By Dan Pool, Editor
Let me begin by saying I am a dog liker. But, I am not a dog lover. No cell phone full of photos of my dogs, nor do my dogs sit on the couch. I have no real fear of dogs either, no past trauma from man’s best friend.
Here is what happened in August in Fannin County. I am out walking around a gravel road near some vacation cabins. I am coming down a steep section and see this small teenage kid with two large dogs on leashes. I would say they were either American bulldogs or pit-bulls.
They were good-looking dogs; he was a nice-looking kid, so I keep walking.
The dogs see me and start coming towards me with the kid water skiing behind them. He is doing his best to stop the dogs but they are pulling him along like a little wagon.
Oh, crap, I think.
He begins yelling, “They don’t bite,” “They won’t attack,” “They are friendly.”
I am then engulfed in a wave of brown and white fur. If anyone ever thought, they could pop a big bulldog in the head and it would get off you, forget it. I had one dog with my arm in its mouth while the other jumped up on my leg to give me friendly dog licks.
When we finally get separated – me, kid, dogs, two leashes. I am bleeding from my arm and thigh.
Kid: “They weren’t attacking you. They are really friendly.”
Me: “I know but I am bleeding” – (showing long nasty scratches all down my leg and minor one on arm).
Kid: “But they didn’t bite you. They are just energetic.”
Me: “I see that but I am still bleeding.”
Kid: “I am sorry but they aren’t mean dogs.”
Me: [Something to the effect of] “whatever” and walked off.
Me: [What I wish I had said] “Young man, you brought two large dogs on a public road and you can’t control them. I am injured, not badly, but this could have been much worse. You need to be aware that both you and your dogs need some training. You had them on leashes but if you can’t do more than get pulled along, you need to give/sell those dogs to someone who can handle them.”
Thinking back, I wish I had found which rental cabin the dogs were at and talked to the parents, showed them the scratches and made them aware of what happened. Making clear that I didn’t want to file a lawsuit. There were no medical bills, thank goodness. Nor did I want to call animal control – though there is a part of me that said, ‘It needed to be documented,’ in case those dogs already had caused injuries. Two strikes and they are out in my thinking.
Like gun ownership or driving a car, we’ve all the got the right to own a large bulldog. But with it comes the responsibility to see your pet is controlled at all times. I am sure this family thought ‘We’re out in the sticks and we can let our son, take the dogs on a walk to work some energy out of them.’
At least they hadn’t turned them loose completely. In reality they were staying in a popular weekend vacation area and here comes a middle-aged newspaper editor out for a stroll. In any cautionary tale, you are required to point out, what if it had been an elderly person with bad knees/hips/back or what if another cabin had children out playing?
Would those energetic, friendly dogs and their owner be facing more than being the subject for a newspaper editorial?
If you know you can’t control your energetic, super-friendly large dog, you have a responsibility to do something to see that it doesn’t injure a person or another pet. Period.