What’s a dog owner to do?

I bring another question to the people, specifically to the dog owners of the world.

Last night I took Winston and Zelda on a walk with Steve to the dog park, as per usual. We’re mingling with the dog owners and the pups are mixing it up. I think we are maybe there for 20 minutes? Anyhow, while we are discussing the unusually large number of crows hanging around the dog park (I’m talking like maybe 150), I turn to look at Zelda and Winston, because Winston has taken a liking to barking his smokers cough of a bark at large dogs. Now, I think this may eventually get him into touble with a big dog, but then again, I don’t speak bark, so I have no idea what he’s barking about.

So I look at the dogs and they are hanging around a golden lab kind of dog, when literally OUT OF NOWHERE the dog turns nasty, and in a split second, has grabbed Zelda by the throat, which in turn strikes the fear of 10,000 dogs into my heart as I hear Zelda let out the most earth-shattering, frightening dog scream I have ever heard. The lab shakes her a few times and lets go, and Zelda is laying on the grass SCREAMING for her life. Not whimpering, because if you had heard the noises she was making, you would have known the incredible amount of pain she was in.

She wouldn’t stop for a few seconds, and Steve and I gave her an EXTREMELY thorough once-ver to determine if she was bleeding.

This is the most terrified I have ever been in my life. To think that in under two seconds that another dog could end her life is absolutely more than I can bear to even think about. Thank the all-mighty Jesus himself, Zelda was okay, she was just screaming in fear. The dog did, however, break a blood vessel in her eye, at which point I began to think of our pug friend Winston Pugsworth , and how he was also attacked at the park. Luckily, we checked her eye at home and her reaction to light and she seems to be okay.

I remember seeing the man whose dog attatcked Zelda, and how he just kind of strolled over to his dog and made the dog sit down for a second. The man never apologized, and the man never asked if she was okay. In fact, he didn’t say a word to us.

This made me want to run over to him and kick him square in the balls.

How can a dog owner not even CHECK to see if the dog that THEIR dog attacked is okay? I mean, is that it? You just get to walk away after your dog viciously grabs another dog by the THROAT in an attempt to cause pain, and you don’t even feel like saying sorry? Is that the kind of world we live in? Even still, is the person liable if my dog gets seriously injured, or is that just the risk dog owners take when they bring their dog to play at the park? Last time I checked, people borught their dogs to the park to socialize and play, not to mame and try to kill other dogs. Yes, I know that sometimes conflict happens at the park, and some dogs don’t get along, but when someone’s dog viciously attacks my dog without any provoking (as she was just standing within reach, just STANDING), are they not responsible for taking the disciplinary action on their own dog after it attacks another dog?

Am I alone on this? I just don’t understand how after this man’s dog attacked my dog, that he wouldn’t have disciplined his dog, and never checked to see if Zelda was ALIVE still.

Not like I am looking to straight up sue a dude, but if either of my dogs ever attacked another dog, they would be flipped on their back so fast and held down for a HUGE time out that they wouldn’t know how they got there.

That’s it? You just get to walk off, scott free feeling totally fine with the fact that your dog tried to break another dog’s neck? If that’s the case, I am staying the hell away from the dog park. It’s not worth it.

20 Responses to “What’s a dog owner to do?”


  1. 1 Winston September 7, 2007 at 7:31 pm

    That other Dog’s owner’s conduct was outrageous! Common courtesy dictates that he should check on Zelda’s well-being. My injury was the result of a pre-existing condition, but I would encourage you to watch for any swelling of the eye, and if that occurs take Zelda to the emergency room vet immediately and ask to be referred to an eye specialist safety’s sake. What did me in was that the blood in my right eye built up and detached my retina. As far as liability, I have heard that (in Washington State) you must demonstrate negligent handling of an dog or cat unless the animal has already exhibited aggressiveness, in which the owner is strictly liable; but I am not certain how BC deals with it (you are in BC, right?). It would be hard to show negligence at an off leash park since animals can be off leash. I understand your conundrum, my parents are also very nervous about taking me back to the dog park. I hope everything turns out ok.

