A Neighbor has Threatened My Dogs
(Willard, MO, USA)
We rescued 3 years ago first one abandoned on a country road a male Pit Bull, then 1 year later another was dumped at a liquor store in a small town on a busy highway. I did my vet stuff and got them both fixed immediately and for the past 3 or 4 years they have been enclosed in a large acre yard with an electric fence and locked gate.
They were never allowed to run and were always gentle and non aggressive to anyone except the dogs ALL my neighbors let run loose. Because we're in the country they think it's ok. Today only after we saw one of our dogs on the outside of the electric fence, did our other neighbor call and tell me that they attacked the dogs in his yard and one of those dogs was badly injured.
Our dogs finally came back to our yard and the male was badly injured and bleeding, so we took him to our Vet. She said he was bitten under his belly, ears, legs, mouth and side so we left him overnight for treatment and rest and pain shots. The other dog was taken to another vet nearby and that Vet put the dog down.
I was very upset, as an animal lover, I called the person whose dog died and said how sorry I was and that I would pay for the Vet bill. He said he didn't care about the bill and the bottom line was that his dog was dead. He also said he called the county sheriff and that he hated Pit Bulls and if they didn't do anything about my dogs, he would.
When the sheriff came out, I asked to talk to them and she came to our gate and I gave a report of how all the neighbors dogs run loose tormenting ours through the fence, chasing cars and misbehaving. She said pretty much that he was responsible for his dogs being loose as well as I was, but not really anything except maybe small claims court could he do. I told her he sounded like he was threatening me and was afraid he might shoot or poison our dogs.
Anyway after inspecting our fence we found that a tree branch from yesterday's wind had blown down, taking the electric fence out at one section and that's how the dogs got out. I have made every attempt to make sure they were secure from the first day I rescued them and feel very badly that a dog was killed by my dog.
I don't know what to do. I know it will be difficult to find another good home for them, but living now in fear that he will do something to them when I'm not home. People that hate Pit Bulls cannot be convinced of their value.
Even my Vet said that our dog wasn't vicious, but try telling that to the person whose dog is dead.
I didn't know where to write or who to talk to. We have a pen that is secure, smaller, but a large size of about 200x200 feet with welded wire fence and we could keep them in. I'm afraid that something will fall on the fence again and this happen again. The neighbor's yard that they got through had one of their tree branches fall on our fence too.
Well that's about all I can say, except I feel badly for the dead dog. Neighbors continue to let their dogs run loose and then when mine has done something, because he's a Pit Bull, they want blood it seems. Please help if you can. Should I find them another home further out? I can't be sure if I do give them to someone else they'll be taken care of like I have.Gale's Reply:
I appreciate your concern here. I also live in a rural community so I know how ugly "fence line feuds" can get. And law enforcement often takes a "there's nothing we can do until something happens" position. On the other hand, people do say things in the heat of the moment that they don't really mean or would never really act on. With your neighbor, it's hard to know which it is.
Either way, your best line of defense is to bring your dogs indoors. I know they aren't puppies anymore and they haven't been house trained. But that doesn't mean they can't be.
Making the transition will solve your two biggest problems--keeping your dogs safe and preventing a recurrence of the previous tragedy. And, there's a bonus too. You get to spend more time with your dogs and build a stronger bond with them.
You will need to spend some time and perhaps money on training them and creating a workable set up for them inside your home. In this scenario, your dogs would live primarily indoors and go outside for play and potty time when you are there to keep an eye on things.
The other alternatives you mentioned of putting your dogs in a more secure fence or re-homing them are possibilities. But, as you already recognize, they both have their downsides. And, at the end of the day, do you really want to give up your dogs?
I would continue, over time, to try to patch things up with the neighbor. But, regardless of whether or not that's possible, I think your best course of action will be to bring your dogs inside.
Good luck. Feel free to post back here with updates.