Better Safe Than Sorry When Dog Attacks

Last month I shared a bone of contention about increasing numbers of unleashed dogs roaming about. I was surprised by the number of national pet publications that picked up the column. I was even more surprised by the numbers of people who took the effort of digging up my contact information to call or e-mail me their own canine confessions. Seems the story hit a collective nerve.

Frankly, it reminds me of the time my car was stolen from my driveway. As a Good Samaritan I went around several blocks of the neighborhood warning neighbors to be on guard. I was amazed to discover just how many others had had their vehicles likewise stolen. Seems, too, dog attacks are more commonplace than I would have imagined. Sadly, some folks even told me they now hesitate walking their own neighborhoods.

Here’s some newly garnered tips sent me. A number of dog-owners claimed that their pets had been saved from possible demise by leather or nylon collars that impeded a deadly neck hold. One fellow suggested carrying a lighter, which, guaranteed, will send any creature, four legged or two legged, running. For the tender amongst you, there is the ultrasound dazer which works at 15 feet and leaves no permanent harm. Disclaimer, though; even the ads disclose that they don’t work with all dogs, including deaf, docile, infirm and highly trained ones.

Note, I previously mentioned the idea of carrying an expandable billy-club. I heard, though, from a police officer that they are legal in 49 other states but are not sold in California. I also would like to clarify that pepper spray is limited to three ounces of individual possession, which might be a limited amount if you got attacked by a pack.

Incidentally, one person related the story of a pit bull springing from a group of drifters hanging out behind the gas station adjacent to Starbucks on A Street. The dog had seized his pet’s neck and was close to a kill before the owner was able to unload his can of mace pepper gel. The attacker went scurrying. It was grabbed by the vagrants who hastily jumped into a truck and sped off. Interestingly, this fellow had used pepper gel twice on humans; once with a mugger and once when he interrupted a teen who was attacking an Oakland librarian.

Feeling squeamish? I assure you, the discomfort of analyzing protection strategies is tame compared to seeing your beloved pet, or your own fond body, torn to shreds. An ounce of prevention, or in the case of spray three, is worth a pound of cure.

Walter Ruehlig

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