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.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Wheels of Justice Turn Slooooooooooooowly

Nearly three weeks after I was attacked, my dog saga continues.

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.

15 Comments:

  • At 8:38 AM, Blogger Blogversary said…

    I am glad that some action was finally taken and the man who probably knows more about dogs than the owner was on your side.

     
  • At 9:02 AM, Anonymous Andrea said…

    I've had run ins with neighbors about my dogs. Once, my smaller dog (a mutt) got on top of our hot tub in the back yard and was barking annoyingly over the fence at the neighbors, who had people over. We didn't know she was barking because of a weird set of circumstances (my husband had accidentally shattered our sliding glass door that morning and we had cardboard over it and couldn't see, and our TV was too loud to hear) but as soon as I realized she was causing problems, I went out back and took steps to make her stop. When I came back around to the front of the house, there was a police officer standing there warning me about a noise complaint. Instead of knocking on my door and saying, hey can you stop your dog barking at us, she's been at it for awhile, this neighbor went straight to the cops. I was annoyed mainly because we are not unreasonable people and I can understand her aggravation. We would have done whatever we could to appease the situation without the cops being called, and yet she didn't give us the opportunity to take care of it.

    In contrast, a neighbor across the street had a dog that was a little on the mean side (I don't believe she was vicious, just territorial) and she once broke free of her owners and charged me and my two dogs (both leashed) in our front yard and there was a small scuffle. I did not fly off the handle and in fact, after checking my dogs to make sure they weren't hurt, I ventured to the dog owner's house to make sure they were all okay. There were many apologies and everything was smoothed over quickly. It was an accident, and things can happen sometimes. I knew they didn't make a habit of letting their dog roam free terrorizing the neighborhood, and it was a one time thing.

    The contrast of the danger in the two stories is markedly different, and yet I came away with a better opinion of the neighbors of the dog who charged us than I did of the neighbor annoyed with the barking. That neighbor has since complained to us about our dogs whining when the whining is the result of our husky having severe arthritis and being in some pain that the strongest medication available is only strong enough to take the edge off. She's not a pet person, which is her right, but there are better ways to handle people than she does.

    I hope your matter is resolved to your satisfaction. I find it hard to believe the owners would actually move if forced to remove their dogs. Idle threat if you ask me, but I love the phrase, "Don't let the door hitcha where the Lord splitcha." That's comedic gold, right there.

     
  • At 9:42 AM, Blogger slouching mom said…

    That's appalling. All of it. I'm glad that at the very least you have Mr. (Dr.?) Rake on your side.

    The idea that because you spoke firmly to the dog, you didn't feel threatened? Preposterous. You were trying to protect yourself.

     
  • At 9:46 AM, Anonymous Doug said…

    Love is blind (even for a dog) and unfortunately she's missing the very point you and the Witness are making.

    I wonder what her reply would be to the question, "could you live with yourself knowing that the next time the dog attacks it could be a small child and it will likely be worse?"

    Sadly I had to use a similar line with my father-in-law about his deteriorating driving skills. Sorry but I can't risk the lives of my children and your grandchildren because I'm no longer comfortable with your driving abilities. Believe it or not, he still speaks to me. I have to work on that.

    Oh and take pictures of the bruise. If legal action does become necessary it can only help your case.

     
  • At 11:12 AM, Blogger painted maypole said…

    you're fighting the good fight!

     
  • At 11:33 AM, Anonymous AA said…

    Loose, viscious dogs are scarey.

    Too many kids are maimed and killed by dogs. You are doing the right thing.

    If the dog owner cared about people or dogs she would do something. If I were her I would, at least, have already found the dogs a home in the country where there are no kids (and if they attack livestock they are shot on sight! At least that is the way it works here, and no one would dare say a damn thing about their dead dog.)

     
  • At 12:50 PM, Blogger Veronica Mitchell said…

    I hope you can get rid the animals.

    I also hate to say this, because I want to know what happens, but you might not want to blog about this anymore if you are taking legal action. Your words here could be subpoenaed, and you don't know what a lawyer would do with them.

     
  • At 2:07 PM, Blogger flutter said…

    I am so glad you had that man there to see what happened. Wow. I'm just so sorry that this is such a fucking debacle.

     
  • At 3:21 PM, Blogger mrinz said…

    Go for it! And good luck, I hope that you succeed in making your neighbourhood a safer place for all.

    There are far too many incidents involving dogs attacking children.

    Dog owners need to take responsibility for the training and care of their animals. That includes removing them if they are a menace.

     
  • At 4:13 PM, Blogger margalit said…

    I'm glad you're standing up not only for yourself, but for the entire neighborhood in moving forward to rid your neighborhood of these dogs. I'm sorry for the owner, it's hard to give up a beloved pet, but honestly, does she really believe those dogs are innocent.

    I hope you photographed your bruise.

     
  • At 10:09 PM, Blogger SUEB0B said…

    I am incredibly annoyed at people who let their dogs run loose. It is like a plague around here. I would be appalled if my dog EVER got out.

     
  • At 11:32 PM, Blogger Amy York said…

    I am proud of you for doing what is necessary and important to make your neighborhood a safe place. I would do exactly the same thing... Kudos to you!
    Sorry to hear about your bruise... but glad you weren't bitten or more seriously injured. Hopefully something will happen with the HOA before someone else is...
    For all the griping you hear about HOA's, I'm glad yours is doing something positive.

     
  • At 7:13 PM, Blogger Ruth Dynamite said…

    The truth is hard to face, and the truth is that your neighbors must part with their beloved pet. The dog might be wonderful with them and their young family members, but dogs who charge and bite other people - any people - are not properly socialized.

     
  • At 9:13 PM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    Good for you! You can't let this go b/c the next person these dogs bite might be a child.

     
  • At 1:58 PM, Anonymous kneurotyk said…

    I can't say I understand the dog owner's attitude, but I have experienced it -- from my own mother. Her dog has snapped at my child and all of her other grandchildren. He has pulled my mom off her feet and broken her shoulder, and bitten through my stepdad's hand. My son contracted hemorrhagic e-coli at their house, where their dogs are fed a raw food diet (yes, raw meat slobber everywhere!). Yet, my mother is hurt and bewildered that we won't go to her home, or allow her to bring her dogs to ours. (We have gone there under a strict agreement that she keeps the dogs in their kennels -- and then she or her husband lets them out without telling us, "because they feel ignored.")

    It's such a sadness to me that this has affected our relationship.

    My sympathies on your encounter, and best wishes on having a safe neighborhood again.

     

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