A Neighbor has Threatened My Dogs

by Sharon
(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:

Hi Sharon:

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.

Comments for
A Neighbor has Threatened My Dogs

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Nov 05, 2011
horrible situation
by: Amy

Thank you for rescuing these 2 Pitties...it is important to note Pit bulls are family dogs, they need to be with the family...not left outside.

I 100% dis-like electric fencing for just this reason. It does not keep other dogs OUT and mother nature can cause problems with the mechanics of electricity.

It is always recommended you have at least a 6 ft hight stockade fence. People that do not like Pit Bulls will taunt them...thus a Chain Link serves only to compile the pent of anxiety.

With this breed they are so in tuned with vibs from people, good or bad. So proper training for confidence is a must.

IF, I mean this with not dis respect, IF your dogs were not socialized but rather rescued - vetted - then left to live outside....then with or with out a fence something horrible was bound to happen. Wheither you live in the country or city dogs need to be socialized and trained, no matter what their age or prior living situation.

I would recommend that the dog that was involved with the fight be professionally evaluated. If he/she proves to be of an aggressive nature then check into a foundation that has a ranch type facility with a no kill policy, perhaps they can rehabilitate. Otherwise you are going to be left with the other 2 options: Pass off the liability to someone else to live further out in the country but possible harm another animal - further impacting the already negative media on Pit Bulls or euthanize.

Again thank you for taking in these Pitties however, they NEED to be socialized and trained.

Nov 05, 2011
Keeping the dogs in
by: Anonymous

I agree with your comments wholeheartedly. I'm not giving them up and one of the reasons we have them in our country yard - there aren't any walkers by or other neighbors close is that along with rescuing dogs I've rescued cats and have had up to 9 at one time. I have 8 now and they're all indoors. The female Brandy does not like cats and I'm afraid I'd have some dead ones on my hands.

Has anyone ever trained dogs like that to like cats?
I felt bad to not have them be in all the time, but we have a huge, insulated dog house and we rescued the second one for a companion to Bruno the male, both were fixed as soon as I got them and shots.
At first she didn't like him, but after a while they did get along even playing together.
I've had others tell me they have a better home and life than they did when they were dumped and we're home all day and in the yard interacting with them. My only concern in the indoor situation is the cats. I rescued 4 in one litter, had them all fixed and they're now 2 years old.
I have a 16 year old Pom with a heart problem and he gets very excited and barks constantly, so there's that too.

If I only had Bruno and Brandy, I'd definitely keep them in. I'm not going to give them away or anything else. I hope the neighbor will see that it was an accident of nature on my fence and not have revenge on his mind.

If I had another solution at this time, I would do it, but I'm sort of stuck. If I didn't take these dogs in the first place, they would have died or got hit by a car on the country highways. I took the first one thinking I'd find the owner, but to no avail, so I kept him and then the second one was dumped and we got her for a companion dog and that's worked out really good.

It seems when there are animals out there that need saving, I've been the one so at least I meant well and now three years down the road, this is the first incident and I pray the last.

I might try bringing them in to see if I could get them used to the cats. Wish me luck and thanks for your help.

Sharon

Nov 05, 2011
Protection
by: Amanda

I agree with gayle that the safest option for your dogs is to be brought indoors. Pitbulls are naturally a social breed, but also high energy and when not supervised and trained on how to handle situations can respond naturally but inappropriately. I commend you for rescuing two dogs whose histories you did not know, but worry that it has maybe held you back from fully trusting them.

My dogs were involved in an 'attack' (no one was touched by my dogs) resulting in both being shot and one being killed, because their breed looks intimidating and they were barking. I also live rural (village) and word spread like wildfire. It was claimed my dogs killed multiple animals and every version was more gruesome than the next. We also contemplaeted finding him a new home, but decided instead to fight it. We walked him at the busiest times through town, and exposed everyone to our dog. We showed them how gentle he was, and even if they didnt like pitbulls atleast showed them, he wasnt vicious.

I think if you bring the dogs inside it will remove their risk of being harmed while you are away and will give them the training they need on how to handle situations when you are home. If your neighbour backs off with the threats try walking the dogs and when you run into a loose dog use that opportunity to teach your dog proper socializing. Although we have many dogs who behave ideally naturally, we have to remember some still need to be taught. :)

Nov 05, 2011
love pit bulls!!
by: Anonymous

First i have to say i feel badly about you situation. Having a pitbull myself i know what you are going through he is my one & i have had him for almost 6yrs & got him from a shelter at 9 months. i agree with the other people who posted comments. That you can train your dogs to be happy inside dogs. When i first got my buddah he was kept in a crate when i wasn't home for the first 2yrs that i had him. I hated always putting him in there but he was fine with it put his toys & blankets in with him. one day i just decided to leave him out i did it a few hrs each day & he was fine he stayed on my bed looking out the window all the time or sleeping. He was such a good boy in the house so you should try that with your dogs train them to be inside dogs. I walk buddah 1 time a day & he is in the house most of the time & he couldn't be happier. some people are cruel towards pitbulls & it is very sad because to me they are the best dogs in the world. good luck with your dogs.

