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Owner of mean, muzzled dog threatened to let her dog loose on my puppy/me. Do I report her to the police?

(35 Posts)
ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Sun 18-Sep-11 19:17:46

About an hour ago. The situation went like this:

Puppy runs up to 3 dogs. The owner of a large leashed, muzzled dog shouts out for me to attach my puppy. I call my puppy but she keeps running (she usually has very good recall, but this time the excitement of seeing other dogs wins). Puppy rolls on her back in greeting (always very submissive). Muzzled dog sniffs, then lunges. Big friendly boxer dog intervenes to shepherd puppy away from mean dog. Puppy hurtles back to me. No harm, not even a huge fright.

Owner of muzzled dog, acting cross with me, says: "I can't always hold her. You've got to keep your dog attached."

Owner of friendly boxer dog says: "It's true, she's very mean and [owner] has a lot of trouble with her. She can be dangerous; [owner] is forced to keep her muzzled and leashed at all times."

I say: "If your dog is mean and you can't hold her, then go somewhere else where there are no dogs and no people."

Owner of muzzled dog says: "Next time I'll set her loose, just wait and see."

She grumbles some more and leaves with her 2 dogs. Me and the owner of the boxer remain; boxer's owner makes excuses for muzzled dog's owner: "Well, she has to be able to walk her somewhere."

I realise about 2 minutes too late that my puppy (or me? not clear) have just been threatened with physical aggression.

I am very angry at having been threatened with physical harm.

I am also pretty concerned that a mean dog has an (aggressive) owner who -- by her own admission -- does not consider herself capable of controlling her dog. It's not the dog's fault, but with her character, and the owner she has, this sounds like an accident waiting to happen.

Do I tell the police? I suspect she may be known to them, since it is likely that the dog is kept muzzled by some kind of official decree rather than by the owner's choice. But I have some trepidations: muzzled dog's owner does not seem terribly reasonable and might up the ante on her aggressiveness towards me and/or my puppy. On the other hand, since leaving an abusive marriage I am developing a zero tolerance approach to threats from bullies.

I am not in the UK, btw, so there is no such thing as dog wardens or the like here.

DooinMeCleanin Sun 18-Sep-11 19:24:10

She shouldn't have said what she did, but to be fair you were the one in the wrong not her.

She had her dog leashed and muzzled. If your puppy does not recall, you should not be letting her loose without a training line.

I hate it when loose dogs run upto my leashed dogs. One of mine is fear-aggressive and being confronted with loose dogs while he is leashed really puts back his training. It scares him senseless and he has the potential to start being aggressive.

You had no right to tell her when she could exercise her dog when you were the one who failed to control your dog.

Vallhala Sun 18-Sep-11 19:40:22

I have to agree with Dooin. I know yours is a pup and pups do daft things but you really do have to have recall 100% before you allow one completely offlead - one day the dog-aggressive dog they run to may not be wearing a muzzle.

The other thing which occurs to me, although I don't take shit from anyone following a violent marriage either, is that it reads to me like the owner said this in anger, being stroppy, rather than appearing to mean it.

A person who does keep a dog on-lead and muzzled as a result of his dog-aggression issues is inho unlikely to be the type who takes that muzzle off and allows a puppy to be mauled. Of course, I wasn't there, you might well think differently, but that's my gut reaction.

Vallhala Sun 18-Sep-11 19:42:41

In short, notch it up to experience, keep pup on a lead or at least a training leash until that recall is spot on and no, I wouldn't call the police if I were in your position.

tmmy Sun 18-Sep-11 19:43:32

I would report her.

Abra1d Sun 18-Sep-11 19:45:18

I wouldn't call the police.

Greensleeves Sun 18-Sep-11 19:49:48

From what the owner and her friend actually said, I think you should report. The situation is a disaster waiting to happen.