    The Grand Duke

  2. 2 LMizzle September 7, 2007 at 8:18 pm

    So you had a potential eye problem before the dog attacked you, Winston? Because Zelda has blood in her eye, not NEARLY as bad as you did, but it’s blood that is from a burst vein in her eye (maybe a drop), so I don’t know if she should be checked or not? Maybe I should just keep an eye on it over the weekend and make sure she’s healing okay?

  3. 3 Winston September 7, 2007 at 8:37 pm

    Yes,
    I had a pre-existing condition. My body thought that there was something wrong with my eye and had been sputtering blood into it. When the big doggie attacked me, he hit my eye and made the sputter into a hemorrhage. It would not have been serious otherwise (just a puggy black eye). I would say to keep an eye on her and look for any swelling of the eyeball or surrounding eyelid, or if you can actually see blood behind her pupil. You may also want to make sure she has sight by sneaking a finger along side her injured eye without touching her whiskers (that will alert her and skew the test). Any of those things may indicate that there is too much blood in here eye.

    The Grand Duke

  4. 4 LMizzle September 7, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    Okay, so I should try to touch her eye, or just bring a finger near her eye to see if she looks at it?

  5. 5 Winston September 7, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    Lmizzle,
    My parents just would bring it from the side to test my peripheral vision also. If you can actually almost touch her eye (and she’s not distracted) you may need to be a little concerned. However, the dogtomotrist told my parents that sometimes blood does get into the eyes without doing lots of damage. Since my case was really weird, I think that Zelda will probably be fine. Just keep any eye out for the symptoms just to be safe.

    The Grand Duke

  6. 6 LMizzle September 7, 2007 at 9:15 pm

    Thanks for the help Winston, you are a true puggy pal!

  7. 7 My Pugs Blogger September 7, 2007 at 10:00 pm

    OH MY GOD. I would have been freaking out and screaming at the owner of the other dog! I can’t believe he didn’t say anything to you!!!!! Terrible. I bet Zelda was scared and I bet she will be scared of big dogs for awhile…

    That’s the reason why we don’t take the girls out. One time we took Miko she got trampled by a bunch of big dogs and was scared of them ever since.

    I think you should take her to get her eye checked out. If it got scratched it could cause further injury.

    Give her big kisses from us!

  8. 8 Pug Mommy September 7, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    Poor Zelda!! Some people should not be allowed to own dogs! I hope she is feeling better. Keep us posted on the eye.

  9. 9 Winston Pugsworth's Mom September 7, 2007 at 10:46 pm

    I have to comment here, even though Winston has commented several times, because I just read your description of when the attack happened, and it literally gave me goosebumps because I was the only one there at the dogpark when Winston was attacked and it was SO SO similar to what you describe! The dog that attacked Winston didn’t grab onto him and shake him luckily, but the thing was Winston made a SCREAMING noise like I have never heard a dog make in my life. You described it exactly, it was pure dog terror, not at all like whimpering or whining or yelping. Anyway, I just wanted to say I know how you felt in that second, watching your baby’s life flash before your eyes and hearing that horrible screaming! So scary! I’m sure Zelda will be fine, I think we humans are much more upset by things like this than the dogs are.
    -Winston’s Mom.

  10. 10 Anonymous September 8, 2007 at 12:20 am

    Greeetings from Missouri! Just wanted to let you know that I recently started reading your blog, and I love it.
    I just had to comment on what happened to your Zelda. We bring our pug to the dog park on a regular basis, but it is split into a big dog area and a small dog area. There is a commom area with benches under a pavillion that both sized dogs are allowed in. We have never had a problem(thank goodness!) with our dog being attacked, but I have seen a few bigger dogs acting aggressive towards each other. According to the rules to the parks we visit:
    Aggressive dogs are not allowed and owners are legally responsible for their dogs and any injuries or damage caused by their dogs.
    The two times I did see other dogs acting aggressive, their owners left with them immediatly.
    I hope that your next visit to the park is more enjoyable.

  11. 11 tjam September 8, 2007 at 12:28 am

    OMG I will phone you ASAP to discuss!!!!

