45 PM, Blogger margalit said…

    Having been attacked by a German Shepard Dog when I was younger, totally unprovoked, I agree with Ms Chicky. Those dogs need to be removed from the homeowner. Dogs escalate aggression and your bruise might turn into someone else's carotid artery. You got good advice here. Glad to know you're moving forward to take of the problem legally.

     
  • At 11:34 PM, Blogger SUEB0B said…

    That is so scary. I hope you get some kind of resolution before anyone else gets attacked.

     
  • At 11:59 PM, Anonymous mel from freak parade said…

    How very scary. I was bitten by dog when I was younger. Not too badly, but still, it was very frightening. I am glad you are okay.

     
  • At 8:22 AM, Anonymous Manda said…

    I'm glad to hear that you are O.K. I think this situation is very sad because it is entirely the owner's fault. I'm speaking in terms of raising the dog, teaching it right from wrong. People that don't have the time, willingness, or love for an animal just plain and simple shouldn't have one. I think you're 100% in the right getting the dog(s) out of the neighborhood a.s.a.p. But, again the chances of the dog(s) being put up for adoption are slim to none becase you and 1 other have been attatcked. Have you considered pressing charges? Isn't there a leash law of some sorts? I would push the issue even if it means going to every neighbor on your block, making them aware, having them sign a statement and presenting it to the high ups. If the high ups don't give a hoot about the citizin's safety, esp children - than there's a massive issue.
    Eitherway I wish you the best and don't let down. Stay right on top of this and get those damn dogs out of there.

     
  • At 9:42 AM, Anonymous Antique Mommy said…

    That is terrifying. Big stick or mace is probably all you can really do. You can't make people be responsible for their pets, you can't make unmanageable ill-tempered and probably unloved dogs behave and you can't expect justice. And doesn't that suck?

     
  • At 12:39 PM, Blogger Christine said…

    Wow. How petrifying that must have been...I am so glad you are okay and I hope this gets resolved before those dogs hurt someone else.

     
  • At 9:14 PM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    OMG, my hands are sweating. I am so glad you are ok.

    Can you also report this to the police? This is a public safety issue. I know that Animal Control is often under the jurisdiction of the police, but, up here, these people are paid a paltry sum to be on call 24/7 handling a gazillion calls---maybe having a police officer on their doorstep asking question will get them to lock up their dogs for now.

    Very scary; and they have children too! BTW, do you know who the other person was that got bit? Can you team up with her/him?

     
  • At 7:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    You must live in Georgia. I couldn't let my kids outside until the loser neighbors with 4 dogs moved away. I was either going to have to spend 5 grand on a fence for my own yard or keep the kids indoors. Call animal control and they'll just tell the neighbors who made the call. Then worry about redneck justice? I ended up calling the realtor who was selling the house one door down. I told her she would never sell the house as long as the 4 dogs were there to scare away potential buyers. Sure, it was wimpy, but what could I do? I have to live here.

     

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