For those of you who have been following the blog for awhile now, you know that I like to keep things positive around here. I typically do not vent my frustrations about things on the blog – I like to keep it light and happy – a celebration of all things pittie and home improvement related!
But I am frustrated and conflicted and I need the advice of my ever-so awesome doggie community to figure this thing out… so here is the story:
The short version: A sheltie-type dog was running loose in the neighborhood and bit me on the shoulder when I attempted to protect Turk (who was being pretty viciously attacked).
After the attack: The owner of the sheltie ran out of her yard when she heard the commotion, grabbed her dog and dragged him back across the street, leaving me shaking like a leaf and trying to compose myself enough to check out the damage the dog did to Turk. I stood outside this lady’s house for a good 15 minutes composing myself and she never came back out to apologize or let me know if her dog was up-to-date on shots. She just… disappeared.
I walked home, took photos of Turk’s abrasions (shallow bites on his back legs and deep bites on his back haunches) and my bite, then called Animal Control. I was basically told that unless I press charges, they cannot do anything.
The dilemma: If I press charges for my bite, the likelihood is that this lady’s dog will be taken into custody and put down. If I don’t, it is probable that this dog will attack again. I keep thinking about what would happen if it had been Rufus who had been attacked – he is tiny and could have endured a lot more damage before I would have been able to pick him up! And this is the worst thing that has been running through my head: what if it had been the other way around and Turk had attacked this lady and her dog? A pit bull attacking a sheltie and it’s owner?! We’re talking headlines on the 9 o’clock news! But since it is a sheltie attacking a pit, there are no news crews knocking down our dog to get the story.
So what do I do? Do I press charges, which will ultimately only hurt the dog (who is obviously just not socialized), or do I let it go and just avoid that neighborhood from now on?
I want to stress that I am not mad at this lady – for all I know she was completely embarrassed and just didn’t even know what to say to me – but I am frustrated because both me and my dog could have been seriously hurt and it is not right that I should have to feel unsafe to walk my dog in my own neighborhood.
What do YOU think? How would you handle a dog attack?
(and because I can’t have a totally super serious post – here is a photo of Turk in his costume from last Halloween – because Shark costumes = appropriate for dog attack stories)