What is this town coming to?
Yesterday, hubby and I went for a walk along the canal and back across the field behind the Priory. This is a walk we take most days (when I am able), as it is not too far for me to trundle without being in too much pain.
Well, we were strolling along the river in the centre of the field, discussing life, the universe and everything else, when suddenly, three massive dogs came charging towards us barking and snarling! It was like something out of a horror film – Resident Evil springs to mind! Two very large Hounds of some type (similar to Great Danes, but slightly smaller) and a Grey Hound. There were, however, seven dogs in total! Two of the large Hounds, Two Grey Hounds, Two medium cross breeds and one tiny yappy thing. None of them were on a lead. They didn’t stop barking or harassing us, while the two very rotund owners (who would not have been able to run and stop their dogs if they had attacked us, due to their sheer size), were shouting for the dogs to come back, but they were not listening at all.
I was terrified! I am not afraid of dogs and generally, while on a walk, they will come up to us and have a bit of a fuss. But, surely, dogs like this, should be kept on leads? If the owners are unable to control them, then, this should be a law. What would of happened if the dogs had attacked? Three dead dogs I imagine, by one way or another. My biggest fear here, was – what would of happened if I had children with me?
The rest of the dogs then began to race around, barking and generally harassing us, running to within inches of us, almost knocking us over. The owner, eventually, when she rolled up to us said “Oh, don’t worry, they won’t bite, they just like to talk”. I fear this woman had a very low IQ. She owns seven dogs and clearly is unable to handle them. Does she not understand pack mentality?
These dogs would have attacked at any time if the owners had so wished and I firmly believe that if they were trained correctly, they would not have behaved so. The two owners were obviously the Alpha’s with the seven dogs as a pack. The dogs will only do what the owners wish them to do, picking up on their scents and pheromones, as queue’s for them to act.
We eventually got through the terrifying ordeal and returned to the safety of our home and as is the British cure for all terrifying moments, we had a cuppa.
While making said cuppa, we heard some loud and raucous Polaks shouting and singing down the street. We live directly on the main road, which is sometimes a nuisance, and have a large kitchen window. Looking out of the window to identify this new disturbance, the band of brigands ambled along, special brew cans in hand, while one of them decided to go into the garage across the road and take a piss up the side of a very expensive looking four wheel drive. Clearly visible to all and sundry who happened to be passing. Lovely.
Interestingly, I had a response from the owner/keeper/walker of the dogs mentioned above and I have attached it here, as well as my response to her regarding the dogs. Enjoy and feel free to join in with your comments around this kind of irresponsible, reprehensable behaviour! Oh, and I have left the spelling and grammatical errors as she wrote it.
Furious and highly offended
Submitted on 2012/08/07 at 3:50 pm
In response to your dramatic and very exaggerated post entitled ‘Rabid dogs and Pissing Pollacks’
I would firstly like to thank you for your wonderful description of my partner and I, “…very rotund…sheer size…very low IQ” how non-judgemental and benevolent of you!
I noticed several areas of extreme exaggeration in the post, which I feel I should bring to your attention. I have never owned seven dogs, nor do I intend to, there were five, of which, four belonged to me at the time. For your information, the two larger dogs are eight month old lurcher puppies – nowhere near the size of Great Danes, one of the medium crossbreeds is also a lurcher, a petite female, and the other one a collie cross, and the “tiny yappy thing” (I happen to agree with you on that statement) is a Jack Russell. None of the dogs were snarling at any point, they were barking nervously, which is a sign of their uncertainty about two outsiders approaching their pack. “A scene from a horror film – Resident Evil..” – I can only ascertain from that statement that your experiences of horror films are very limited, or that you have a flare for hyperboly. I foster dogs for a local dog rescue, and have rescued and rehabilitated several dogs over a significant period of time. I understand pack mentality and how dogs react to energy. I should point out that the dogs were reacting negatively and with an obvious dislike to the energy being projected by you, and was nothing to do with my also “very rotund” partner and I.
In my opinion, the term “harassing” is rather extreme and unnecessary. My response to your silence and rudeness, after I gave my appologies as I saw that you were uncomfortable with being greeted in such a way was “Honestly, they wont bite or hurt you, they just like to talk”. This was factual. The dogs did not attack, or bite, or in fact touch either of you at any point, and would never do so, as they are not, and have never shown even a small amount of aggression. I believe that if you did in fact have children with you, the dogs would have reacted in a much calmer way, as children tend to project calmer and more positive energy than adults. I have two children, both under the age of five, who are able to do basic training with the dogs, and get them to obey basic commands. If you had sufficient knowledge of dogs, you would understand that barking is an expression of many things, aggression being just one. As for the dogs being trained correctly, part of my role as a rescuer is to train the dogs, which is an ongoing process. The dogs are all safe to be off their leads, and would not have been running free if this was not the case.
