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May 6, 2007 11:51 AM   Subscribe

Poor, poor Wiley the dog. One Spring day, she got out of her yard and wandered aimlessly for a while. Wanting to help the lost animal find some direction, some vandals thoughtfully spray-painted her. Tragically, poor Wiley has since had to admit her painful secret to the world. She isn't literate. Forced to admit her shameful problem, hopefully she'll get some help.
posted by miss lynnster (88 comments total)

 
I'm really loving the five-star journalism from the second link: "If they do figure out who spray painted Wiley, they will likely not issue a citation but a stern warning!"
posted by porn in the woods at 11:55 AM on May 6, 2007


It's a dick thing to do to spraypaint a dog, but what kind of authoritarian impulse does it take to call the cops over that?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:02 PM on May 6, 2007


It was too much work to spray-paint each individual turd that old Wiley left in the yard, so this was the next best thing.

Marilyn Hardenbrook needs a swift kick in the ass.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 12:06 PM on May 6, 2007


...what kind of authoritarian impulse does it take to call the cops over that?

The kind that thinks it's wrong to do that just for the hell of it to a living thing that's not harming anybody? Although, truth to tell, I dunno if there's even a law on the books for this -- it's not exactly animal abuse, is it? Vandalism, I guess? Is it still vandalism if you're spray-painting an ambulatory organism?

I dunno. I've volunteered at shelters, so I have a problem with it and would've at least considered calling the cops.
posted by pax digita at 12:33 PM on May 6, 2007


Marilyn Hardenbrook: "I wish they would have come and talked to me and said we really don't like your dog in our yard. That would have been a real nice thing to do."

Sure, because every time I've heard of someone doing that, the problem is fixed immediately. People who let their dogs run free are usually the kind of law-abiding neighbor-loving folks who hate to see their neighbors troubled.

Also, the dog was not harmed in any way unless it ate some of the paint or the hair got clumped. It seems like a fairly harmless prank. Get the dog a haircut, fence in the backyard and move on.
posted by milovoo at 12:45 PM on May 6, 2007


Where I live, if you let your dog wander it's subject to being shot by your neighbors. I took the "Go Home" as a friendly warning.
posted by taosbat at 12:46 PM on May 6, 2007


Where I live, dogs wear people clothes.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:51 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ok, it might signal a bit of a bad attitude on the part of the spray painter. Yes, you probably shouldn't do this, but it was not a thick coat of paint - it looks to only lightly cover the surface hairs. Certainly I've seen conservationists use painted on numbers in survey counts of large mammals with no ill effects.

I am usually a strong avocate for animal rights, but I might be more sympathetic to the non-dog-owner side in this one, because I've lived next to people who let very dangerous or unruly dogs run wild.
posted by milovoo at 12:52 PM on May 6, 2007


Woof. Woof woof woof woof woof woof woof.
posted by pracowity at 12:54 PM on May 6, 2007


Where I live, if you let your dog wander it's subject to being shot by your neighbors.

Where I live, if you shoot somebody's dog just because you feel entitled to, you go to prison.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:56 PM on May 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Probably would've been a smaller deal if they hadn't used permanent paint.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:58 PM on May 6, 2007


where i'm from, if you see a dog wandering around you leave it the fuck alone.

unless you're my sister. then you put it in your car, take it home and keep it.

[not sisterist]
posted by shmegegge at 12:59 PM on May 6, 2007


Where I live, dogs wear people clothes.

Dogs In Duds!
posted by ericb at 1:03 PM on May 6, 2007


where i'm from, if you see a dog wandering around you leave it the fuck alone.

Elsewhere they'd eat 'em.
posted by ericb at 1:06 PM on May 6, 2007


In rural areas, loose dogs are often trouble. Last year a 4-pack
of dogs growled at me when I went to run them off. One
warning shot is all that it took to disperse them. I was glad
that I didn't have to shoot any of them. This particular group
of dogs was known to have chased horses in the area.

In rural areas again, the protocol is often "shoot, shovel
and shutup", which means that you kill the dog, bury it, and
don't say a thing to anyone.
posted by the Real Dan at 1:07 PM on May 6, 2007


It's kind of interesting here in Taos because we've got the old schoolers and the new agers. The old schoolers, who are currently in lambing season, view unknown and unsupervised dogs as likely threats to their livestock. The new agers dress their pups in people clothes and seem to think their pets are some sort of highly evolved old souls. Usually the dogs are the losers in this culture-clash.
posted by taosbat at 1:14 PM on May 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


I damn near did this once, one of the folks in my neighborhood had a dog that just wandered at will all day long and I do not want a dog near my chickens or my vegetable garden. He seemed like such a friendly dog and I never did it.

Where I live owning dog is irresistible to those too irresponsible to take care of it.
posted by Iron Rat at 1:15 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Where I live owning dog is irresistible to those too irresponsible to take care of it.
posted by Iron Rat


FTW!
posted by taosbat at 1:18 PM on May 6, 2007


Where I live, if you saw a dog wandering around...

I dunno.

I've never seen a stray dog in Tokyo. Cats, yeah, but never a dog.

I love that the graffiti was initially reported as "gang graffiti". Perhaps they misread "Go Home" as "Go Homey".
posted by Bugbread at 1:31 PM on May 6, 2007


Just wait until the dog picks up a paintbrush and goes out for revenge...
posted by miss lynnster at 1:35 PM on May 6, 2007


miss_l.: Yeah, tempera or maybe mascara -- something that'd scrub out. I guess Wiley's off to the groomer for a summer cut.

If I were in a rural area and responsible for livestock, different rules ref. shootin' arns might apply -- besides, some folks out in the sticks are surprisingly slack about stuff like rabies vaccination -- but we city slickers usually call the county pound, since the local constabulary generally frown on gunplay. I've been in this sitch and wound up teaching the neighbor twelve-year-old girl how to leash-train her dog so I didn't have "land mines" all over my yard.

I'd've given the missus her one verbal warning that I felt that phone call might be necessary in the future. However, I probably would've also offered to spring for a leash and a Gentle Leader if she was open to the suggestion and maybe a lesson or two.

(Putting clothes on a dog unless the wx is incredibly cold -- I used to think it was cute to put a sweater on our miniature Schnauzer, but I've been told it didn't really help him that much until he was fairly old.)
posted by pax digita at 1:47 PM on May 6, 2007


I'd venture that the ratio of clothed dogs to naked dogs is approaching 50% here.
posted by Bugbread at 1:56 PM on May 6, 2007


I live in the city, one block from a very busy major street. People in the neighborhood leave their dogs off leash all the time. It drives me crazy, and then I have to deal with it when they charge me and my dog when I walk him (on leash).

