(Warning, this is a very long post with lots of detail. I apologize in advance for the length.)
We are having a serious issue with a next door neighbor and their dog. This dog was a “stray” in the neighborhood for a long time. The owner lived about a mile down the road from us, but wasn’t interested in keeping the dog on his property. Usually this wouldn’t be a problem except this dog (a lab mix) was trained as a hunting/fighting dog, we understand that it was used for hog hunting. The dog very docile when around humans, but turns into a killer when around other animals.
We live on 5 acres as do most of our neighbors. Our property is fenced off with field fence. We have three dogs of our own and we like to be able to let them run on our acreage. Since it is completely fenced in we don’t have to worry about them leaving the property. If they were to somehow escape from our fenced property, each one wears his own GPS and we are notified immediately if they “go out of area”. About a year ago this “stray” dog found it’s way onto our property and attacked our Great Dane, scarring his face. Luckily we were home at the time and I was able to break up the dog fight. We called animal control, they came out and took the lab away, the animal control officer commented at the time that he had a hell of a time getting the dog under control and his word were that he was an “aggressive dog”. Our next door neighbor discovered that this animal was in the possession of the local pound and for some reason decided to “rescue” the dog and bring it home (She had been feeding it for years, so it would come to her house for food). So now we have this aggressive dog living right next door.
The problem we have with this situation is that the neighbor lets her dog run free on her property (usually not an issue), between our property and hers is a field fence that has is made of wire with holes about 4"x4". If we let our dogs out it isn’t long before both her and our dogs are at the common fence barking at each other. Now, because of the temperament of her dog it will literally push it’s head and shouders through the holes in the fence to attack our dogs. We have had to go and beat her dog off of ours several times in the past year. I can say that if we hadn’t been there to break up the fight, our dog would have been killed. I have rarely seen an animal fight so hard and attack with such ferocity.
Fast forward to a few days ago. We had a discussion with our neighbor several months ago and told her that this situation cannot continue. It is dangerous to her dog and ours. We made an agreement with her to put out a flag on our common fence (ours red, hers yellow) when our dogs were outside so we could be sure and never let the dogs out at the same time. We have religiously followed the agreement putting up the red flag each and every time our dogs are let out to exercise or use the bathroom. Unfortunately, she has made zero effort to do the same and it almost seems as if she’ll let her dog out as soon as she sees ours outside. A problem to say the least.
Well, three days ago I went to let out dogs out to go to the bathroom. Before doing so I went outside, looked for her flag (it wasn’t up) and scanned her yard to make sure that her dogs weren’t in her yard. Seeing that all was clear I let our three dogs out. Less than a minute after our dogs were in the yard, her comes her lab snarling and barking at full speed toward the fence. Our Great Dane happened to be at the fence line at the time peeing on a tree and before we had time to react the lab had it’s head and shoulders through the fence and had the Dane’s snout in his jaws. My wife grabbed a metal pole that was nearby and hit the lab in a effort to get it to release it’s bite. The metal pole had zero effect and our Dane was yelping in pain. My wife screamed for me to help and I ran inside the house to retrieve my shotgun. (I had no intention of shooting the dog, rather the noise from the gun generally will make the dogs run back to their homes). I ran back outside and discovered that the lab had ceased biting the Dane and had instead clamped down on my wife’s arm.
Had I a clear shot at the dog I would have killed it on the spot, however this wasn’t possible as my wife was firmly attached to the dogs mouth. So, I shot into the air twice and the dog finally let go on hearing the second shot. Thankfully my wife’s injuries were limited to two puncture holes. We called animal control right away and they arrived about an hour later. The officer took our statement and took pictures of the wounds on my wife’s arm and our Dane’s face. He told us that he would be taking the dog and issuing a ticket to the neighbor. We watched him drive next door and it looked like he was preparing to take the lab as he opened the cage door on his truck and got out the pole that is used to collar dogs. As all this was happening we watched (but couldn’t hear) a very animated neighbor plead her case with the animal control officer, this included throwing herself on the ground several times.
After about a half and hour he returned to our house and told us that he would not be taking the dog, but instead issued her a ticket and told her that her dog cannot leave the house for ten days unless on a leash. He then told us that the neighbor could not produce a rabies vaccination for the animal and it did not have current tags. This is what the ticket was issued for. So, with all of that my question is, is it normal for animal control to not impound a dog that has bitten someone and that dog has no proof of a rabies vaccination? I am just stunned that the dog was not taken in and quarantined to make sure that it isn’t rabid. Now, I don’t think that the dog is rabid as she got him from the pound a little over a year ago and he certainly would have gotten his vaccination then, I’m sure that the vaccination doesn’t run out one year to the day it is given. The officer was nice to us and I don’t want to cause any problems for him, but I am thinking of heading down to Animal Control on Monday and see if his actions were correct.
I am thinking that he had every intention of taking that dog in and only changed his mind after her wailing and pleading, he felt sorry for her. Unfortunately we are still left with this, in our opinion, vicious dog next door. We called a fence company and we are thinking of having a new fence installed that will be impossible for the dog to get it’s head through. The only problem with that is that our common fence is over 500’ long and we are looking at an expense of close to $4,000. The Animal Control officer’s suggestion to me was to “let the dog come on to your property and shoot the damn thing”. Well, I guess that is an option, but I really am not the type to want to kill anything, however I will shoot it dead if I find it on our property. Not because I want to kill something, but rather I am certain that dog will kill one of our animals if it has the chance. Not to mention our children, as I’ve said before I have not witnessed this dog being aggressive to humans, but it did chomp down on my wife while she was trying to separate the two dogs, so I am not so sure anymore.
I apologize for this being so damn long, but I thought it was important to give the whole story. So, the questions are:
1: What is generally done when a dog who’s vaccination records are in question bites a human?
2: Should I file a complaint with the County in regards to the Animal Control Officer’s response to our neighbor’s sob story, allowing the dog to stay?
3: Knowing what I know, would you hesitate to shoot this dog if it would appear on your property? (BTW, I have consulted with both Animal Control and the Sherriff’s Office, if their dog is on our property, it’s fair game.)
You would think that our neighbor would just cooperate with us when it comes to the dogs. Is it really all that difficult to put up a stupid piece of yellow cloth when you let your dog out? I swear I think that she likes the dogs to fight and this is intentional. FWIW, she hasn’t asked once if my wife was okay, instead she just yelled across the fence that we lied and made the whole thing up. My God, if my dog bit someone I would be in a panic, afraid I would be sued. Not this lady. We move out to acreage to get away from annoying neighbors and look what we get. Also, our neighbor has been cited several times by the County when it comes to animals. A quick check of online records show she has been cited three times in the last few years for letting her dogs run loose in the area.