Attacked by dog, how to get owner to take responsibility?
May 19, 2012 1:10 PM Subscribe
Help me think straight. I was attacked by a loose German Shepherd while out on a walk with my husband and our two small leashed dogs. What should I do next? The owner is in denial and I am concerned for the safety of myself and others. I think that if I threaten a lawsuit I could scare her into building a fence and reinforcing her door. I'm interested in getting her to take action to keep her dog enclosed or to take it to a behaviorist, not trying to win money in a settlement.
posted by anonymous to Pets & Animals (36 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
When we were attacked, the german shepherd (a huge adult male) appeared out of nowhere and targeted the 8 lb yorkie mix that my husband was walking. Our dogs didn't bark at it and we were on the sidewalk. It totally blindsided us.
My husband was taken off guard but quickly risked his own safety to get the attacking dog off of our tiny elderly dog. He is a big guy and has years of martial arts training. Despite using his full strength to kick the dog in the ribs and punch the dog in the head, it remained unfazed and kept biting and biting. It eventually got our tiny dog in its mouth and thrashed it about like a rag doll. I was certain my dog would die. At one point it decided to come after our 20 lb doxie mix and I scooped him up to keep him out of the way. I was bitten on my leg, luckily protected by a boot, while kicking the dog away. My husband was bitten on his wrist while trying to scoop up our poor Lulu. By some miracle it bit right where his watch was and left a huge gouge in the stainless steel.
The entire time I was screaming for help and kicking the dog as hard as I could in the hips. Eventually, my husband pinned it to the ground with his knees and somehow got our dog free. If I had been alone, at least one of our dogs would surely have died. We were lucky to be able to defend ourselves but it took everything we had and that dog came at us with full force and was hardly deterred.
Both dogs were wearing long padded vest harnesses so they were protected and no blood was drawn. Thank goodness. It was horrible watching a big dog like that shaking our little 8 lb dog in its mouth. I feel like we dodged a bullet. Any one of those shakes could have hurt her spine.
This was at a house that is a few blocks away from ours. We don't normally go that way but needed to walk to the mailbox.
The idiot owner appeared from her back yard after what seemed like an eternity. This is after I was screaming for help that we are getting attacked by a dog, come get your dog. My husband, who was understandably upset, told her to come get her f-ing dog and keep it out of the f-ing street.
She had the nerve to get mad at him for using the f-word and told us that her dog was a nice dog. He had to remind her that we were the victims and each one of us had gotten bitten by her "nice dog!"
Imagine if it was a senior citizen or a family with children out with their pet! Ugh, what a total idiot. Animal control says I can submit a report and the lady would have to appear in front of a judge but she'd only get fined for a loose dog since no humans were bleeding from the bites.
This total moron totally blew us off and didn't seem sorry at all until my husband said he was going to press charges against her. Then she started crying! She is a HORRIBLE PERSON who did not care that we were attacked because she didn't believe her dog would do it.
My husband may have fractured his pinky from punching the dog and I threw out my back (recovering from back surgery, great). Our dogs seem to be ok, we are keeping an eye on little Lulu to see if there's any neurological damage. It did appear that me and my husband were not the target of the attack and we were only bitten trying to defend our dogs--so the dog is not necessarily people aggressive.
The owner is an elderly lady and swore it was the first time the dog had ever done that and it is always in the back yard behind the fence or inside.
I am wondering what to do. If this really was a freak occurrence and the dog was just guarding a perceived threat to its yard, maybe I could let it go. I've already filed a formal complaint with animal control and an officer came to take my report. I can ask that the case be sent to court but the most she'd get is a fine for a loose dog. If this would scare her straight, I'd be willing to do it if it kept others safe. For now, there's at least an official record that her dog was loose and attacked us.
I was thinking of asking her neighbors whether it truly is a one-time chance accident. If there have been repeated issues, I was thinking of threatening to sue her with the offer to drop the suit if she fenced in her front yard to keep the neighborhood safe from her dog. I'm not actually interested in a law suit or in getting any money out of her but I would like to scare her into taking responsibility for her powerful and territorial dog.
I am having a hard time thinking straight because I am so upset. Has something like this happened to you and what do you think I should do? This is not personal, I just want for others to be safe. There are grannies out walking their malteses in my neighborhood and children with their pups.
BTW, I went on Amazon today and purchased a telescopic night stick for future walks. The animal control officer said the majority of loose dogs would be scared away if I threatened them with a stick and swung at them.