I don't understand how people think its just "okay" to leave your dogs off leash. Even if _your_ dog is well behaved while running around, that doesn't mean that other dogs/people/wild animals will be.
posted by rsanheim at 2:14 PM on May 6, 2007


Samoan shepherd?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:17 PM on May 6, 2007


Wiley's owner called cops late last month after discovering her dog "had been spray painted with gang graffiti."

I already assumed the owner was an idiot for letting her dog run around, but it's always nice to get that extra bit of confirmation.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 2:22 PM on May 6, 2007


Come to think of it, this is the first instance I've heard of in a while where cops wound up advising an owner for an instance of an unrestrained dog. Usually either Animal Control gets called for a "stray," or the dog's attacked (or at least challenged) someone. We have an ordinance against purebred pit bulls around here because of some spectacular incidents -- and then it's Animal Control for the dog and arrest for the owner.
posted by pax digita at 2:42 PM on May 6, 2007


Yep, on on the side of the painter. Anyone that allows a large dog to roam free is in the wrong. This was a pretty benign way to get the message across. It's not like the dogs self esteem was damaged!

Leash your dogs, get a fence, keep them out of my yard! (and your kids too!)
posted by HuronBob at 2:55 PM on May 6, 2007


That's got to be a hell of a friendly dog to stay still enough to allow someone to spray paint a legible message onto it, then roll it over and do the other side too.
posted by slimbob at 3:15 PM on May 6, 2007


I got savagely attacked by the "sweetest German Shepard" whose owners insisted that they could not understand why anyone would have a problem with a 70 pound police dog running through the neighborhood unrestrained. I was about 7, and I guess when running at full speed through the yard (that is, my own yard) I changed from "human neighbor" to "prey". The owners response was "well, that's just how dogs are". Actually, they were exactly right.

Here are a couple of hints:

1) Dogs are animals. They're apex predators in many niches. They can and do hurt people; sometimes they kill them. They don't behave like people do; do not anthropomorphize them.
2) Dogs are not people. Their rights to not trump peoples rights.
3) Dog owners are objectively lousy at predicting the behavior of their dog and therefore shouldn't be allowed to make decisions for other people like "no matter how many dogs before have bitten people, mine won't, so I can be irresponsible." See: ever time a pit bull has killed a child: it's never "yup, had a dangerous dog that I didn't keep on the porch", it's "he was such a sweet dog...I don't know what could have possibly happened...it's clearly not my fault".
4) Not everyone likes dogs. That doesn't make them a bad person.
5) Not everyone thinks having your dog in their yard is a wonderful thing.
6) It's not other peoples responsibility to look after your dog. It's fine of your sister wants to take home the neighborhood stray, I'm not a bad person for not wanting to deal with an animal I really know nothing about.
7) In places where there are "shooting allowed" laws, there's a reason, whether I feel "entitled" or not. Sending a message the the owner far short of doing all that is allowed is usually considered a kindness. P.S. - if they'd merely shot the dog, you'd never have heard about it.

I now have my own yard, a 5 year old that loves to run in her own yard, and a back neighbor that doesn't always keep his very large back lab in the fence. We've had a friendly little chat about what happens to said dog if the situation continues. Unlike many dog owners, he understands and agrees: the dog is not more important than my child.
posted by kjs3 at 3:42 PM on May 6, 2007 [9 favorites]


4) Not everyone likes dogs. That doesn't make them a bad person.

"Anyone who hates kids and dogs can't be all bad."
-WC Fields.
posted by The White Hat at 3:51 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Where I live, dogs shit in my yard on a regular basis. I would have been more tempted to spraypaint a message on the owner. Something like "restrain your goddamn dog".
posted by Nabubrush at 3:57 PM on May 6, 2007


I wonder if spraying the dog with cheap-@$$ perfume would've gotten the message across? That was Dad's preferred tactic with a dog that wouldn't stay out of our yard when we were little. It made more of an impression on the dog than spray-painting would've.

When he was little, there was a neighbor dog that liked to relieve himself against the side of Granddad's ancient Ford pickup truck -- old enough to have the old-style ignition coil, but with a battery-fired starter instead of the original, more hazaradous hand crank. Granddad detached the coil from the starter and affixed it to the truck chassis. It took only one excruciating incident for the dog to learn that the truck was off limits.
posted by pax digita at 4:05 PM on May 6, 2007


miss lynnster writes 'Just wait until the dog picks up a paintbrush and goes out for revenge...'

My guess is that the dog had been emulating the art of Chris Ofili, which led one particular art critic to review his work in this pointed manner.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:17 PM on May 6, 2007


Spray-paint isn't so great on the ol' system, but the amount of paint that dog absorbed into his bloodstream is a whole lot less unhealthy than a car accident.

And it amuses me a bit to imagine a gang of unruly youths forming a gang to terrorize the neighborhood with advice on how to be a good citizen. What's next? "Quit watering your grass on even days! We're in a drought, dammit!" burned into someone's suspiciously green lawn with gasoline?
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 4:21 PM on May 6, 2007


pax digita writes "I wonder if spraying the dog with cheap-@$$ perfume would've gotten the message across? That was Dad's preferred tactic with a dog that wouldn't stay out of our yard when we were little. It made more of an impression on the dog than spray-painting would've."

I'm thinking the idea wasn't to get a message across to the dog, but to the owners. Spray painting the dog doesn't seem to have annoyed the dog much (he let them do both sides, after all, and without all the wavery lines that would have resulted had he struggled), but it:

1) Got the message across to the owners
2) Did it without the worry of a possible angry confrontation with an owner, and, biggest:
3) Probably did more to convince the owner to keep the dog leashed than a lecture would have.

That is, if you tell the owner "please leash your dog", the owner might think "I should leash it, because I don't want to annoy this nice gentleman". But, in reality, the owner probably doesn't care about nice neighborhood gentlemen, so that doesn't work often. Spray-painting, however, makes the owner think "I should leash it, because I don't want puddle-wuddles to get sprayed again". And, in reality, the owner probably does care if puddle-wuddles gets sprayed again, so it might work.
posted by Bugbread at 4:28 PM on May 6, 2007


the dog is not more important than my child.

Well at least, you know, to you.
posted by Peter H at 5:13 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Peter H: Are you seriously saying there is a situation that a dog is more important than a 5 year old child, or are you being a flippant asshole? In either case, DIAF.
posted by kjs3 at 5:20 PM on May 6, 2007


Ha. kjs3 - I love dogs and I love children, but if you're calling me an asshole I might as well act the part:

3) Child owners are objectively lousy at predicting the behavior of their child and therefore shouldn't be allowed to make decisions for other people like "no matter how many children before have annoyed other people, mine won't, so I can be irresponsible." See: every time a child has annoyed a neighbor: it's never "yup, had a kid that I didn't keep on the porch", it's "he was such a sweet kid...I don't know what could have possibly happened...it's clearly not my fault".