Nov 05, 2011
Training dogs to like cats
by: Amanda

My female also likes to chase cats and barks at them outside. Interesting though when I take her to the vet (they have a few that live there) she is completely uninterested. I think its more the chase, or game in it. You could try kenneling (to ensure everyone's safety) your dog in the house with the cats around to expose them. And correct any bad reactions increasing how close they can get to each other etc as they get used to each other. Also being inside doesn't need to mean having free run of the house. You could kennel them while you are out, or even keep the dogs in a room behind closed doors with the cats in another room. Hope that helps!

Nov 06, 2011
Don't let your neighbor bully you
by: Anonymous

It is a shame what happened but no one can tell you to get rid of your dog or put it down with out going to court first. I am not sure what state you are in but most states are some what the same on the dog issue. Both dogs got into a fight and it is a shame that the other dog had to b put down and that yours got injured too. Most cops try to scare the people into putting their dogs down after something like this happens and some cops will even tell you that you have to put your dog down after something like this happens but the cops can not make you put your dog down at all. You have to go to court and be seen in front of a judge and they will determine if your dog will be considered a dangerous dog and if so most places make you register your dog and pay a bunch of money to do all the stuff to register it. Only the judge cn tell you wether your dog is to be put down or not. If the neighbor is threatning you , I again would talk to the police and tell them you want a report made so that if by chance your neighbor does shoot or poison your dog , you will have a report saying that he threatened you about it. Play it smart. Make sure to make a report on anything he does or says. I agree that the dogs should be brought in and only let out under supervision so nothing happens to them. Look up your local dog laws and know your rights. I am a volunteer with humane investigations and we come across the neighbor stuff alot and you really have to watch out for your dogs. They will throw poisoned food over fences so your dog eats it, They will pour poisons around like antifreeze or we have even seen a neighbor bust up glass and put it inside meatballs and throw them over so the dog will get cut up inside, Nails and tacs too. People are too crazy now days to take such threats lightly. I hope I helped some so just please keep a close eye on your dogs every second they are outside. Bring them in the house and protect them.

Nov 06, 2011
bringing them inside
by: Anonymous

I would put the cats in one room or 2 and shut them in there and let the dogs smell the scents first and then slowly introducing the cats one by one. That would even work with your little dog too. I know alot of people who do it this way so they are not chasing and killing one another. Good luck.

Nov 06, 2011
Thanks for all your kind words and advice!
by: Anonymous

I didn't think of the crate thing, but might get a large enough one for both or two separate ones and put them in it to see how they do. I have a stairway to the basement and the cats know they can run there to escape even each other because some of my cats don't like the others bothering them, but usually no blood is drawn, just a lot of screaming that scares the dickens out of me. Do they have crates large enough for two 60 pound (pretty compact) Pits? Then at night or when we're gone, they could be in there.
All the land around us is dairy or cattle grazing land, so no sidewalks or people just walking by. We live on a .2 mile gravel lane at which you would have to unlock a gate, but the scare is what one person said that they could throw meat over from the side of the land that we can't observe all day long. When they got out of the smaller yard, they ran around like they were in heaven, but I will consider all advice from you out there that have been through it to be more vigilant, trying the indoor thing and not giving up on them.
When we got both of them each at a different time, the Vet said there was no evidence that they had ever been fought, no scars or healed areas and I believe the male was an indoor dog, couch potato.
Since it looked like the female had been bred over and over according to the Vet, she was not as happy indoors and may have been in a kennel situation all her life. Once they got used to each other they would sleep on a love seat in the sun room close together. I love both of them and will not part with them. One good piece of this puzzle is that the woman Sheriff that came out, believe it or not, a County Sheriff who covers a large Greene County area around Springfield was SO nice and SO understanding and basically said he was responsible for his dog out of his yard and I was for mine. So it goes with these dogs. I had the same stigma when I had two Rotties from puppies, but they lived to be 10 and 11 and never had a problem, but then again, when they were outside, they were fenced in an acre area just as Bruno and Brandy are. Before that I loved Dobermans, had many, never a problem. It's the dog owners as we all know that make them vicious, not the dogs. So in closing, please accept my thanks for helping me through this and I'll keep you posted. Where can I send pictures of my two babies to share?

Nov 17, 2011
Threatened too!
by: Anonymous

I rescued a pit or pitty mix from a shelter I volunteered at when he was 4 months old. I also rescued an unknown mixed breed from a low income apartment complex when she was 6 weeks old (tied up outside with no water in 95 degree heat....riddled with parasites inside and out.)

We recently moved to a new neighborhood in Suburban California. We have a secure backyard that we use when we are home for exercise (mostly tennis ball and dog play) and bathroom breaks. I also leash walk both of my dogs daily. Both of the dogs got out when my husband forgot to re-secure the gate after taking the hose through to wash his car. Having been raised at dog parks, cafes and with children and adults all around, my dogs are very well socialized...maybe too well socialized. My pitty ran up to say "Hi!" My neighbor ran into his garage, my pit followed him. He felt threatened. When I found out 2 weeks later, I went over to apologize, explain the my dogs are not a threat and to tell him that it will not happen again. I could not get a word out. He started screaming at me that all pits are dangerous and if he saw my dog out again he, and another neighbor, would kill him. I know it is totally my fault that the dogs were out, but I cannot believe that I could not get the apology out...nothing but screams and threats! Being new to the neighborhood, I am devastated! I had been really happy here. I know there nothing I can do but keep the dogs in there crates and leash walk them...for their own protection! My friend had a Chowchow who was poisoned by a neighbor who did not like the breed!

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