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Beware of irresponsible owners, not their dogs

 | February 15, 2013

It was a good day until we met a Labrador that had been let out to walk on its own.


It was a morning like every other – walking down familiar neighbourhood streets, bumping into friendly acquaintances two-legged and four, as I walked my dog Ruby.

Yes, it was a good day. Until we met a Labrador that had been let out to walk on its own.

Turning the corner, Ruby and I were face to face with him. My instinct was to backtrack immediately. However second-guessing myself, I crossed to the other side thinking I could still avoid him.

The attack

The Lab had other things on his mind. He walked over to us before we were safely across and started sniffing Ruby. She sniffed him back. I stood between them and tried to move the Lab along with my foot. At this point, I was still confident we could be on our way without incident. Then a growl erupted and before I knew it, he was attacking Ruby ferociously.

Squealing, barking, growling, whining – all hell broke loose as Ruby tried to escape the angry Lab. In the confusion, I decided to scoop Ruby up into my arms but the Lab was faster and sank his teeth into her back. In the scuffle, I suffered bites on two of my fingers and scratches on my arms, thigh, knee and belly.

A harrowing experience

I was terrified and desperate… Ruby was screaming… and the Lab was bubbling over with fury at this scrawny white dog that dared to be hostile to him earlier on. No one came to our aid.

The Indonesian maid across the road was frozen with a broom in her hand and the dog’s owner, yes the Lab’s owner, was standing at his front gate looking on.

Meanwhile the scuffle around my legs knocked me over. With Ruby in my arms, I fell to the ground, my spectacles flying off my face just as I saw a black car approaching. I remember thinking, “This is it. We are all going to get hit.”

But the driver actually stopped the car, and scrambled out, prying the Lab away from Ruby. The Lab’s owner then slowly walked over, a wad of newspapers in his hand, which he hit the dog’s head with as he dragged the Lab home. He walked away without a word. No apology. Nothing. No looking back.

Crazy dog!

The driver of the car asked if I was okay, then saw I was bleeding. I told him I was alright and could walk home. He then said, “Crazy dog!”, referring to the Lab, I hope, before driving off and after I repeatedly thanked him for stopping to help.

Ruby was in shock the entire way home and wouldn’t let me tend to her wounds. I decided to drive over to the owner’s home to confront him. I was not, despite what happened, so angry I wanted to fight with him or sue him for the attack or his irresponsibility. I just wanted to make a point.

Upon seeing my wounds, he immediately offered to pay my medical bills. I told him that was not why I came over. He then started apologising profusely about the attack. I asked why his dog was roaming the neighbourhood by itself.

This is what he says:

1. The dog ‘rushed’ out when his son (the Good Samaritan in the black car who stopped for us it turns out) opened the gate to drive out.

The dog did NOT rush out. It was walking calmly, sniffing the ground, having an early morning stroll. And there was no one in sight trying to get him back in.

2. He (the owner) ‘rushed’ to my aid.

He did NOT rush to my aid. He merely picked his dog by the collar and dragged him home after the dogs were separated.

3. His dog likes humans but not other dogs.

What? This has happened before? Then why on God’s good earth does he continue to let his dog walk off the leash?

This neighbourhood I live in has pretty decent folk – most are affluent, living in mansions and own pedigree dogs. Not like mine who was adopted from a shelter and is of indeterminate breeding. However many are self-centred, somewhat arrogant and grossly uneducated.

This Lab that attacked us was walking on its own. However there have been cases of dogs on the leash that have broken free from their owners’ grip to attack other dogs being walked.

A Bull Mastiff who is a known dog-attacker still goes on walks with its master. I got to know of him when the owner of a dog he just attacked warned me about walking up that same street. She told me her dog managed to break free and ran all the way home, dashing across a busy street mind you, in his bid to escape his attacker. The maid who was walking the Bull Mastiff at the time, could not control him.

A Rottweiler in a different part of the neighbourhood has killed a dog that was being walked by its owner. This Rottweiler broke free from his owner’s grip and attacked the dog. Once again, a kind neighbour walking her dog told me to avoid that area altogether.

So now there are effectively three areas in my neighbourhood I cannot walk confidently in because of irresponsible owners who cannot and will not take proper steps to control their dogs. They either let their dogs roam by themselves or cannot control the ‘attack instinct’ of their dogs even when on the leash.

Beware of owners, not dogs

It’s been seven days since the attack. Ruby’s wounds are healing and I am happy to say she has not lost her natural enthusiasm to make friends with other dogs nor is she nervous about going outside. We have resumed our daily walks but I am constantly on the lookout now for that Lab, that Bull Mastiff, that Rottweiler.

I love dogs with all my heart and this attack hasn’t changed that. I am only wary and angered by irresponsible owners that give dogs a bad name.


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