First, a disclaimer: I’m a dog lover, and I do like pit-bulls. When bred and raised responsibly by responsible adults, they grow to be warm and loving, and they are fiercely loyal. They are not dogs to have around children, and definitely, they are not dogs that can be allowed to run loose and unrestrained, especially if they are not fixed or neutered. The hormones in dogs kept for breeding can make them incredibly aggressive. It takes a very dedicated dog owner to raise one of these animals properly, and keep them controlled.
With that said, I’m having a huge issue with a pit-bull OWNER in my apartment complex, and I need to vent.
August 30, 2009: I get home in the late evening from Ormond Beach, and I’m walking, alone to my mailbox. From nowhere, a huge, brown American Pit-Bull charges me. It is barking, growling; its teeth are bared, and it’s circling me like a shark poised for the kill. A tall, skinny young man comes running from his car, calling his dog off. She won’t back down, but he says, “Don’t move. She’s only playing with you.” The dog stops, sits, and continues to growl.
“I’m not moving until you get your dog under control,” I say. I’m still, but afraid. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but I was so afraid that I defecated in my pants. Yes, I was that afraid. I thought I was about to get mauled.
The young man offers no apology. He tells me, “You just need to get used to her bark.”
I didn’t say it, but I thought it, “I don’t have to get used to anything.” I walked away with not another word. I looked back over my shoulder twice, and the man was glaring at me . . . like I’d done something wrong.
I went home, changed my clothes, and reported the incident to the apartment complex. I could have called animal control. I could have called the police. But I didn’t. At that point, I figured he was just an irresponsible owner; and, as we all know, dogs become a part of our families. We love them because their love in unconditional. I even said these very things to the complex manager, and asked her to reinforce the rules regarding dogs on leashes.
Fast forward to today.
I’ m walking Mio, and I’m at the office watching the two office ladies play with him on the front patio. Mio is a 16 pound Shih Tzu. He’s friendly and well-socialized, and since November, I’ve given him basic obedience training. All dogs can be dangerous, even a Shih Tzu, so I’ve made sure that his socialization is thorough. Even though I work 12 hour night shifts, I’ve worked hard to make sure he is with human companions for 22 hours each day. Yes, I have night time baby sitters for my little dog! And the training has made him so adorable that walking him is a social exercise for me – everyone wants to stop and play with him.
This young man walks into the office, speaks briefly with one of the office ladies, and then goes home. Or so I thought. I’m walking Mio home, and he’s waiting for me in his breezeway. He tells me, “I don’t want you walking your dog near my apartment. I’m not going to control her when she comes outside my door and I’m not going to be responsible for what happens to you or your dog.” He looks intoxicated; he’s shaking angrily, and I feel threatened. I pick up my dog and walk away quickly with him yelling after me. I have no idea what he said. I was too freaked out.
I was so freaked out that I called both animal control and the police.
I wasn’t happy with the resolution, but to be honest, I’m not sure what I was expecting. Animal control took a report over the telephone, and said they might investigate the issue of having an unrestrained pit-bull in the unincorporated Orange County, “might” being the key word. I did get a case number on that: 326374. Orange County Sheriff’s Department came out and took a “verbal” report. According to them, the threat really wasn’t a threat because it could be interpreted so many ways.
Yeah. With those words, I’m sure the pit-bull owner REALLY just wanted me to come over for tea.
But they did speak to him and reinforce the leash law. He denied the entire incident. And they gave me a card with a reference number. Here is what's on back of it.
Offense: Verbal – dog
Case Event #: 092521268
What’s the point of this blog? There’s not a point, not really. But if in the news anyone reads that I or anyone else has been mauled or killed by a pit-bull in my apartment complex or neighborhood, at least there’s a record that it was probably THIS pit-bull, and the police know where to go to find the owner. They can call me (unless I’m the person mauled and killed) or the apartment complex (Nob Hill). Either way, we can take you straight to this young man’s front door.
As always . . . it’s not the dog that’s the problem. It’s the owner. And I’m just LIVID that Orange County Sheriff’s Department would not take a written report.