Deterring Roaming Dogs : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

For those of you who live in town - what do you do about roaming dogs? We do have a leash law but somehow these dogs "just get out". Yesterday, I was walking my older dog when we had a pit bull mix run up to us and start circling us while growling and lunging at us. I kicked and swung at it while screaming and trying to protect my dog. After about 5 minutes, a teenage girl that was familiar with the dog was able to get it away from us. I contacted Animal Control and the owner was issued a citation (the dog had been caught roaming twice already this month). My husband said he would make me a stick with the tip of a nail sticking out the end so that I could poke a dog with it. He also thought I could get a taser (SP?) or mace but I worry that my dog might get injured with these. Has anyone had a similiar problem? What did you do? Thanks for your help.

-- Cindy in NY (, July 13, 2001


Any dog that is acting that way toward an adult can be LETHAL to a child -- especially one who gets frightened and takes off running. The dog's instincts kick in, and the kid is prey. Don't forget that a moderate size pit bull can easily kill your medium-to-large size pet dog, too.

Your husband is right, but instead of something that only reaches stick-length, get yourself some pepper spray -- the kind that has a bright orange dye in in. Spritz the dog in the eyes/mouth, then call Animal Control...tell 'em to look for the dog with the orange face! And, don't spare the story -- this dog was in the process of attacking you! Clearly, this isn't the same as somebody's pet snapping at a passing dog, either, which is normal dog behavior.

I love dogs -- I've got 16 of them right now (don't ask...long story) of many breeds. I've also owned dogs that were incorrigible biters, attackers, and stock-killers, also of differing breeds. Some of these dogs had enough good traits that we simply tethered them when they weren't at work -- but some were so vicious that they were destroyed. Bad dogs can be more deadly than a drunk in a Cadillac, and should be treated appropriately.

If authorities will not compel the dog's owners to control the animal, you'd think that the threat of a major lawsuit for injuries or worse would be enough to scare them....but some people are mighty dim.

-- Anita Evangelista (, July 13, 2001.

Poking some dogs with a sharp nail is a great way to incite a violent attack. You might wanna think that out first. I've been attacked by wild dogs twice. One time it took about 10 good hits with a 3 foot 2x2 before he gave up, the first few in the head no less just pissed him off more. Crazy boxer dog had even turned and ran off when I first encountered him. He waited til I turned my back and started walking away. I barely had time to turn around and face him when he jumped me. Get some heavy duty pepper spray instead.

-- something (, July 13, 2001.

I agree with Somebody, a nail at the end of a stick for a pit bull is like trying to stop a hurricane with a sneeze. Your husband hasn't taken any life insurance out on you lately, has he?

Seriously, it is sad so many people are so frightened or threatened that they need powerful, violent dogs to feel secure. It is sadder that they don't regard both the possible harm to their neighbors as well as the life style changes these animals impose on their neighbors.

-- paul (, July 13, 2001.

I've been cornered a time or two by other peoples dogs, and had to rescue one of mine once from someone else's. Being in a populated area kinda limit's your options. The spray / walking stick combo is probably your best bet.

I have a shepards staff that I bought at a Mennonite general store, that is quite stout, and is made out of hardwood.

-- Eric in TN (, July 13, 2001.

Your caution about mace is well founded . . . The wind direction can blow the contents back into your pets or YOUR eyes (not a good time to be incapacitated).

I'm not sure that carrying MACE or pepper spray is legal in New York; check the laws before you carry off your property. It is one thing to be on your property and defend yourself; it is quite another to be on public property and get sued for having the cajones to defend yourself. Even if you are right, your lawyer will be smiling all the way to the bank.

A two or three D cell Maglite flashlight might be a legal remedy. "Hey officer, I was just going to the store to buy batteries for this thing when this dog attacked me; I didn't mean to crush his skull in". Just a thought . . .

-- j.r. guerra (, July 13, 2001.

