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Close Call, letter I sent to dog owners -UPDATE -Ellie just attacked

Discussion in 'Predators and Pests' started by jjthink, Dec 6, 2008.

  1. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    This is about an incident on Monday that could have ended in disaster for BJ roo and hen Ellie. The dog's guardian had rather an attitude when I brought the dogs back to her house - this is the first chance I've had to communicate with her since then. The note is reasonably polite because thank goodness no one was hurt and because I believe she got the message loud and clear the day it happened as I told her in no uncertain terms to keep her dogs in her yard. Maybe this will help somebody else dealing with a similar circumstance.

    (I refer to BJ and Ellie as "birds" in the note to her as I am trying not to draw attention to them being chickens - she hasn't actually seen them and for all I know could cause trouble as it's a small residential area)
    JJ


    December 6, 2008

    This has been an impossibly busy week for me or I would have written sooner. I am sorry we had to meet in the way we did.

    I hope this note will help you understand the anxiety you were met with Monday morning when we met (12/1). It started when I heard a terrible ruckus outside in my yard and ran out - I didn’t see my pet birds anywhere (they cannot fly so are very vulnerable to dogs). I only saw your dogs. They were both snarling and barring their teeth at me and it took me a long time to get them to come with me back to your place because every time I tried to get them to move they stood their ground, snarled and barred their teeth. It was a slow process of getting them to move a few feet at a time and then they would stand their ground again. At one point the larger dog bit my right hand. I had to yell to get him/her to let go. I am okay (though please shoot me a quick e-mail or leave a phone message on my machine to let me know if he has had his rabies shot - thanks). Traveling together, these dogs displayed a pack mentality with the snarling and barring of teeth. My birds would not have stood a chance had I not intervened in time.

    I had no idea where my pet birds were or if they were hurt but couldn’t go check on them until the dogs were back under your control. I knocked on your door for awhile and when you finally came to the door you seemed frustrated, saying you were busy with your baby, it was hard to care because at that moment I didn’t even know if my pets were still alive. You may have been busy with your baby but I was forced to be busy with your dogs. Every moment I was with your dogs or waiting for you or speaking with you might have been crucial to employ life saving measures for the birds had they needed them, or even god forbid, final goodbyes, and so for me every moment was an eternity till I could go check on them. And as I explained at the time, because of this situation I was very late for work, indeed for an extremely crucial meeting.

    Dogs are natural predators and because of the possibility of disaster they must be in the control of their guardians at all times. Let me please explain from personal experience why I must say this. And before I explain, please know I am an animal lover and have rescued many a homeless dog over the years. I do not dislike dogs. Heck, I ran into the middle of Route 29 in front of oncoming traffic to save a dog that was about to be hit. Even got a scratched cornea in the process of throwing me and him to the side of the road in the nick of time. And I would do it again.

    In past years, when I was caring for birds at another location just down the street, twice there were dog attacks. Once from a dog whose owner was never found and another time from a dog whose owner professed that she never thought her dog would do such a thing (that’s always the way). The birds were in their own yard - indeed even in their own house - where they should have been able to safe. In both cases, the vet bills were in the thousands (dog owner disappeared), the sweet birds suffered immeasurably for weeks on end, and I lost several weeks off work nursing them round the clock and thankfully back to health each time. The dog owners went on with their lives, never missing a beat. Our neighbor mentioned that your larger dog is a Rhodesian Ridgeback. As you likely know, they are known for their ability to hunt LIONS. Both Ridgebacks and Jack Russells are also renowned for their ability to ruthlessly murder ground dwelling birds. I am a member on a bird website. A heartbroken woman recently posted about a Rhodesian Ridgeback who tore to shreds her birds - she was left with a bloody massacre.

    There cannot be another breach. All is takes is one minute of distraction, dogs get loose and the suffering can be immeasurable.

    I am really sorry that I could not talk when you came down to my house a few minutes after I brought your dogs back. I had already explained to you when I was up at your house that I was tremendously late for work as a result of this and having to explain this again when you came down made me even more late. Being late for the crucial meeting was very bad – I inconvenienced a lot of people. I tried to explain to you that I had to leave, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to speak with you – I did - I just could not do it at that moment. I hadn’t even been able to verify yet that the birds were okay.

    While my birds seem to be okay, other than being very stressed and in hiding for 2 days afterward (this is bad enough), there can be fallout from these situations even if no one is maimed or killed. I lived it that morning. When I finally got on the road, I realized that in my haste I had grabbed the wrong earring backings so the earrings wouldn’t stay in and fell out onto the car floor. I reached down to try to find some pencils so I could rip the erasers off the ends and use them as temporary earring backings. In so doing, my cup of purple pomegranate juice spilled all over my green sweater. And in all the chaos with the dogs, I didn’t manage to bring a brush or comb with me. And then there was all the mud on my clothes from the dogs jumping on me. So I was quite the sight for this very important meeting! Erasers coming out the back of my ears, purple splotches on green sweater, hair looking like I had put my finger in an electric socket, dried mud stuck to me here and there. Truly a sight to behold.

    I believe what happened wasn’t in any way intentional and I hope you can understand why I was upset. I don’t know if you’ve ever had it happen to you (I hope not) but it is heartbreaking to see a being you love and have long cared for mauled and in agony and I pray it never happens again. It cannot happen again.