4) Not everyone likes children. That doesn't make them a bad person.

5) Not everyone thinks having a kid in their yard is a wonderful thing.

6) It's not other peoples responsibility to look after your child. It's fine of your sister wants to take home the neighborhood stray, I'm not a bad person for not wanting to deal with another person's child I really know nothing about.
posted by Peter H at 5:36 PM on May 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


HOLY SHIT - SOMEONE'S MOM JUST TOLD ME TO DIE IN A FIRE

LOLROZLL
posted by Peter H at 5:41 PM on May 6, 2007


We had a real problem here with this woman that would just let her dogs run loose. Big dogs, cranky dogs, dogs that pooped everywhere and chased kids.

I cannot tell you how much dog poop from those dogs alone that I cleaned out of my yard. One day, I had just had enough. The dogs came by for their morning constitutional, pooped in my yard, snarled at my dog, tried to bite the ducks and chased after a kid on a bike on his way to school. I tried to go put them on a leash and one snapped at me. I called animal control. Once they had been put in the truck, I walked the animal control guy over to the woman's house.

She had to pay a sizable fine, send her dogs to obedience training, and was told that if anyone ever called animal control on the dogs again, they'd be destroyed. Dog problem solved.

I have a big dog. She's an absolute sweetie pie. I still don't leave the house with her unless she's on a leash. And if she bit someone unprovoked, I'd put her down myself.

Having a dog is a big responsibility, and people like the woman in this article do not deserve to own one.
posted by dejah420 at 5:59 PM on May 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


kjs3 Peter H: Are you seriously saying there is a situation that a dog is more important than a 5 year old child, or are you being a flippant asshole? In either case, DIAF.

In situations of equal threat, sure. A kid's right to live is more important than a dog's right to live. However, a dog's right to live is more important than a kid's, or an adult's, right not to be frightened, especially if that fear is without rational basis (ie, the dog is harmless and friendly), and if that fear could, with good parental guidance, be overcome.

The best thing you can do for your kid with regard to dogs is teach the kid how to interact with dogs properly. That is, learn to read a dog's body language to identify fear, aggression, friendliness, curiosity, distress, etc. Dogs are not subtle animals, this is not a hard task. One of the reasons we humans love dogs so much is that their emotions, and ways of expressing those emotions, really are similar to our own, largely as a result of us spending tens of thousands of years selectively breeding dogs for emotional compatibility. A dog who is dangerous to humans will, except in extremely rare cases, give plenty of clear warning of its hostile intentions, and will tend to cease hostilities against a human who breaks eye contact with it and slowly backs away. Dogs don't like to fight any more than people do; if the situation can be resolved positively--as the dog sees it--with barks and growls and staredowns, that will generally suffice.

It's unfortunate that you had a bad experience at a young age with one dog. It's possible this has given you a phobia of dogs.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:13 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


And if she bit someone unprovoked, I'd put her down myself.

Dogs simply do not do that. There is always provocation; the question is what, in the dog's mind, the provocation was. Staring at the dog, being in the dog's territory, quickly and purposefully approaching the dog or the dog's master, all of these are provocation to a dog. Proper obedience training includes temperament assessment, which helps you work out what might provoke your dog, and gives you ways to address that.

Also a dog has distinct levels of expression of its displeasure, that the people who have not been properly socialized to dogs do not understand. They may claim "Your dog bit me!" when the dog has nipped them because their unfriendly attitude to the dog was annoying or frightening it. As a dog owner, you need to be aware of your rights - what exactly constitutes a "dog attack", for instance.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:42 PM on May 6, 2007


Wouldn't it be easier to just put all the dogs down now and save the hassle? Might as well do the kids too, while we're at it.
posted by Nabubrush at 6:44 PM on May 6, 2007


Spray-painting, however, makes the owner think "I should leash it, because I don't want puddle-wuddles to get sprayed again".

Any owner who lets their dog run loose like this doesn't care about what happens to the dog (or anyone else, for that matter). Good dog owners who give a shit about their dogs manage them properly.
posted by biscotti at 6:44 PM on May 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Way to suck all the fun out of a thread about a spray-painted dog, guys.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 7:02 PM on May 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


This is what happens when Metafilter users aren't kept on a leash.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 7:16 PM on May 6, 2007


Do keep up.

Nyah-nyah-nyah to you too.

Harmless dogs aren't always harmless. Friendly dogs aren't always friendly. If you've got a foolproof way of telling the difference, tell me where to sign up.

Yes, I do. Spend time with dogs. Learn what their body language means. Learn how to project "I'm friendly" to a dog. It's foolproof - unfortunately, that's not the same as perfectly reliable.

Or rather, it's our fault for not engaging in an extensive training regime that takes into account neighbors who don't control their dogs. Because, after all, dogs and their owners shouldn't be accountable for anything.

You don't neeed an "extensive training regime", you just need to apply some common sense. You wouldn't--I hope--let your kid play on the freeway and then whinge that people suggesting you attempt to teach road sense to your child are just defending drivers who think they shouldn't be accountable for anything. There's a potential danger there, that education will mitigate, and nobody but you will do the educating. Grit your teeth, pull your socks up, and do your damn parental mitigation like you're supposed to do.

Responsible dog ownership does require proper control, restraint and education of the dogs. Responsible parenting in a society of which dogs are a major part requires education of children in how to properly deal with dogs. (And with human strangers, with the oven, and with traffic.) It doesn't matter if you "don't think you should have to" teach a child to deal with dogs. Here in society we do a lot of things we'd really rather not have to do, because of other people.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 7:17 PM on May 6, 2007


Well, this certainly turned into a mess. Add one to the list of topics verboten:

1. Fatties
2. Bikes
3. Abortion
4. Spray-painting a dog

I thought this was a pretty funny story, the dog seems relatively happy about the whole thing, so it's harmless. I hope the owner takes the hint.

Also, this:

4) Not everyone likes dogs. That doesn't make them a bad person.

is wrong. Kids, I can understand. If you spend a lot of time around kids, you quickly understand that all human beings are essentially evil when they're born. Unless someone teaches them to be nice, they stay that way. Dogs, on the other hand, are maybe half evil, and even that is the sort of unmalicious evil of chomping a baby bunny to death... still basically pretty cute.

