In only a moment, even a 'good dog' can attack
I NEVER dreamed that I would one day own small dogs, especially not little yappy critters like Chihuahuas. But here we are in a house (like most houses in Hawaii) too small to comfortably keep big dogs. My wife and I live in a nice, quiet residential community in Mililani, and I look forward to walking our two dogs every morning and evening at around sunrise and sunset. We usually take an enjoyable 15- to 20-minute stroll or jog around the neighborhood.
Most days, our walk is pleasant and uneventful; however, occasionally (especially in the past few months), we have had a few terrifying moments.
In the past two or three months, our dogs have been accosted and attacked by large, unleashed dogs on at least six separate occasions. It's always a different animal but a similar story: "I'm sorry, he's never done that before," or "Sorry, I just opened the door and he took off" or "I always let him sit out here, and he never left the yard before."
Sometimes the big dog is just curious, but it could get nasty if my little dog snaps at the big dog. On several occasions, big dogs attacked my dogs, and I had to literally swing my dogs by their leashes in a circle until the owners were able to call or drag their dogs away from us.
The most recent encounter has me considering carrying pepper spray and/or a baseball bat. We were walking past a house on a route that we've taken many times when a large German shepherd mix ran straight for my male Chihuahua. He ran silently, without warning, and I yanked my dog out of the way just as the bigger dog was about to chomp down on him. Fortunately, the dog's owner was near and called him off as I was swinging my dog in a circle just out of the shepherd's reach.
Pet owners, PLEASE keep your animals restrained! It only takes a moment for disaster to strike. My friend here in Mililani had his dog ripped out of his arms and mauled nearly to death a few years ago by a couple of pit bulls while he was taking out his trash. It took longer than two years for his dog to recover (at least physically). Another neighbor had her medium-size dog badly mauled by an unleashed dog recently. Always keep your dogs leashed or fenced.
Do it for your dog and do it for your bank account. Under the law, an owner slapped with a first leash-law violation is subject to a $50 fine. For two violations within two years, the fine is $100, and for three violations within two years, the owner faces a $500 fine and/or 30 days in jail.
That's nothing, however, compared with the pain, suffering and many thousands of dollars it might cost in medical bills that you will have to pay for someone else's dog (or child) when your dog attacks. Your own dog also could get hit by a car or be injured in the attack.
Be the pack leader -- YOU are responsible for your dog!
Doc Leeson lives in Mililani.