GSD Almost Shot Today by Police
Was doing the morning chores (breakfast, dishes & trash) and heard persistent unfamiliar barking. Went outside with the trash and saw two neighbor men who own big dogs too walking away from my home down the street with two dogs, one a rat-dog mutt and another a GSD, near them very agitated and barking.
At same time, school children and parents in their cars were gathering on my street to let the kids out as I live only a half block from an elementary school. These neighbors were interposing themselves between the dogs and the kids walking to school. The GSD, in particular, was being VERY AGGRESSIVE towards one of the these fellows, a large dumb-as-a-rock plow-boy who is an imposing and menacing sort of guy who was eye-locked on the GSD.
I recognized the dogs as belonging to a neighbor on the opposite side of the block and went back inside to get my motorcycle gloves (elbow length and padded), a leash, a tuna tailer (a fishing tool which is something like what the dog catchers use to snare dogs), a can of pepper spray and half a burger paddy that I'd prepared for my own GSD's breakfast. I also had the wife call the owner who said she'd be there right away.
As I walked down the street to the fricas it became pretty clear that the plow-boy was exactly the wrong guy in exactly the wrong frame of mind to de-escalate the situation. He was responding to lunges from the dog with lunges of his own even though most of the kids were now gone from the street and there wasn't anyone to protect. The other neighbor was on the phone to the Sheriff's Department.
I calmly walked near the GSD and he turned on me and lunged. I rewarded him with a chunk of hamburger paddy, stood my ground and spoke to him in a gentle, non-threatening way. At first, he ignored the treat but then began taking them, all the while keeping his eye on the brutish plow-boy. I asked the brute to leave and he retreated to the opposite side of the street and stood in the yard about half-way up.
I kept treating the GSD with paddy bits and his barking and, in particular, his snarling and showing of teeth diminished to the point that he gave me only a single warning bark before taking the treat from near me and then from my gloved hand. I then went to one knee still offering the treat with my gloved hand.
The GSD was initially surprised at my change in position and barked aggressively. I didn't flinch, but rather, continued to offer treats and speak softly and reassuringly.
I think a dog feeding and a dog willing to aggressively bite are two incompatible things. Hence, my strategy to de-escalate. And, we appeared to be making progress.
Owner shows up and with a brief command collected both dogs into her car. She thanked us, took from me the remainder of the burger paddy and left.
Three different cops showed up in different cars and got out when they saw that I had dog wrangling equipments with me. All were agitated and eager to end the confrontation that had already ended.
They asked if I owned the dog that was menacing the school children. I ran the story down to them and they said that had they gotten there when the school children were being threatened they'd have shot the dog, and maybe even both dogs, straight away. I was dumbfounded.
I told them the dogs were being agitated by the plow-boy who, despite his own ownership of a GSD didn't seem to know that his out-of-control protective emotions were influencing how the dog reacted to the situation, that his aggression engendered fear in the dog and that the dog was fear reactive, that he was the one who either instigated the dog or, at a minimum, was escalating rather than de-escalating the situation.
They said they'd still have had to shoot the dog. Then they asked for the address of the owner and vowed to ticket her.
Is shooting a dog the only reaction the authorities have anymore to a fearful dog? Sure seems like it. Shooting two dogs only one of which was large enough and aggressive enough to harm anyone. Shooting any dog without first trying to de-escalate the situation.
Sure seemed trigger happy to me. The dogs were reacting to the threats of a dumbie, not preying on the kids.
Last edited by Cassidy's Mom; 03-04-2014 at 07:01 PM.
Reason: Fixed thread title