If you don't like dogs, there is something wrong. Something in your brain.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 7:32 PM on May 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


Staring at the dog, being in the dog's territory, quickly and purposefully approaching the dog or the dog's master, all of these are provocation to a dog.

What if the dog considers your yard to be in his territory, hmm? Are you then obliged to not "provoke" him by occupying it?

As someone who has been seriously injured in a dog fight, I think you are really off-base in a lot of your assessments. Sure, it pays to know how to act around dogs to maximize the chances for harmony. But this is not always enough, and the onus is on the dog *owner*, not the other party, to make sure things go smoothly.

In my case I tried to defend a dog I was carrying while two others attacked it. I should have just let them rip him to pieces and gotten the hell out of there. Or maybe he would have been fine defending himself, who knows. Trust me, I didn't do anything to "provoke" either dog. Sometimes dogs just go nuts despite all your efforts to project friendliness.
posted by marble at 9:38 PM on May 6, 2007


LORDY what the hell is in the water at Mefi this weekend? You guys are just being so incredibly nasty to eachother! DIAF? Seriously?

I think I shall step away from the computer for the moment. 'Cuz this stuff really isn't much fun to read. YMMV, as usual.

posted by miss lynnster at 9:41 PM on May 6, 2007


Here I tried to write a somewhat lighthearted post about a spray-painted dog who couldn't read... little did I know.
posted by miss lynnster at 9:42 PM on May 6, 2007


[a few comments removed - please stop with the "you asshole" talking or take it to metatalk]
posted by jessamyn at 10:07 PM on May 6, 2007


If you don't like dogs, there is something wrong. Something in your brain.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 10:32 PM on May 6 [+] [!]


Man do I hope that's a joke. That's awfully judgemental and closed minded if it isn't.
posted by shmegegge at 10:12 PM on May 6, 2007


That's actually one of the nicer things that people were saying to eachother, shmegegge.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:14 PM on May 6, 2007


If you don't like dogs, there is something wrong. Something in your brain.

If I want something that'll follow me around constantly, cry and whine if I don't pay it enough attention, destroy everything in sight, get filthy if I turn my back and drool... well, thinking about it, I don't want anything like that. Kids, dogs, there is no good here.
posted by stavrogin at 10:20 PM on May 6, 2007


Where I live, if you let your dog wander it's subject to being shot by your neighbors.

Left unchecked, this wandering pet phenomena might well lead to outright animal anarchy. Already, over in England, where there are gun-control laws, lawless animals now feel free to use mass transit. Worryingly, this idea seems now to be spreading to Oregon, as well.

In fact, things have gotten so out-of-control that over in Mozambique dogs are adopting pets of their own !
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:24 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hi! We're evil!
posted by miss lynnster at 10:27 PM on May 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow. I didn't even see the worst comments, and I'm still going for the popcorn! Sheeze.

I can't hold it against anyone for disliking dogs, but it would be inaccurate to say act like all dogs are hell-hounds and all owners are morons. Pretty much every example of dog aggression I've heard of was the result of some kind of mistake somewhere down the line. And those high-profile dog-mauling cases? The owners usually feign ignorance to their animals' violent nature because it would not bode well for their own future if they admitted they treated their dogs worse than prisoners and subsequently had to keep them in pens for safety.

I had some bad experiences with strangers' dogs when I was a little kid, too, but I also grew up with dogs who were treated and trained lovingly. Not once has any animal I've ever had hurt me or anyone else. Even so, we kept ours fenced in and always walked them with leashes out of respect for other people.
posted by katillathehun at 10:44 PM on May 6, 2007


Argh! I'm going to have nightmares tonight. So much saliva... I can almost feel it.
posted by stavrogin at 11:38 PM on May 6, 2007


aeschenkarnos reminds me of this guy, his german shepherd, and a Morada I visited over in the old part of Taos town.

At the time, I worked for the Census Bureau. When I went out to to contact a new interview up Morada Lane, I ran smack into a mapping question at the Pueblo's fence that truncates the road.

I stopped my pickup and walked all around with my map, puzzling. I didn't need to inspect one house except to confirm with someone that I was at the correct location.

It was the other property that might have been the interview location; except, I thought I should be on the other side of the fence, where the blank space is.

The folks I talked to at both sides of the 'end' of Morada Lane were swell and they really helped me.

To get the other side of the story, I toured the bottom of Spider Road with our supervisor and the mapper, and we found that I was correct.

We followed a route from the Pueblo to this morada (which really wasn't my concern) and found that my target was likely to have been a parking lot for horse-drawn wagons and such back in the day.

Morada Lane may have intersected with Spider Road at a parking lot where folks from both the tribe and town could walk to the morada.

So, having finished the official business, the mapper and I were captivated by the morada. We did a bit of research on our own time and found that it was then a repository for Taos relics and records.

We also found that the Penitentes had a long history with this particular morada, accessible via a triple crossroad: from the Pueblo by Spider road, from town by Morada Lane, and, for the Penitentes, via Penitente Lane off Las Cruces Road.

Since then, the morada has been rededicated and returned to its original purposes; but, when we first went to see it, it was a repository.

We parked and started to walk across the bridge at the end of Penitente Lane. As we walked, this guy and his german shepherd came out of some houses more than 30 feet away and the dog took one look and charged me.

I stood still and raised my right arm to target the dog. I jerked back just as the dog hit and it got mostly a mouthful of my jacket. It just pinched my arm a bit; but, someone else might have had a serious bite.

So...this guy...who ran after his dog screaming something like "Stop, Fido, Stop!" while it hit on me...well, he comes up to me after the attack and starts asking me if I get along with dogs? ...if I have trouble with animals?

No, I said, I have a problem with you. You cannot control your dog.

He seemed boggled by the idea.

We went on and visited the morada and walked the way of the cross. The stations of the cross weren't refreshed at the time. Everything there has been recently rejuvenated.
posted by taosbat at 11:57 PM on May 6, 2007


For some reason many male dogs find me sexually attractive [and I am a guy]. Now, while their amorous intentions are somewhat humorous, I really don't appreciate it when a dog tries to anally assault me. I've never had a dog attack me in a angry sort of way, and I doubt I ever will, however, the "playing" of some of these frisky dogs can get a little aggressive and unpleasant. I don't seek out attention from dogs, beyond recognizing thier existence with a friendly scratch.

With that in mind the "Oh he's just being friendly" and "He would *never* attack anyone" lines don't mean fuck all me when said dog is ignoring the owner's repeated commands of "No", "Get down", and "Stop". Please leash your dog, your dog isn't human -nor is your dog under your control at all times [one would never have to say "No" if that were truly the case, eh?] and I really don't enjoy pushing your "friend" away from me every few seconds.
posted by ill13 at 12:16 AM on May 7, 2007


taosbat I stood still and raised my right arm to target the dog. I jerked back just as the dog hit and it got mostly a mouthful of my jacket. It just pinched my arm a bit; but, someone else might have had a serious bite.