I would like to finish by apologising again, that you were uncomfortable in the situation, however, I believe that you have exaggerated this almost beyond belief in your own mind, and I think that frankly, you are ridiculous. That particular field is very popular with dog walkers, as you know, so if encounters with multiple barking dogs is frightening for you, might I suggest you take your walks in other areas.
Lastly, I find your references to Polish people as “Pollacks” offensive and racist.
Congratulations on being such an admirable and well-rounded human being.
Here is my reply.
Madam, I am responding to your comments left on the Contact page of my website. Unfortunately, as you used a fake email address and left no name, I am unable to address you as anything but Madam. In all honesty, I do find it amusing that my blog has elicited such a response from you. That you should be furious and highly offended was exactly my intent!
Firstly however, I must thank you for taking the time out to read my blog as it is on the World Wide Web and is open for the public to see, that is what it is there for. The fact that you have taken the time to respond yet not leave your name or email address, proves to me your guilt in this instance, as those with a clear conscience would be happy to state their name.
I should also say that I do think that your chosen vocation of rescuing and rehabilitating dogs is a wonderful thing to do. As an animal lover myself, I find this a noble cause. (My own pets, of which I have had many, were mostly rescues and strays – apart from the two guard dogs we owned while living in South Africa. Both were thoroughbred Alsations. This is how I was able to identify the intent of your dog, as I have witnessed attack dogs in action). Unfortunately, this is where you have let your profession down, by your total lack of responsibility surrounding the vicious dog on the date in question. You should either go on further training or make a career change as you are clearly failing at rehabilitating an animal that needs to be kept away from the public. You state that the dogs have never shown aggression before – well on this date, they most certainly did. You should be ashamed of yourself!
The only mistake that my husband and I made on the day, was not calling the dog warden.
Basically, YOU are wrong and the action you failed to take on the day was wrong. Legally, you have broken the law and I know that you are well aware of this. Your dog’s behaviour and thereby your own, as a responsible dog owner/carer was illegal. I will refer to you several documents and websites for rescuing/rehabilitating dogs and from your own admissions above, you are probably in contravention of a number of them.
Town Police Clauses Act 1847:
Under this law, Section 28, (except for Greater London area-see below) it is an offence for any person in any street to let an unmuzzled ferocious dog be at large, to the obstruction, annoyance, or danger of the residents or passengers.
It is also an offence to set on or to urge any dog or other animal to attack, worry, or put in fear in any person or animal. The Act defines the meaning of ‘street’ shall extend to and include any road, square, court, alley, thoroughfare (public road going from one place to another) or public passage. (taken from www.endandgereddogs.com).
In both my husbands and my opinion, this was a ferocious dog and should not have been let lose on/in a public place. We were forced to stop walking and felt the need to stand perfectly still, unable to speak in fear of the dog attacking. It barred our path, bared its teeth, growled, barked and snarled, with curled lips. I think, as you were at least 100 meters (if not more) behind the dog with the wind blowing from the west (the direction you were walking from), you probably could not hear.
With regards to your criticisms of my blog and style of writing, as I choose to practice as you put it “Hyperboly” or Hyperbole (as it is actually spelt) and as a writer, practice poetic license. I did not write this blog in jest. The account of the fear that I personally felt is true and accurate. As I am diagnosed with Bi-Polar disorder, I often suffer from agoraphobia and venturing out on my own can be difficult. My husband and I have been walking across that field over the past year and not once have we encountered such a vicious animal. The situation on the day above, did scare me and as I have seen you around the vicinity since said day, I do feel rather threatened by a further encounter. Your reference to my experiences of horror films being limited is a direct verbose attack at my own entertainment choice. As it so happens, horror is my favourite genre of film, art and literature as, if you had taken the time to look at the rest of my website, you would, perhaps have noticed this. I could have en-likened the animal to Cujo or the Dog from John Carpenter’s The Thing. I chose the dogs from Resident Evil as looking at a snarling mouth full of teeth brought the image into my mind.
My reference to your weight issues were to illustrate the fact that if the dog had attacked or bitten, you would not have been able to reach the part of the field we were in. Your calls to the dog and indeed dogs to heel were ignored by ALL of the animals that belonged to you or were under your care at the time – of which, there were SEVEN. I could have used the words “obese”, “overweight” or “fat”. I felt rotund described you both perfectly. As an ex-fattie myself, I do not feel that these terms are derogatory in any way as I call myself fat.