But what happened with your puppy was your fault.

dilbertina Sun 18-Sep-11 19:51:09

Given my own recent experience with an agressive dog that owner refuses to even put on a lead, I'm afraid I agree you are in the wrong. She was controlling her dog and ensuring it didn't harm any other dog. You were not controlling your dog and were allowing it to wind-up a dog that patently had issues.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Sun 18-Sep-11 19:53:37

Totally agree with you all that the puppy's recall is my responsibility.

Wish there was a clearer call on whether to report!

Ripeberry Sun 18-Sep-11 19:55:59

Just avoid that area. Not worth the trouble.

DooinMeCleanin Sun 18-Sep-11 19:57:59

It's the sort of thing I'd say in temper if I'd been having a particularly bad walk wrt off leash dogs pestering us blush

Especially if owner of the off leash dog was dawdling to collect their dog or telling me it was fine, the dog is friendly. That really winds me up. I always want to shout back "Yours might be, but mines not you fecking eejit, now collect your dog before I allow mine to eat it" - I don't, but I want to. I usually just end up smiling through gritted teeth as I know if I opened my mouth I'd say something I'd regret.

It always seems to be owners of small 'cute' breeds that think they can get away with it. I have never had an off leash GSD or Staffy for instance, bother my dogs, loads of little fluffly things and Yorkies, otoh.

Catonkey Sun 18-Sep-11 19:58:04

I understand why this has upset you but as the owner of a dog who must be muzzled in public I'm on the other dog owners side on this I'm afraid.

My dog is fear aggressive and will lunge at any dog, regardless of age or size, that runs up to him. I keep him on lead and muzzled at all times when we are out so that no incidents can occur. After a lot of patience and training he will tolerate other dogs passing without freaking out so when I see another dog approaching us I lead him off to the side, get him into a sit position and he will calmy watch the other dog pass.

However, the amount of people who don't have a good recall with their own dog drives me fucking batshit! I'm there, doing my damndest to keep my dog calm and their dogs are bounding up to us, without a care in the world and they're shouting them back (or not even bothering in some cases) to no avail, leaving my dog to get severely stressed and upset. Obviously due to the muzzle he can't actually do any damage to another dog but when he lunges it is upsetting, for him, me and the other dog.

I don't care if their dog just wants to play or is just a puppy, my dog is muzzled for a reason and if you can't reliably call your own dog back, then don't let them off lead.

kitsmummy Sun 18-Sep-11 19:59:09

I don't know what you're going to report as I think you were in the wrong here! Seems to me the owner had responsibly leashed and muzzled her dog; your puppy was in the wrong and then you had the cheek to blame the owner. I think she was just saying this to piss you off as you had pissed her off.

BeerTricksPotter Sun 18-Sep-11 20:05:40

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Catonkey Sun 18-Sep-11 20:06:11

You say you're not in the UK, so I don't know what laws apply where you are but my dogs muzzle is not enforced by the police or an official decree, it was a caution included in my adoption agreement from the Dogs Trust, can not actually be enforced by law but for everyone's safety, I enforce it.

Also, a police officer friend of mine once advised me that they don't act upon complaints of dog on dog aggression, just dog on person. Although I'm not quite sure what you would be reporting, is it the owners "threat"? If so, then I would guess (but obviously I wasn't there so just speculating) that it was said out of frustration.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Sun 18-Sep-11 20:06:54

Thinking aloud with this post.

Reading your responses (thanks to all, btw), it seems that for the panel, the two standout issues are my puppy's recall, and the other dog's potential to be a danger to society.

I can work on my puppy's recall and will. I have no control over the other dog's danger potential, other than perhaps reporting her owner and hoping that something constructive might come of it (but what? the dog is already muzzled. What might happen at worst if a dangerous but muzzled dog breaks free from her leash? -- genuine question)

For me the emotional issue of receiving a threat of physical harm looms very large, because I have so recently been there in a pretty devastating way. I am wary of being overly sensitized, but on the other hand feel very strongly about stating pretty firmly that threats are not on. Valhalla, thanks very much for picking up on that and sharing your experience. I take your point that the owner is already doing what she can to keep her dog from harming others. My gut feeling is that it is the owner's own fear which made her aggressive. I don't think that's a reason to threaten mauling, though.