I think you reacted appropriately, there. Notably, you didn't scream, burst into tears, run, wet your pants, kneel down and screech "GOOD DOGGY!" in the dog's face, or any of the other random idiotic things that people uneducated in the ways of dogs might do. I must admit to being boggled, and more than a little insulted, as to why I would "remind you of that guy". I think you've got hold of the wrong stick, pal. Let go mine.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 2:54 AM on May 7, 2007


marble What if the dog considers your yard to be in his territory, hmm? Are you then obliged to not "provoke" him by occupying it?

A dog who thinks that your yard is his territory is not going to be dissuaded with a lecture. A dog has to be interacted with as though it is a dog. If it seems to you that he is acting aggressively, there are a bunch of ways to deal with that, depending on the size and the level of aggression of the dog. My point with regard to provocation isn't that you're obliged to not provoke the dog; it is that you shoiuld realize that you have provoked the dog, and need to work out how, in order to properly deal with it. The dog isn't going to entertain discussion on whether it ought to have been provoked.

As someone who has been seriously injured in a dog fight, I think you are really off-base in a lot of your assessments. Sure, it pays to know how to act around dogs to maximize the chances for harmony. But this is not always enough, and the onus is on the dog *owner*, not the other party, to make sure things go smoothly.

Even the most damned fool of a dog-hater wouldn't try to claim that he has the right to, for example, run up to a dog and kick it, and suffer no consequences, merely because he is a human and it a dog. So there are some expectations of reasonable conduct, and therefore some onus resting on you, to deal sensibly with a dog. And if the owner's not around, you can't expect them to discharge their onus, so what then do you do? I suggest: maximize your chances for harmony.

Nothing is going to be always enough, and I certainly agree with you that a responsible owner must control, care for, and train his dog, as much as is possible. If a dog owner goes to work for the day, and a boy opens the front gate of the dog's yard and lets the dog out, the dog owner is somewhat responsible for the dog's subsequent actions, but much less so than if the owner was present. A person has a right to own a dog, and a right to have a yard, and a right to go to work without having to watch that dog 24/7. Their concomitant responsibilities are to keep the dog confined in a yard, and to train the dog to an extent where, unsupervised, it is unlikely to attack another living creature except in self-defense. That's the best one can do.

There are dogs around. You can't assume that they are all harmless, and that their owners can and will control them at all times. Faced with these facts, a person ought to learn how to deal with dogs, so as to maximise their chances for harmony. That is the best they can reasonably do.

Pet ownership is not something that a small minority foolishly do and the rest of you grudgingly permit "so long as it behaves itself"; it's a right that is a step above property ownership per se, and a step below having children, even as the pet itself has a status a step above property and a step below a child.

As for the philosophical status of an inability to get along with animals: its is probably not evidence of being "evil", but it is undesirable and unhealthy.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:17 AM on May 7, 2007


Good heavens, people! Bob Barker tells us to SPAY our animals. Listen more closely, will you?
posted by Spatch at 5:25 AM on May 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


biscotti writes "Any owner who lets their dog run loose like this doesn't care about what happens to the dog (or anyone else, for that matter). Good dog owners who give a shit about their dogs manage them properly."

Really? I think you're conflating "people who care about their dogs" and "people who are responsible with their dogs". Take, for example, your average white-trash mom who lets their kid play unsupervised in a high traffic area. You might say "a parent who cares about their kid wouldn't let their kid do that", but I bet you if the kid got hit by a car and killed, the parent would be heartbroken. She cares about the kid, she's just incredibly irresponsible. Being irresponsible or lazy and allowing one's pet or kid to be in potential danger doesn't mean that you don't care, it just means you are irresponsible or lazy.
posted by Bugbread at 5:26 AM on May 7, 2007


To paraphrase (to the best of my ability), some people are saying that you may have provoked the dog unknowingly, either because of a lack of understanding of dogs OR (and this is my addition) a misreading of cues on the dog's part. Whether or not your actions SHOULD have provoked the dog is no longer the point, and you now have to deal with the fallout. Having said that, there are some dogs that have their wires crossed and you didn't actually provoke them in any way; this is why dog owners are supposed to keep their animals under control.

Example: we rescued a 5 month old beagle/Jack Russell terrier mix. I have no idea what his situation was prior to entering the shelter, but some of his behavior suggests he was a stray for much of that time and had to scramble for food. He was poorly socialized with other dogs and mildly food aggressive. He wanted to go see other dogs, but he presented to them as aggressive. So, did I let him run up and play with other dogs, and tell those dogs' owners that "oh, he's really friendly, he just gets excited" or some other tripe? No. Because he had already presented to that dog as aggressive, and it was going to react accordingly. Even if he could say so, it would be no use for my dog to protest "but I didn't mean it that way!" Too late. The same is true of people, which is why responsible dog owners restrain their dogs in situations where a person has reacted inappropriately or with little understanding of dogs.

It's all very well and good to say "but this is just their nature and you can't change it so you have to learn how to deal with it" and blah blah blah, but the fact of the matter is, if your dog bites someone, it doesn't much matter if he was "provoked." It's YOUR job to keep your dog out of that situation, and the best way to do that is through training and physical control. Letting your dog run around the neighborhood puts both your neighborhood and your dog at risk; why would you do that? It's easier to keep your dog leashed/fenced than it is to teach everyone around you the "proper" way to interact with dogs so as to avoid problems.
posted by jennaratrix at 11:11 AM on May 7, 2007


jennaratrix writes "Having said that, there are some dogs that have their wires crossed and you didn't actually provoke them in any way; this is why dog owners are supposed to keep their animals under control."

Example: When I was a kid, there was a dog who would chase you and growl if you walked down the street in front of the owner's house, or if you rode your bike down the street. Not on their lawn, not on the sidewalk, but the street itself. Whether you rode slow or fast, made eye contact or didn't make eye contact. It bit my leg one time, when all I was doing was trying to ride my bicycle from one end of the street to the other. If we count this as "provoking" the dog, then, yes, dog attacks are all due to provocation, where provocation is defined as "potentially anything, such as existing".
posted by Bugbread at 11:30 AM on May 7, 2007


LOLZ aeschenkarnos
posted by taosbat at 11:49 AM on May 7, 2007


Bugbreads dog story reminds me of the german shepard that used to terrorize me walking to school. I had a choice, walk across a busy street twice or risk that this snarling mutt who thought he owned everthing and was owned by idiots would make a try for me.
Thirty years later I still hate that mutt.
I also make a point of marking my territory on a regular basis.
That way if a dog is on my land he has already had his first warning.
posted by Iron Rat at 1:16 PM on May 7, 2007


Where I live, puppies FLYYYY!!!!

