Monday, September 20, 2010

Hellhound on My Trail

You know how every neighborhood has one of "those" families? The ones who, whether out of some misguided sense of rebellion or just out-and-out ignorance, simply refuse to adhere to even the most basic tenets of human co-habitation?

In the city or the suburbs, this usually means keeping one's lawn mowed, kids in check, and recreating noise at a reasonable level. Out here in the country, it also means not making one's property a graveyard for accumulated trash and rusted car parts and regularly mucking out stalls and barns so as not to raise a literal stink or an invasion of Humvee-sized houseflies.

It also means, if you've got a dog whose demeanor makes Mike Tyson look like Deepak Chopra, you make sure that dog remains safely behind a sturdy, secure fence.

Not that I am necessarily bothered by dogs who roam. To me, a well-behaved country dog that doesn't get to stretch his or her legs on occasion by having a bit of a walkabout through its neighborhood, well, that to me just runs counter to what a dog essentially is. There are several dogs in my neighborhood who do this, one of whom is a beautiful, amiable Alaskan Malamute by the name of Axl Rose who about once a month I encounter on one of my early morning runs up in the hills. Everyone knows and loves Axl, knows where he lives, knows his owner has tried everything except chaining and a concrete bunker to keep Axl's boundless zest and curiosity for life contained on his property. But, since Axl means no creature large or small of any species any harm, no one cares about his occasional off-the-reservation forays.

But if the dog is not well-behaved, if the dog is not friendly, if the dog, in fact, poses a threat to both animals and people, then its owner has a responsibility to keep it locked up on its property and exercised in ways that do not require off property frolics.

Like the two dumb ass coon hounds that my neighbor down the road simply refuses to either train or contain. Every time S.B. and I go running by there, one or both of these useless mutts scales their fence and come charging up to us, not to say howdy, but to broadcast nothing but bad intent: eyes pinched with menace, lips raised and spittle-coated, hackles stiff as Mohawks along their backsides.

At first, a simple shout and clap of hands would keep them at bay. But each encounter only firmed their resolve and now they'll follow us beyond the boundaries of their property, low slung and snarling at our heels. Other neighbors report similar trouble, but if anyone's attempted to contact the owners or animal control, you wouldn't know it. I've hesitated to call myself, knowing that in this, as in all cases of dogs-gone-wrong, the dog bears the brunt of the punishment, not the ignorant-ass owner. And while these dogs piss me off and scare me, I don't want to see them suffer for what their humans have allowed them to do.

I have a run planned for early tomorrow morning that will take me right by their property. I'll be bringing a note with me outlining the problem that I'll stick on their gate, provided the dogs don't make it impossible. And if that doesn't work, I'll do it when I head out again. And if that doesn't do it, well there's always S.B.'s solution, involving firepower and a Korean restaurant . . .


I think.


coon hunter said...

coon hounds are dumber than a bag of hammers. youre right about the country, my dogs leave the property. which is why when trout cut her foot twice on broken glass in my neighbors illegal dumpsite which happens to be just on the edge of property line (natch) i said nithing. people asked: "are you going to complain to your neighbors about the glass and tell them about trout?"

and say what? "i cant keep my dog off your property so would you kindly stop auditioning for the trash of the year award?"


i say carry a bottle of pepper spray or that fooey stuff thats like super bitter apple. maybe a good shot of that will do the trick. of course i am a big fan of using fireworks as behavior mod tools (works great on hawks). a well timed firecracker might do the trick.

Big Shamu said...

I'm with CH (HOWWWLLLLLLLLLLLL) either pepper spray like the mailmen carry or an air horn in their face.

moi said...

coon hunter: Right. Which is why New Mexico has a Fence Out rule. You don't want something on or off your property? Fence it.

Shamu: Yeah, in this case, only negative reinforcement on my part is going to work. Which means yet another nifty purpose for my fifty gazillion pounds of red chile powder.

Karl said...

Good afternoon Moi,

I would go with pepper spray. Then that warning note to the owner. If that doesn't work follow SB's lead.

Remember one quick nip in the wrong spot, can really mess up a running schedule.

Heff said...


Kymical Reactions said...

1. that scary thing is going to give me nightmares. ack.

2. I just prefer to avoid neighbors at all costs. That way I don't have to deal with unruly pieces of work. But mine seem nice enough, but I don't want to take any chances. :)

Aunty Belle said...

Tsk tsk, whar's yore tolerance, Moi? Ain't'cha got no heart fer them sorry lame fanny neighbors, uh, I mean, social skills challenged folks? Why, mebbe all ya need to do is write 'em a big ole bail out check so they can take their mutts to obedience skool. I is SHOCKED to learn how ya is so hard hearted toward these unfortunate neighbors--youse jes' a hater, admit it.

Pam said...