Since an actual mauling is unlikely, I guess my follow-up question to you all is: what danger does a muzzled dog represent if she does break free?

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Sun 18-Sep-11 20:16:07

Oh, and thanks to those who have aggressive dogs of their own for giving their perspective; it is helpful to know what it's like for you when friendly dogs come to greet yours.

DooinMeCleanin Sun 18-Sep-11 20:16:10

What makes you think her dog would break free? Or even do anything if if did? My -only-slightly-dog-agressive-dog would not act out of agression if he was free. He gets scared by off leash dogs approaching him when he is leashed as he is aware they can get away and he can't.

He is fine passing leashed dogs and walking with leashed dogs. He is fine on his training lead with other dogs, as it's a lot longer and he has the ability to escape should he need to.

As her dog was walking happily with the leashed Boxer dog I'd guess she is the same as my -and many more- fear aggressive dog/s.

A muzzled dog would not be able to do much damage. FWIW I think she porbably only said she couldn't always hold her dog to try and scare you into taking more control of your dog in the future. I very much doubt someone responsible enough to muzzle and walk their dog would do so if they felt unable to exercise proper control of their dog.

Unless you have a dog who can react badly to other dogs, you have no idea how fustrating it can be when people fail to stop their dog bothering you.

Just chalk this one upto experience Op and get thee to puppy classes smile

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Sun 18-Sep-11 20:18:46

Dooin what makes me think that her dog could break free is that both she and the boxer's owner said she does.

The box was playing fetch with his own and was about 30 yards from the leashed dog.

And yes, it has been very helpful to get the perspective of fearful/aggressive dog owners.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Sun 18-Sep-11 20:20:52

Follow-up: the dog breaks free from this woman, who I always see walking her. I have been told by other dog-walkers that only her husband can control the dog. I have never seen the husband walk the dog. So there seems to be a set-up where a potentially dangerous dog is walked by someone who can't control her.

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Sun 18-Sep-11 20:22:14


what happened to my -ers?

Flowerista Sun 18-Sep-11 20:27:15

I may be a bit dim, but if the dog is muzzled what could it do even if it did break free.

SnapesOnAPlane Sun 18-Sep-11 20:28:04

I don't understand, did the dog break free from the woman? Your 20:20 post wasn't v clear on it, can you clarify?

Vallhala Sun 18-Sep-11 20:35:24

Ooh er! Found one! grin

But seriously now, and honestly? None of us can answer that question without knowing the dog concerned. To put your mind at rest and contrary to what you will hear on here from time to time, there is no proven correlation between dog aggression and human aggression in canines. Of course that's NOT to say that a dog can't be both but that they do not necessarily go hand in hand.

Some dogs are fine with people but just don't like other dogs. Some, as has been said above, are just fearful and won't go on the attack if unleashed but will nonetheless react aggressively and/or defensively to another dog in his face.

The owner is doing the right thing, not only is the dog leashed he's muzzled, so if he did slip her grip, there is little he could do unless he was of a type to tear a muzzle off and then go on the attack. at least that would give the owner and other owner time to act, I don't know what more you can ask of the owner tbh, except a little more calm on her part, though I can see where Dooin's coming from and there have been times, not with other dogs, but with children running up to one of my 3, who's not keen on those apart from our own, where I too have wanted to react as the owner did! blush

ItsMeAndMyPuppyNow Sun 18-Sep-11 20:35:53

Snapes no the dog did not break free on this occasion. I have just been told that she does break free, by other dog-walkers, on several occasions in the 5 months that I have been walking my puppy in this park. And now by the owner herself.

How often this might happen I really don't know. The only other piece of info I have is that the dog is only fully under control when walked by the woman's husband.

I have therefore been making sure my puppy steers clear of this dog successfully for 5 months (recall had always worked before!). Today, for whatever reason (adolescence? hi-jinx?) recall did not work.

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