No, seriously. Where I live, neighborhood kids taunt dogs from the street and try to get them agitated. I would like to spray paint those kids.
posted by miss lynnster at 1:59 PM on May 7, 2007


In Soviet Union, dog spraypaints you!
posted by kcds at 2:34 PM on May 7, 2007


Where I live, neighborhood kids taunt dogs from the street and try to get them agitated. I would like to spray paint those kids.

Sometimes it takes a village to march some misbehaving kids to their parents' doors but it's a good thing when a villager does it, nicht wahr?
posted by taosbat at 3:24 PM on May 7, 2007


When I was a kid we had a doberman pincher that was a racist. I am not kidding. My dad kept the dog at his studio in Old Town in Chicago. The studio had a floor to ceiling window storefront and was two blocks from a school. This school was predominantly African American and the dog was routinely teased by the kids through the window on their way to and from school. The dog was pretty well disciplined, my dad was into training, and never was walked off leash. But, one day when my dad was carrying something into the place through the door, the dog slipped out the door and took off down the street. When my dad finally caught up with him, he had cornered a couple of guys in an alley. They were both African American but one was light skinned and one was dark. The dog would look at the darker guy and growl but wag is stumpy little doberman tail at the other. My folks didn't know many African American people, so the dogs only interaction was with my 2nd generation blondy Swedish family. It was a real wake up call for my dad. Even though he was keeping the dog there for protection, he realized he better protect the kids from the dog in case he escaped again. These kids had inadvertantly conditioned the dog to skin color, or at least that's what we surmized. We had to recondition the dog and change the set up of the store front so the dog was not easily taunted.

I think people just assume their dogs will behave the way you think they will, just from their own interactions without having a clue how the dog will be outside that comfort zone. We would never have realized what a bad situation we had set up had the dog not escaped that day.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 3:40 PM on May 7, 2007


Funny you say that. On the flip side, my dog LOVES LOVES LOVES the mexican lady who helps me clean my house sometimes. Just goes bananas with excitement before she even walks up the stairs. So now whenever she sees slightly heavyset mexican women she instantly has this hit of possible recognition and desperately wants to lick them to death. Freaks some of them out.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:21 PM on May 7, 2007


My dog Princess (no, I did not name this dog [who now has some sort of liver dysfunction from all of the prednazone we had to put her on, and some chronic arthritis, and she's going blind and deaf... anyway]) has a barely restrained hatred of anyone with a mullet. This is a true fact.

We got her from an animal shelter, and she was abused nearly to death... beatings, tied up all the time, no food, worms, etc. Eventually she integrated back into society again, but she will brook no mullet in her home.

I'm going to take a wild guess and say that the hick who made her previous life miserable sported one. Another reason to hate mullets!
posted by synaesthetichaze at 6:16 PM on May 7, 2007


A dog after my own heart. :)
posted by miss lynnster at 6:37 PM on May 7, 2007


taosbat LOLZ aeschenkarnos

LOLZ taosbat

Wow. So that's how it feels to have a literacy age of twelve. You poor bastard.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 6:55 PM on May 7, 2007


Metafilter is so happy these days. I remember when we had civil conversations about things.

But we are all full of hate now. I think it is pretty representative of how things are going in the world these days. I am full of hate too, you know. I hate dogs. Which is funny, because I am having a wonderful month. But I still pretty much hate dogs.

Have a nice day!
posted by blacklite at 7:42 PM on May 7, 2007


...bastard? You know it ain't so, sugar.

1.

...a dog's right to live is more important than a kid's, or an adult's, right not to be frightened...

That is nonsense. Dogs, and other livestock (whether pets or working animals), are put down in every culture every day for simply not being well enough socialized to people.

Dogs don't like to fight any more than people do; if the situation can be resolved positively--as the dog sees it--with barks and growls and staredowns, that will generally suffice.

Is any child's daily trip to and from school or wherever, as testified in-thread, really enhanced by the whole Timothy Treadwell trip?

It's unfortunate that you had a bad experience at a young age with one dog. It's possible this has given you a phobia of dogs.

Somebody call for a doctor, I think [you're] sick?

2.

Where I 1st touched on this:

And if she bit someone unprovoked, I'd put her down myself.

Dogs simply do not do that. There is always provocation; the question is what, in the dog's mind, the provocation was.


Who cares about mind-reading the local dogs? That's just nuts. They're either well-behaved or whatever remedy prevails in your locale needs to be applied.

3.

You don't neeed an "extensive training regime", you just need to apply some common sense. You wouldn't--I hope--let your kid play on the freeway and then whinge that people suggesting you attempt to teach road sense to your child are just defending drivers who think they shouldn't be accountable for anything. There's a potential danger there, that education will mitigate, and nobody but you will do the educating. Grit your teeth, pull your socks up, and do your damn parental mitigation like you're supposed to do.

Kind of an incoherent Strawman, don't you think?

4.

As for the philosophical status of an inability to get along with animals: its is probably not evidence of being "evil", but it is undesirable and unhealthy.

Uhhhh...don't call your counselor for me, please...I got troubles of my own.
posted by taosbat at 8:22 PM on May 7, 2007


...bastard? You know it ain't so, sugar.

You seem to have an extremely vehement and snide manner, a lack of interest in or ability to express clear points backed up by example and logic, a tendency to elaborate irrelevancies in paragraphs of one sentence each, and a very bad habit of asserting "I disagree! So there! You suck!" as proof against something. See the thread above for examples.

You're trying to paint me as a PETA-freak or something. I'm not - I feel like a chardonnay socialist might if bailed up by some frothing nut who demands he stop justifying the actions of Stalin. But if you want to take issue in such a jackass manner with my personality and beliefs, I'd prefer you did so with my actual personality and beliefs. I'm a meat-and-vegetable eater, a "cat person" and a "dog person", but more a dog person. I've spent upwards of two hundred days working in animal shelters (which has included assisting with euthanasia). I've had to restrain angry dogs up to German Shepherd size, comfort and settle down terrified and distressed dogs, feed a dozen dogs at once and make sure everyone gets fed, break up dog fights, help assess dogs' temperaments, exercise four at once on leads, etc. I've never been bitten. Nipped, growled at, told not to come near, but never actually bitten. Regarding interactions with dogs, I know what I'm talking about.