    I certainly wish we had met under better circumstances. Be well.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2008
  2. Cason

    Cason Chillin' With My Peeps

    That's a very nice letter.
    I would have said "Your dogs come over here again and they're DEAT MEAT".
     
  3. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    I needed that chuckle, thanks!

    Unlike the many posts I read here on BYC, in these parts people are not permitted to shoot things! Though believe me, if my feather-kids had been hurt, I would have been a horse of a different color.
    JJ
     
  4. PamsPride

    PamsPride Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Very nice letter. My letter however probably would have been a one liner too!
     
  5. birdlover

    birdlover Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 11, 2007
    Northern Va.
    Judy,
    I'm so glad BJ and Ellie are okay now. I think you handled it more than fairly. Tell us if you get any feedback from the lady after you send the letter. I'm happy to know that BJ is back in your loving care. That was quite a fiasco when you tried to home him with all those hens after Betty passed. :sigh: Life goes on, I guess.

    Ellen
     
  6. You should have put IRRESPONSIBLE owner and UNTRAINABLE dogs in you leter somewhere.

    People HAVE TO realize that they can not own a dog with out training it. Many have just allowed them to go to the basic dog mentallity that is the PACK mentallity.

    If I have seen this mentallity in supposed domestic pet dogs i would have led them to an encloser and dealt with them when I had a weapon to do so.

    This is unexcusable behaviour in both the dog and the owner. This will not have a goo ending. You will either loose your birds or the dogs will loose their lives.

    I would prefer that the dogs were choosen. You are going to get a hateful neighbor becuase they refuse to train their dogs and will blame you for anything that happens.
     
  7. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    Hey Ellen - It's so good to get your note! Thanks for remembering the trials along the way and for your kind words about BJ being back with me (since July 07 now...wow...it's already been a year and a half!). Oh how I love him. I guess he's probably getting to be somewhere near 8 now...At least 7 anyway. When he sees me and runs to me so eagerly my heart could burst. He's endured so many losses and I hope there are no more. His roo buddy Johnny years ago from an unknown illness. Then Betty from internal laying. Then leaving his friends at his temporary home. Then Annie from a heart attack - I won't forget the wail he let out when that happened. Broke my heart. In desperation he tried to offer her lifeless body food and yet I could tell he knew it was futile. And then his current companion Ellie nearly died from a myserious illness in September. Yeesh. Enough. He is such a sweet soul.

    I hear you everyone else. Believe me, dog lady got an earful that morning - I was loaded for bear and am pretty convinced she got the message then. This is just the follow up note. I had never met her till that morning so it was one he77 of a way to meet. I want her to comprehend that I am serious but not a nutcase because she may be more inclined to cooperate - just my assessment and I hope I'm right. If I catch the dogs loose again, it's going to get ugly.

    JJ
     
  8. mrsengeseth

    mrsengeseth Chillin' With My Peeps

    In the letter you said your hand got bit...how's your hand? Did they send an email or anything about rabies vacc??
     
  9. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

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    You are so nice to ask. My hand is fine, so long as the dog does not have rabies! I only delivered the note tonight so haven't heard back from them yet.

    JJ

    (I am realizing it must seem strange that I would wait 5 days to ask them that question. It has been the week from he77 and I didn't have a chance prior. I unexpectedly lost my job on Monday and also went public this week about the destruction of my property. The folks that live next to these dog owners developed their property in violation of laws, permits etc. and as a result my property has been flooding tremendously and the damages are significant. Tried to work it out with the property owner - no luck. And the town has refused to enforce their own rules. I've been bailing water for 5 years this month. Lost grand trees, house flooded, and so on. Finally went public to expose everybody and it's been absolute mayhem with press etc., though still no resolution. A lawsuit may be the only answer but impossibly expensive and I haven't found anyone to take on contingency. So, long story short, finally got around to the dog note tonight.)
     
  10. FrChuckW

    FrChuckW Father to all, Dad to none

    Sep 7, 2008
    Louisville, KY
    JJ

    I am sorry that you have to go through this. There are several things that you can try.

    In regards to your neighbor, report the dog bite to your local animal control authorities. It is very important that you do this as soon as possible. This dog may have a history, or they both might. They can confiscate the dog or have the owner quarintine the animal at home for observation. What if that had been a child that had gone out to check on the chickens? You could have been far more serously hurt than just a bite. Some communities have enacted one-bite laws where an animal that bites a human is put down automatically. Some have the three strike law. Also some communities have enacted ordinances and laws that certain breeds of dogs deemed dangerous if caught loose are put down automatically. I know Detroit has such an ordinance because they have become the PitBull breeding capital.

    But in any case, the animal owner is responsible for any medical bills that you encounter. Get a copy of your local animal ordinances and give a copy to your neighbor with the pertinent sections highlighted.

    Contact your local Bar association office and see if they can refer you to an attorney who is familiar with your kind of case. Most Bar associations have a referral list and usually you can get 1/2 hour consultation at no charge.

    If your local city counsel will not take action against the people that built the house without permits, etc. then go to the county or state if necessary. They could also be in violation of Federal statutes as well.

    I hope some of these suggestions help.
     

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