Your words “They won’t bite or hurt you, they just like to talk” was by no means an apology. It was an excuse. An excuse to brush away the behaviour of an animal that you clearly have not rehabilitated or trained correctly. Neither my husband or I dared to talk to you after we eventually managed to walk along the side of the river, for fear that the dog would attack and of course the abuse and protest that you would no doubt have put forth if we were to speak our minds and tell you to leash the dog. Again, our only mistake on the day was not contacting the dog warden. You state “harassing” is extreme and unnecessary, well, I beg to differ. The dog did not give in its barking, snapping, snarling, growling; the two greyhounds or lurcher’s as you insist they are, were running around the field at such a mad pace, they barrelled into us a couple of times and we had to side step them. THAT Madam, is harassment. Harassment (/həˈræsmənt/ or /ˈhærəsmənt/) covers a wide range of behaviors of an offensive nature. It is commonly understood as behaviour intended to disturb or upset, and it is characteristically repetitive. In the legal sense, it is intentional behaviour which is found threatening or disturbing. It was most definitely threatening and disturbing behaviour!
We were minding our own business, your dogs were not. While we were stood frozen in the middle of the field, the rest of your dogs took on the pack nature that they so easily slip into as is their psychology. Having seen Wild Dogs in action in the bush, they were circling around and behind us. The vicious dog obviously being the Alpha and the rest darting back and forth to intimidate and create fear. I am sure by this time, the dogs did pick up on a “negative energy” around us, to use your term. That negative energy being FEAR. (I believe the negative energy you are intoning in your response above is probably aimed at our different style of dress and that we follow an alternative lifestyle). The dog appears to have issues and will follow the lead of its owners (or not). It is a dog. Not a human. No human can predict the nature or reaction of a dog to any situation. How can two people who have just got married and are taking a romantic walk, possibly have negative energy around them?
As the psychology of the animal is in question here, I will refer you firstly (again), to the Endangered Dogs website and secondly, the Kennel Club website on the following points:
Safe and secure – Keeping your dog under the control of a competent adult is your responsibility. Regularly check your dog’s collar, lead, head collar, harness, muzzle etc – do they fit properly and is any item excessively worn? Never let your dog out unattended. Make sure your garden is secure and your dog cannot escape-check your gates and fencing regularly, especially following adverse weather.
Never leave children and dog(s) alone together without adult supervision-adult (a responsible adult) supervision is essential-asking or telling a child to stay away from a dog is not good enough. When you are out and enjoying a walk with your dog-do remember that not everyone is comfortable around dogs, for many different reasons, please be considerate at all times.
Barking - Excessive barking can cause a problem with your neighbours who may lodge a complaint with your local authority (council). Complaints are investigated and a ‘Noise Abatement Notice’ can be issued. If you have a problem with your dog barking a lot – please take advice.
Livestock – Your dog should never be allowed to worry livestock. Under the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 it is a criminal offence if a dog is at large (not on a leash or otherwise under control) in a field or enclosure which contains sheep. Worrying livestock also includes attacking livestock or chasing livestock in a way which may reasonably be expected to cause Injury or suffering. Livestock includes cattle, sheep, goats, swine, horses and poultry such as domestic fowls, turkeys, geese or ducks. Injury doesn’t have to have taken place for the offence to have occurred.
Civil action – Under the Dogs Act 1871 a complaint can be made to the Magistrates Court that a dog is dangerous and not kept under proper control. If it appears to the court that the dog is dangerous, the court may make an order directing the dog be kept under proper control by the owner, or destroyed. It is important to note that the law can be applied to both public and private places.
Criminal offence – Under the Dangerous Dogs Act (DDA) 1991 – Section 3 as amended, it is a criminal offence for a dog to be ‘dangerously out of control’ in a public place, or a private place where the dog is not permitted to be. This applies to all dogs of all breeds/types.
A dog shall be regarded as dangerously out of control on any occasion on which there are grounds for reasonable apprehension that it will injure any person, whether or not it actually does so – an aggravated offence (more serious) will have been committed if the dog, whilst out of control, injures a person. An injury doesn’t have to be in the form of a dog bite, it could, for example, be from a dog enthusiastically greeting someone and knocking them over, or jumping up and scratching a person’s leg, injury to a person is classed as an aggravated offence under the DDA.
Liability – Under the Animals Act 1971 you could be held liable to pay compensation in a civil action brought, for any damage caused by your dog. Liability rests with the keeper – the person in possession/in control of the dog at the time it caused damage. Conditions have to be met and there are exceptions from liability.
Local Restrictions – Under the Clean Neighbourhoods & Environment Act 2005 your local authority can/or may have already, introduced a ‘Dog Control Order’ (DCO) in their own public areas. These orders can relate to dog fouling, the keeping of dogs on leads, the number of dogs which a person may take on to any land or the exclusion of dogs from land.