No, I'm not "lucky to get away with it". I just got good instruction from older relatives and dog trainers and my own dogs I had as a boy, put it into practice, and as a result, I know how to deal with dogs. The fact that other people don't bemuses and frankly irritates me. It's not difficult. It will improve your life. It's like having a phobia of going indoors or something and having to sleep out in the rain. My sympathies for your condition, and I'll keep my dog away from you, but still ... it's weird.

I consider the rights, one-for-one, of humans to exceed those of animals, but I rank the greater rights of animals--such as survival--to exceed the lesser rights of humans--such as pursuit of pleasure. I believe strongly in responsible dog ownership, and in responsible education of children about how to interact safely with dogs, and how to be a responsible dog owner. I believe that a given dog can become aggressive in a given situation, but this does not make that dog a bad dog, and emphatically not worthy of death; she simply needs an owner who can get her to behave better, or will keep her away from that situation.

I don't know what the fuck it is about that that would make a reasonable person annoyed enough to call me out about it three times. You don't seem reasonable. I'll still debate you, for the sake of others who might be tempted to think you had some points there. I don't have to go home for another fifteen minutes.

...a dog's right to live is more important than a kid's, or an adult's, right not to be frightened...

That is nonsense. Dogs, and other livestock (whether pets or working animals), are put down in every culture every day for simply not being well enough socialized to people.


Firstly, conflating the treatment of pets and livestock is simply wrong. There is a distinct difference in how "every culture every day" will treat pets and treat food-consumption livestock per se. If you raised it to eat and were going to kill it in a few weeks to eat, you will naturally enough value its life less than if you had kept it as a companion for the last six years or so and planned to keep it as a companion for the next six years or so.

Secondly, the physical size of the animals in question, hence the degree of danger their anger might pose, goes more than anything else towards determining their treatment, which is why a mildly aggressive bull might be killed and a quite nasty-tempered cat or chihuahua or hen can be considered merely amusing. This is why rottweilers get given much less behavioural slack than chihuahuas.

Thirdly, the actual danger an animal poses to people is what ought to determine what ought to be done about it, not the perceived danger. We don't judge the scariness of something by the degree of fear it instills in the most fearful person affected. We judge it by its capacity to do harm. Some immature and sociopathic jackass might want a dog killed because it barked at him (I'm tempted to think of you as such a jackass - are you?). Fortunately, the majority of councils won't just take his word for it.

Is any child's daily trip to and from school or wherever, as testified in-thread, really enhanced by the whole Timothy Treadwell trip?

You compare your school trip to provoking, pestering, and eventually being eaten by bears? What?

It's unfortunate that you had a bad experience at a young age with one dog. It's possible this has given you a phobia of dogs.

Somebody call for a doctor, I think [you're] sick?


Square brackets are used in partial quotations to add words not present in the original text, that restore the sense and meaning of the quotation. Question marks are used to indicate questions as distinct from statements. You may wish to review this linguistic lesson, and in light of it, restate. If you had a point, that you can remember.

Who cares about mind-reading the local dogs? That's just nuts. They're either well-behaved or whatever remedy prevails in your locale needs to be applied.

Riiiight. Now we are getting somewhere. You lack empathy. It's actually an effort for you, an effort you could not be bothered spending on a mere dog, who has nothing you want. That's ... unfortunate.

While I still think your actions with regard to defending yourself from the dog attack you described were correct - brace, catch the bite on a thick jacket - I've revised my opinion in light of the above. My guess is now that the dog in question probably never had gone for anyone else in his life before, which explains his owner's astonishment. Probably just never seen a hollow man before ... you never did answer the guy's question, did you? Do you get along with animals? Do you have a problem with dogs? I bet you do.

Kind of an incoherent Strawman, don't you think?

A straw man is a logical fallacy where debater A claims that debater B has made assertion X, which in fact debater B has not made, then debates X. What I'm using is an analogy. He did not say he'd let his kid play on the freeway. He said, or as much as said, he'd let his kid go through life ignorant of how to deal with dogs, and leave it up to dog owners' collective senses of responsibility--less than I would like, on the average--to determine the outcome of that parenting policy. I made an analogy to the more dangerous, but also preventable, harm from traffic that may be mitigated (that means reduced, not eliminated) by education. A potential harm to your child (and benefit, from positive interaction with dogs) exists. Why the hell not teach the child about it?

Uhhhh...don't call your counselor for me, please...I got troubles of my own.

Since we're going to be playing at rhetorical analysis, that's a non-sequitor. One who has troubles of their own ought to see a counselor of their own. And yes, taosbat, you sure do have troubles.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 1:14 AM on May 8, 2007


Shhhhhhhh! Puppies sleeping!
posted by miss lynnster at 1:16 AM on May 8, 2007


aeschenkarnos writes "I just got good instruction from older relatives and dog trainers and my own dogs I had as a boy, put it into practice, and as a result, I know how to deal with dogs. The fact that other people don't bemuses and frankly irritates me. It's not difficult."

Er...two questions: if it's not difficult, then why did you need good instruction from older relatives, dog trainers, and personal experience? And why does it bemuse and irritate you that other people didn't all have dogs as kids, followed by good instruction from older relatives and dog trainers?

It seems akin to saying "English is easy. I just learned it from my parents teaching me vocabulary, and personal experience growing up in America. As a result, I'm fluent in English. The fact that Japanese people aren't bemuses and frankly irritates me."
posted by Bugbread at 6:19 AM on May 8, 2007


LOLZ aeschenkarnos!
posted by taosbat at 10:09 AM on May 8, 2007


There are dogs around. You can't assume that they are all harmless, and that their owners can and will control them at all times.

We must assume that there are owners too stupid or careless or unlucky to keep their animals under control. But we should also be able to assume that all dogs in the neighborhood are relatively harmless. That is, no one should be allowed to keep a dog that is big and dangerous enough to pose a serious threat to people if it got loose. If you need an alarm, get an alarm, not a crocodile or a rattlesnake or a panther or a rhino or a large, dangerous dog.
posted by pracowity at 4:45 AM on May 9, 2007


My personal impression of Wiley from the photos is that he's probably very far from dangerous or aggressive. More like someone just thought he was a pain in the ass.
posted by miss lynnster at 6:51 AM on May 9, 2007


See: ever time a pit bull has killed a child: it's never "yup, had a dangerous dog that I didn't keep on the porch", it's "he was such a sweet dog...I don't know what could have possibly happened...it's clearly not my fault".