What about a dog whistle? I see those advertised from time to time for people who jog ... otherwise, I'm with Heff. Hammy was a country dog like you describe -- everyone in the neighborhood knew him and loved him. And I miss his hammy face:(

moi said...

Karl: Yeouch!

Heff: I dunno, dude. That's a little too Joe Pesci Pot Committed for me.

Kym: Hear ya. "Why cain't we all git along?" 'Cause most people are stupid.

Aunty: Gulp. I'm a canine-ist!

Pam: Aw, what finally happened to Hammy? At any rate, I ran by this morning and no dogs. But I forgot to take my note with me. D'oh!

Jenny said...

I'm in city, so I can't even take Coco to the local soccer field and let her chase the ball without getting a ticket. There are "off leash" parks in Seattle, but they are full of germs and dogs that if provoked could pick up Coco and shake her like a chew toy. If a dog is seen "roaming"? Any control is usually there in a matter of hours. Bad dogs scare the scnhizz out of me. Heff's commment made me spit my coffee out and I'm on the side that suggests pepper spray. With all of the running you do, I think it's a good thing to have for all potential varmits.

moi said...

Boxer: Don't even get me started on "dog parks." So it's good that you don't take Coco there. But I really wish city gooberments would lighten up about leash laws so that dogs could enjoy life more. When I was in Miami, I never saw a single dog on leash, but I did see them walking politely next to their owners. Dogs aren't stupid. They're a sociable breed, bred for centuries to work alongside humans. There's no reason why we can't teach them again how to behave within the parameters of human existence. The choke hold we have over their lives is just silly.

LaDivaCucina said...

Hi Moi!

I love dogs. I hate IRRESPONSIBLE AND LAZY dog owners. My girlfriend in Sydney is one of them (NOT my girlfriend Fifi) I was with her and her dogs by a running path by the sea, her dogs were off the leash and they growled and snarled at everyone that went by, including the lady with the pram (which would frighten me if I had a baby.) I wanted to die. The little one even had the nerve to yap at the heels of a runner. I told her she needs to reign her dogs in, put them on leases and train them. She just laughed and thought it was cute. I said, honey, if I was running and that dog was snapping at me, there is a 100% chance I would kick it. And I would. And that would kill me. And who's fault would that be? The owner.

There is a huge problem on Miami Beach and around our building with people that don't pick up their filthy dog shit. So it runs into the drains and you know where that leads. And, one can't even have a picnic on the lawns of the public parks. Because they are full of dog shit. yippee! Also, there have been incidents of people being so lazy as to let their dogs pee in the hallways or our building!!!! Like we live in the ghetto! And then there was the idiot sitting outside of Whole Foods that had his "cute little dog" SITTING ON THE TABLE. I was aghast and made sure he saw my glare. These irresponsible owners make it hard for the dogs and for people like me to sympathize.

And as for your last comment about dogs not being stupid...depends on the breed. It was only in the last century that dogs were kept just for companionship instead of as a worker contributing to the family in some way. And you can't take certain instincts out of the breed, so it can be disastrous if dogs that were bred for particular duties are now expected to be "house" dogs. Like herding dogs that herd children into the corner and wont' let them move.

I get upset when I see dogs that SHOULD NOT BE HERE or living in an apartment. Like the huge dog down the hall in 850 SF. Or the Alaskan Malamutes or Huskies....Here in Florida! Or even bulldogs, it's too hot here for them and I think it's cruel and selfish for people to even own them in this climate.

I just saw a docco on certain breeds now bred so that their body is just ridiculous and leads to all sorts of health problems. It's because of OUR selfish desires that create these problems with dogs, not the dogs themselves.

The laws are in place because so many dog owners here are too lazy to train them or pick up after them, which is sad.

I say do the pepper spray too. AND call the authorities. Because most dog attacks in the U.S. are on women and children and imagine what if those dogs got a kid?

What's wrong with the dog parks? (by the say, Moi, that sure is one frightening pic you found!!!)

LaDivaCucina said...

(sorry about the essay!)

moi said...

La Diva: You make excellent points, the best one being about dogs once bred for certain types of jobs now being assimilated as companion-type pets. I see that all the time, apartment dwellers who want Border Collies, etc. In fact, many Border Collie breeders will NOT sell to companion-only homes, but only to those potential owners who intend to work their dogs.

In our zeal to breed only for looks and not function and temperament, we're breeding highly unstable dogs. Unless a dog is bred SPECIFICALLY for guard work, there is no reason why it should react in a negative manner towards a human. None at all. Owners with dogs who react this way need to call a canine behaviorist and see if the behavior can be changed. Failing that, they need to either restrain the dog while in public or euthanize.

As for your friend . . . because she seems unwilling to do either of those things, she's a lawsuit waiting to happen.

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