About the dogs chasing kids, a woman in St. Louis didn't keep proper tabs on her young son--9 or 10 years old--late last winter. His body was found the next morning where he'd been playing basketball in a public park. He'd been killed by a pack of stray dogs. The woman who gave birth to this child--I hesitate to call her a mother--was charged with child endangerment or similar crime. She was in jail on outstanding drug charges at the time of the funeral but I haven't heard any more about it. Do be careful. We have a brain trust neighbor who lets his pair of Mastiffs run free. I just hope they don't make it as far as my house or it will be the THREE S's.

-- marilyn (, July 13, 2001.

I'm afraid a poker stick will not deter your pit bull once they get the idea in their pea brain it's there. Next time you see it assume it will probably attack. Our neighbors had one that wanted to eat our little dog seemed to be its goal in life. The dog walked into our yard one day past our larger barking dogs walked straight up to my husband climed up his legs while my husband held the little dog up high out of reach it paid no attention to anything but that little dog it didn't seem to notice my husband and didnt seem at all phased when my husband grabbed the loping shears annd hit it up side the head causing it to bleed profusly, that didnt seem to phase it its complete focus was that little dog. Needless to say the pit bull was destroyed. Our vet told us that had it lived it would have eventually found a way to get the dog.

-- ronda (, July 13, 2001.

Dear Cindy,

Zounds!!!... You're lucky the pit was dissuaded; they usually aren't. DEFINATELY call Your local Animal (Dog) Warden and log a complaint in no uncertain terms. Also file a complaint with Your local police precinct. Then do it again everytime the dog even looks like its thinking of coming towards You. Pits are statistically the most dangerous dog breed, regardless of the breed association's spin.

Do not depend on the owners to be responsible with the animal. They've already shown they're not. When I was on staff at a county Humane Shelter, we joked about the typical profile of a pit owner. Unfortunately our jokes were too often true. I have never had a good experience with pits or thier owners, despite trying to be open-minded and fair. Even had friends with a pit BEG me to testify in thier favor when I was supeonaed regarding an attack by thiers on a 14-yr old boy. They were totally oblivious to the threat and danger 'Baby' posed to everyone else. And they had been cited TWELVE times!!!!!

Please don't worry about defending Yourself against this animal. Make the authorities be responsible!!!!

Good Luck!


-- Randle Gay (, July 13, 2001.

Lead injection is a pretty good cure. '44 Magnum is a pretty good size. If dog owners do not care about thier dogs, they do not desreve to be dog owners any more.

-- Ed Copp (OH) (, July 13, 2001.

An uncontrolled pit bull should scare you! We had a case not to long ago here in Florida (caught on tv news tape) of a pit bull attacking a police dog which was on a lead being held by an officer. Two cans of MACE didn't stop the attack. Four rounds of 9MM (two in the head) didn't stop the attack. A 12 gauge shotgun loaded with 00 buckshot did finally put an end to the pit bull's rampage. The police dog was not killed, but was so badly mauled that it had to be retired. For some reason, pit bulls and rottwilers (sp?)seem to be popular where I live. Since many of the people who own them let them roam, I afforded myself the best and only legal protection I could get. I got a concealed firearms permit and carry a Ruger .45 loaded with Hydroshock bullets. I have come close to using it twice. Once, the dog's owner, who was enjoying watching her rottwhiler stalk me, called the dog off (proving that it was under voice control the whole time) only after I drew my pistol and was about to dispatch her dog. When I realized that the whole episode had been under her control the whole time and she was only "having some fun" with me, I was tempted to find another target. The real problem is that this person is now a neighbor and I'll bet that sooner or later, the dog and I will meet again. If your state permits concealed carry, DO IT!

-- John James (, July 13, 2001.

It's action like that which gives concealed carry a bad name and makes it harder for responsible people to get them. It sounds like you're on your way to losing that right and much more. For what it's worth, a dog or even a human stalking you is not a valid threat reason to draw a gun. It's neither sensible or legal. The golden rule is never pull your pistol unless you plan to use it or would like to get shot yourself. I've carried a sidearm for over 15 years. Half those years I worked in one of the roughest ghettos in the US. In all those years I've only had to show my gun one time, not even unholster it when I thwarted an robbery attempt in a bus station bathroom at 2am. Anyone who has come close to using a gun twice over a trivial matter like a dog following you or is tempted to use their gun irrationally or to threaten others is exactly the kind of person who shouldn't own a gun.