While there were good points here about people losing sight of natural dog behaviors, thinking of their pets as furry humans instead of predators, failing to properly keep their pets restrained, etc., as a responsible pit bull owner I can't just let the casual use of the "killer pit bull" stereotype slide. That's playing into the current media killer-breed hype -- those of us who are old enough may remember rottweilers were the folk demons for a bit before the ascendance of pits, before that it was the Doberman Pinscher, and before that it was the "police dog" German Shepherd. Targeting a single breed as somehow being intrinsically more dangerous than any other dog is deeply unhelpful, as it ignores the elements that are more reliably linked to attacks than breed ID and leaves the public with a false sense of security.

Karen Delise's book Fatal Dog Attacks takes a close look at the CDC fatal dog attack statistics and notes the following critical factors associated with severe canine aggression towards humans:

1. Function of the dog - (Includes: dogs acquired for fighting, guarding/protection or image enhancement)

2. Owner responsibility - (Includes: dogs allowed to roam loose, chained dogs, dogs and/or children left unsupervised, dogs permitted or encouraged to behave aggressively, animal neglect and/or abuse)

3. Reproductive status of dog - (Includes: unaltered males dogs, bitches with puppies, children coming between male dog and female dog in estrus)


Look over the stats for both fatal and non-fatal dog bites yourself and you'll see that the breeds reported fluctuate widely from year to year: the pit bulls and rottweilers that are more heavily represented in recent years are just a blip in earlier years. And if you lump together breeds of similar appearance and function (much as the "pit bull" category may included Staffordshire Bull Terriers, American Staffordshire Terriers, American Pit Bull Terriers, or various non-pedigree dogs of general bully type), you'll see that sledding breeds (Alaskan Malamute, Siberian Husky, and generic crossbred "husky" types) are also pretty regularly represented on the fatal and non-fatal-but-severe bite statistics...yet while insurance companies that restrict coverage by breed are well aware of this, there just isn't the sort of media outcry about "killer huskies" that is currently seen around "vicious pit bulls".

I suspect this may be partly because there's already a popular media stereotype associated with sledding breeds -- they're the cute and cuddly heroes of children's movies like "Balto" or "Eight Below" or "Snow Dogs". Bull breeds, on the other hand, for all their past history as popular family pets, are now often associated with dogfighters, gangsters, and drug dealers, rather than friendlier, wholesome images like Pete the Pup. And this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts, as the sort of irresponsible owners who want to build up their image with a "dangerous" dog will then turn to the breed that is currently extolled as the fearsome thug breed of the day.

Malcolm Gladwell's excellent New Yorker article "Troublemakers" addresses these issues in depth:

Between the late nineteen-seventies and the late nineteen-nineties, more than twenty-five breeds were involved in fatal attacks in the United States. Pit-bull breeds led the pack, but the variability from year to year is considerable. For instance, in the period from 1981 to 1982 fatalities were caused by five pit bulls, three mixed breeds, two St. Bernards, two German-shepherd mixes, a pure-bred German shepherd, a husky type, a Doberman, a Chow Chow, a Great Dane, a wolf-dog hybrid, a husky mix, and a pit-bull mix—but no Rottweilers. In 1995 and 1996, the list included ten Rottweilers, four pit bulls, two German shepherds, two huskies, two Chow Chows, two wolf-dog hybrids, two shepherd mixes, a Rottweiler mix, a mixed breed, a Chow Chow mix, and a Great Dane. The kinds of dogs that kill people change over time, because the popularity of certain breeds changes over time. The one thing that doesn’t change is the total number of the people killed by dogs. When we have more problems with pit bulls, it’s not necessarily a sign that pit bulls are more dangerous than other dogs. It could just be a sign that pit bulls have become more numerous.

“I’ve seen virtually every breed involved in fatalities, including Pomeranians and everything else, except a beagle or a basset hound,” Randall Lockwood, a senior vice-president of the A.S.P.C.A. and one of the country’s leading dogbite experts, told me. “And there’s always one or two deaths attributable to malamutes or huskies, although you never hear people clamoring for a ban on those breeds. When I first started looking at fatal dog attacks, they largely involved dogs like German shepherds and shepherd mixes and St. Bernards—which is probably why Stephen King chose to make Cujo a St. Bernard, not a pit bull. I haven’t seen a fatality involving a Doberman for decades, whereas in the nineteen-seventies they were quite common. If you wanted a mean dog, back then, you got a Doberman. I don’t think I even saw my first pit-bull case until the middle to late nineteen-eighties, and I didn’t start seeing Rottweilers until I’d already looked at a few hundred fatal dog attacks. Now those dogs make up the preponderance of fatalities. The point is that it changes over time. It’s a reflection of what the dog of choice is among people who want to own an aggressive dog.”


Breed bans simply don't work, as the problem ultimately is with the owners' training, management, and restraint of a dog, and irresponsible, negligent owners will not magically become model citizens if you take away their first choice of breed: they'll simply move on to a new and improved model, and the problem repeats itself. Here in the DC area, for instance, an existing ban on pit bull breeds in Prince George's County, MD and repeated proposals for similar bans in DC have led to a growing number of dog-bite cases and animal cruelty/neglect investigations involving rare mastiff breeds like the Presa Canario or Cane Corso, breeds that the local humane investigators almost never saw in the years before the ban. Meanwhile, thousands of innocent dogs have died, yet the public was no safer for all the money and effort wasted on the breed ban.

Breed-specific legislation is nothing but a cheerful smiley-face bandaid plastered over a sucking chest wound. It lets people congratulate themselves on "doing something", but the action taken does nothing helpful to address the real underlying problem.
posted by Smilla's Sense of Snark at 1:10 PM on May 9, 2007


if you take away their first choice of breed: they'll simply move on to a new and improved model

Unless you instead state which breeds are legal, ban all other breeds, and require owners to apply for a special license if they want to get something else.

The problem is not with a specific breed but with specific size and weight and strength thresholds. You are generally not allowed to keep any other comparably dangerous animal in a city, no matter how safe the particular instance appears to be. ("Oh, but my panther Buster wouldn't harm a fly! He's so sweet!") Ban breeds that frequently exceed dangerous thresholds, and ban any instance of any breed that exceeds those thresholds (to keep people from developing giant killer dachshunds).

If it can kill people and if instances of the breed have been known to kill people, it doesn't belong out in public. Forcing people to stop strolling down city sidewalks with animals that are physically capable of pulling down and killing an adult human being would not be unreasonable.
posted by pracowity at 1:35 PM on May 12, 2007


Belle O'Cosity, my aunt "had a doberman pincher [Amy] that was a racist," too. She truly was a sweetheart; but, she totally distrusted anyone who resembled the mailman (black, &/or wearing a cap). All that dude did was deliver the mail; but, she knew she could repel him, or any such, with a terrible stare out the window.

Call The Doctor (J.J. Cale)
posted by taosbat at 10:45 PM on May 12, 2007


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