  12. 12 In Pug We Trust September 8, 2007 at 1:06 am

    Hi Lmizzle. I’m Newton’s Mom, and I stumbled upon your blog on Winston’s page. The behavior of that dog owner was absolutely appalling. If a dog of mine had done that, I would have, first, had a heart attack and, second, after I recovered I would have rushed to see if the other dog was OK. I would have even offered to take the dog to the vet.

    I can’t imagine how scary it must have been to hear your sweet little pug scream like that. I hope Zelda’s eye heals quickly. Keep us updated.

    Newton’s Mom

  13. 13 LMizzle September 8, 2007 at 5:32 am

    Thanks for the well-wishes everyone! Zelda seems to be doing really well, so I think we avoided a catastrophe on this one.

    There aren’t rules posted at this dog park, which sucks, because there really should be an area for smaller dogs to play. Actually, Winston and Zelda are really good normally around big dogs (except when Winston decides to start barking), it was just the OTHER dog that kind of put the kink in things.
    They were playing with a GIANT dog just a few minutes before the attack happened. The big dogs seem to really like Winston and Zelda, but this dog was bad news.
    The lab had one of those spiky choke collars on too, which I think is awful in the first place, and I also think that the collar instills the notion in the dog that violence is the problem-solver of choice…

  14. 14 Princess Pointful September 8, 2007 at 7:55 am

    While I’m not a dog owner, that seems like pretty shitty behaviour no matter which way you look at it. Imagine if someone just sat back if their kid started choking another kid??
    Poor little Zelda-bee. Glad she’s ok.

  15. 15 Kara September 8, 2007 at 10:25 pm

    Are you kidding me – no apology? When things like that happen you are in such shock that you forget to react – ie kicking the man in the balls. I’m so glad she is ok.

  16. 16 Punchbugpug September 9, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    This is so crazy that you said this happened! On vacation Chloe and Marty got attacked by the Boxer in the condo apt. below us, each on a different occasion. Neither were hurt, but that was because of our quick thinking and a lot of yelling to the other owners. They at least asked if everything was okay and stuff. 2 weeks ago our friends Pug, who weights over 30 pounds was grabbed by the neck and shaken by a retriever visiting their family and another Meetup friend told us their Pug got grabbed by a large dog (sorry can’t recall the breed) and that dog actually punctured a hole near his HEART!!! I have taken never walking my four at the same time as I am afraid if there was an attack when we were all together I could not protect them all! The owner of that dog should have been reported. Accidents can happen, but I’m not sure I like the dog parks where big and small dogs mix. I’d get the eye checked to be safe.

  17. 17 Ike September 10, 2007 at 3:17 am

    I like the idea of a dog park, but a lot of injuries happen in them – especially when you have a small dog and most of the other dogs are big. Any small-dog parks in Vancouver?
    I know parks can be really fun for the dogs, but I often wonder if they are worth the risk.
    Emily and Ike

  18. 18 Christine & Giggs September 10, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    The thought often crosses my mind when we go to the dog park. We have a little dog section but no one is ever in it (unless we’re at our pug meet).

    I’m so sorry this had to happen to sweet little Zelda. I wonder if this dog has done it before, given his owner’s nonchalant reaction. Scary.

    Giggs made that screaming noise once and it is a sound I hope I never have to hear again from any animal. I hope she’s not scarred for life by this incident.

  19. 19 Goodboy Norman Featherstone September 11, 2007 at 3:39 pm

    You are so right. I would have bitched that dude up one side and down the other. I mean SCREAMING bitching at him. I bet the cops would have been called the bitching would have been so fantastic!

  20. 20 M. Tornado Puppy September 2, 2008 at 6:34 pm

    i’m here to tell ya, the dog parks are crazy. i’m a big ole lab and i got throat-pinned to the ground just a couple months ago.

    dogs off-leash = possible teeth gnashing. i’m learning this the nervous way.

    all said, though, that owner deserved a strong kick in the balls for not taking responsibility and showing concern … or mayhap you should’ve flipped HIM over on his back for a while! jerk!


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