Open spaces, parks etc in your area could become/may already be subject to a dog control order, limiting your use as a dog owner. You will need to be aware of any local measures currently in place and abide by them.
Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (section 3)
It is a criminal offence (for the owner and/or the person in charge of the dog) to allow a dog to be ‘dangerously out of control’ in a public place, a place where it is not permitted to be, and some other areas. A ‘dangerously out of control’ dog can be defined as a dog that has injured someone or a dog that a person has grounds for reasonable apprehension that it may do so. Something as simple as your dog chasing, barking at or jumping up at a person or child could lead to a complaint, so ensure that your dog is under control at all times.
If your dog injures a person, it may be seized by the police and your penalty may include a prison sentence and/or a ban on keeping dogs.
There is also an automatic presumption that your dog will be destroyed (unless you can persuade the court that it is not a danger to the public, in which case it may be subject to a control order). You may also have to pay a fine, compensation and costs.
Madam, The facts are:
1. The dog was unmanageable by yourself and therefore deemed dangerous.
2. The dog blocked our passage, bared its teeth, growling, barking and snarling.
3. You could not call the dog to heel.
4. The rest of the pack were also uncontrollable.
5. You did not apologise or make any attempt to leash the dog or even scald it for the behaviour. I do not accept the “They won’t hurt you…” statement as an apology. In fact, it was a non-apology apology and for your benifit, here is the meaning: A non-apology apology is a statement that has the form of an apology but does not express the expected contrition. It is common in both politics and public relations. It most commonly entails the speaker saying that he or she is sorry not for a behavior, statement or misdeed, but rather is sorry only because a person who has been aggrieved is requesting the apology, expressing a grievance, or is threatening some form of retribution or retaliation.
An example of a non-apology apology would be saying “I’m sorry that you feel that way” to someone who has been offended by a statement. This apology does not admit that there was anything wrong with the remarks made, and additionally, it may be taken as insinuating that the person taking offense was excessively thin-skinned or irrational in taking offense at the remarks in the first place.
I myself, in a similar situation, would have ensured that I approached the people and apologised profusely. You did not. By doing this, you showed a total lack of concern or regard for other people and their feelings towards vicious barking dogs. You are, in your own words “an admirable and well-rounded human being”. Pun intended.
Further to this, the fact that you allow your children, under five, who are able to give the dogs “basic commands”, clearly shows a lack of responsibility to your parenting skills as well as the commitment to your profession. At www.oncelovedrescue.org.uk I found the following statement:
We prefer foster homes without children, but we do place dogs into homes with children as long as they are over the age of 8 years old. Please note, no child must ever be left unsupervised with a foster dog.
This of course, is your choice and they are your children. But, if you are fostering a dog and you don’t know the history of it, I wouldn’t leave your children alone with it. Just my opinion.
I also noticed this week in the Guardian, a couple of letters, featured on AA Grundi’s page, referring to instances of dogs not being on leads who were causing harassment to people and other animals. I am not implying that these were your dogs, just highlighting a prevelant trend in the area. I do believe that this is the reason the act above was put into place. http://www.worksopguardian.co.uk/community/readers-letters
It is time that irresponsible dog owners take back the responsibility they have to others and to their dogs. It is time that we, the citizens who do not own dogs, begin to enforce the laws pertaining to dog control, by contacting the local Dog Warden or Police.
I will NOT change where I walk, as it is a public field and I live just around the corner. Why should I change my walking area, when you could quite easily put a lead onto the dog in question and stop any harassment it may or may not cause. I have as much right as anyone living in this town to traverse that field and would like to do so in safety. While your pack is on the lose, my life and others’ are at risk. Take responsibility for your animals and your EPIC FAIL at training them.
Oh and with regards to the “Pollack” reference – I should have written “Polak” and have since changed it. However, I shall direct you to a number of discussion boards, which notes that the Pole’s use this term amongst themselves. As my husband works with many Pole’s, he hears this on a regular basis. I am by no means racist, fattist, dogist or any “ist”. The reason for this gripe was that the man who urinated outside my kitchen window on the main street was polish. This is not the first time that I have seen such behaviour in this town. It was also broard daylight. This is just one further example http://www.worksopguardian.co.uk/news/local-news/drunk-man-caught-short-on-camera-1-4021064
I apologise to any Polish People who I unintentionally offended.
In closing this piece, I draw your attention to a Welsh Proverb;
Three things it is best to avoid: a strange dog, a flood and a man who thinks he is wise.
May you make the right decision.
Other references and websites used include:
www.scribd.com specifically referring to http://www.scribd.com/doc/13073172/Vicious-Dogs-The-Antisocial-Behaviors-and-Psychological-Characteristics-of-Owners which was originally published in the Journal of Forensic Sciences in March 2009.