Dog in van - thoughts?

(10 Posts)
DorisLessingsCat Fri 12-Jun-20 13:35:29

On my daily morning walk I passed by a marked up van a few mornings in a row. There was a dog in the front seats reacting loudly and aggressively to passers by. I wrote to the organisation and got a response. Not sure what to think about it so asking for opinions here (identifying information redacted):

My email:

Hello, for the last 2 / 3 mornings your organisation's van has been parked by XXXX with a dog inside. The dog is clearly distressed at being left in the van. It reacts to people passing the van with a loud frenzy, jumping around, barking and showing its teeth. It’s very upsetting for the dog and everyone else.

Yesterday the dog was left in the van with no windows open.

I’m really concerned for the welfare of the dog. It is clearly distraught and could injure itself in the way it leaps around the van when people pass by. It should not be left in a van when it’s so clearly frightened and unhappy. Please could you track down the owner and see if other arrangements can be made for its care when they are at work?

Many thanks, Doris

Reply:

Dear Doris,

I can assure you that this dog is not unhappy and certainly not scared, it is a trained protection dog and the reason it goes nuts when anyone passes the van is because it is protecting the vehicle. The owner absolutely dotes on this and the other 2 dogs he has; he gauged that the weather yesterday morning at 8ish was not too warm for the dog to be in the van without an open window. The owner is close by and is not away from the vehicle for any length of time as I am aware that he is at XXXX before 9am daily.

Regards, Organisation person

For context, it's unlikely that there is anything in the vehicle that needs canine protection.

OP’s posts: |
vanillandhoney Fri 12-Jun-20 14:23:43

I don't see a problem with it, really. I mean, it's not ideal but I don't think there's anything happening that's worth complaining about.

Leaving a dog in a car at 8am in this kind of weather is fine - it's not that warm, and the barking is normal. It's like when dogs bark at the window or at the door - it's natural and how they protect their territory.

Sorry if that's not what you wanted to hear, but he can't do any harm or hurt you from inside a locked car.

DorisLessingsCat Fri 12-Jun-20 15:24:36

I genuinely don't know either way. I read the dog as reactive and distressed rather than on guard, and he was leaping around the front of the van in a way that made me worry that it would injure itself.

It was enough hullabaloo to frighten e.g. a child but it was securely locked in so no one was going to get hurt.

OP’s posts: |
vanillandhoney Fri 12-Jun-20 15:37:30

Leaving a dog tethered and in a small space can be really dangerous - if the dog got it's lead or collar caught on something it would strangle itself - that will be why it's loose as it's typically safer for the dog.

If the dog itself is not in any danger I don't think there's much you can do. My dog goes bonkers when the delivery driver knocks on the door - not because he's reactive or aggressive, but because he wants to get to them to say hello and can't.

DorisLessingsCat Fri 12-Jun-20 15:44:19

This was absolutely different from a dog going bonkers at the doorbell. Teeth bared, ears back, snarling and lunging at the window.

Wouldn't it be safer and more comfortable in a crate in the back?

I have also seen the same dog tied up and left in a park while presumably the owner was a short distance away working. Same behaviour with passers by - barking, lunging, jumping and twisting around. I can't imagine the strength it needs to control it.

OP’s posts: |
vanillandhoney Fri 12-Jun-20 15:47:33

It's clear you disagree with how the dog is being treated and that's fine. But I just don't think it's something that you can complain about. The dog isn't hurting you while it's locked in the van.

Being tethered outside and behaving like that is different and I think if you complained about that you would get a different reaction.

frostedviolets Fri 12-Jun-20 15:55:06

I think you are massively, massively unreasonable re the car.

It isn’t really affecting you, you are quite safe and yes I do imagine that a trained protection dog would indeed be exceptionally possessive of the car and behave as you describe to anyone walking past.

Though I do agree that a crate would be more sensible.

The park is a different matter.
That’s an open space where people could presumably approach the dog and be injured?
So it absolutely shouldn’t be left unattended.

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DorisLessingsCat Fri 12-Jun-20 16:46:06

I am undecided about the matter. I worded my email as an enquiry about the welfare of the dog, not a complaint. I am not a dog expert and certainly not a guard dog expert so I read this dog as frightened and upset, not protective.

Yes the park was a different matter but I was in a hurry so I just passed by and couldn't tell how long the dog was tied up for and whether the owner could see / reach the dog at all times.

OP’s posts: |
TheQueenOfTheNight Fri 12-Jun-20 16:50:21

Perhaps an animal welfare organisation could give their opinion? You could forward the email response to them. I'd certainly never leave a dog in a car without the window open, irrespective of the time of day.

frostedviolets Fri 12-Jun-20 17:46:41

am undecided about the matter. I worded my email as an enquiry about the welfare of the dog, not a complaint. I am not a dog expert and certainly not a guard dog expert so I read this dog as frightened and upset, not protective

There is no ‘matter’ with the car though.
The dog is in a locked car, it therefore cannot hurt you.

Dogs are territorial, some more than others.
What breed is it?

It is quite normal for a dog to bark at others near its territory; that could be its house, it’s garden, it’s car, even it’s person.

If it’s a trained protection/security dog then yes the display towards unknown people near its territory will be very loud and intense.

8am in the morning is unlikely to be dangerous for the dog in terms of heat.

While I think it would be far more sensible to confine the dog to a crate you really don’t have a leg to stand on here imo.
The owner/handler hasn’t done anything wrong that I can see from anything you’ve said.

The park however, you would be well within your rights to complain that to the police and/or dog warden as the dog is behaving aggressively in a public place and I imagine giving people reasonable concern that it may harm them, that is against the law.
Dogs must be under control at all times.

Tbh, I do question a little if the dog is indeed a properly trained personal protection animal as i can’t believe they a handler of a working security/protection dogs would be irresponsible enough to leave it tied up, unattended, where it can in theory injure people.

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