-- anonymous (, July 13, 2001.

Thanks for all the advice! My husband is making me a short stick to carry but without the nail in the end. I am also going to get a can of Halt. This is what the mail carriers carry with them. A little more info on the incident - while screaming at this dog for at least 5 minutes, NO ONE except a teenage girl came to my aid. Someone sat in a pickup truck at the intersection and didn't so much as honk their horn to try and distract the dog. I do not know what has happened to people that they could allow their dogs to roam the neighborhood and then other people who don't try to help when someone obviously is under attack. I sent a letter to the editor to try and shame them for their inaction but I doubt they will care.

When the animal control officer came over she tried to talk me out of filing a complaint because the woman had already paid over $200 in fines from having the dog picked up and boarded at the SPCA. I told her that was too bad but I was going to file a complaint (it's only a $25 fine for the first offense). Then we went to the woman's house so I could identify the dog and she asked if I wanted to pet the dog because it likes people it just doesn't like other dogs! The woman claimed the dog got out be squeezing between the air conditioner and the window frame. I don't know who she thought she was kidding. The dog's head wouldn't fit through that space!

-- Cindy in NY (, July 14, 2001.

when i was a kid i worked with a guy that fought his dogs in Mexico. if the ghetto boys, redneck trash and other assorted vermin would stop breeding brother to sister there would be alot less problems. i strongly recomend both pepper spray and a lethal option. if the dog is a cull the spray will work. if it has lost its inhibitions and has grit you will have to kill it because pain won't matter, ask any hog hunter that uses good ones for catch dogs. anonymous dogs can be lethal personally i would rather shoot one before it actually lays teeth on me. and he displayed the weapon, he didn't send rounds down range for funsies.

-- Pops (, July 14, 2001.

You have had lots of advice on this, some helpful, some not. don't know if this will or not. I use a spray bottle of Amonia. Hurts like the dickens but just pain will not deter a Pitbull. It also will blind the dog long enough so that you can get outta there. I like the option of the pepper spray with the orange dye. Thats a good tip! Amonia is very cheap though and not illegal anywhere. Normally I would dilute it but in your case I'd use it straight. If it causes lasting harm, too bad. One of the things you might should know re the pistol option is this(besides the legal problems and the danger of hitting someone else): A person well trained with a firearm has only a 50% chance of defending themselves against one experienced attack dog without serious injury. A person well trained with a firearm has only a 10% chance of defending themselves against two experienced attack dogs and will most certainly suffer serious injury. Against three dogs, no chance other than luck. Do what you need to do to defend yourself. I hope you win this.

-- Little Quacker (, July 15, 2001.

there are several household and shop aresols that will work wonders on vicious dogs or people. consider starting fluid (ether) very good hair spray (give it a five) wd/40 a solvent (takes the oil out of the eyes, very painful. consider oven cleaner totally blinding. or just carry about 18 inch piece of 5/8 rebar. The starting fluid is my favorite. it is temp blinding, very painful

-- (, July 17, 2001.

wd40 and a lighter is also a very good pair. wait a moment before lighting to get a good soaking.
the flame is quite impressive.

call the sheriff and file a complaint.

-- (, July 19, 2001.

Sickness..a WD40 flame thrower! Vinegar will do the job EVERY time. It does no permanent damage but will stop them in their tracks AND won't hurt you or your pet. I have been breeding and showing AmStaffs for 20 years, have 10 right now, and have been involved with Bull & Terrier rescue since I was 16 years old. I have had to break up fights and pull one dog off one of my Pot Bellies, vinegar works every time. I want to add that I have never had one of my dogs bite anyone, nor any of the pups I have bred and sold ( to the best of my knowledge). One of my show dogs was attacked by a GSD and Lab as I was walking her on a leash down the road, so much for how 'powerful' they are. I don't let my dogs run at large, no good owner does. Belle stays loose on the property to deter tresspassers and stray dogs, she has NEVER left. This is how a responsible dog owner keeps their dogs, of any breed. The blame falls on the owners, in every case!

-- Dianne (, July 20, 2001.

Oy vey!

-- Ardie from WI (, July 20, 2001.

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