I think my dogs might have killed another dog

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Steely, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Last night I was walking my 3 dogs, on leash, as I always do and a daschaund he wanders the neighborhood off leash just walked right up to the 3 dogs. The 2 bigger ones, both mixed breeds, but appx 50lbs, absolutely tore into this poor little daushand. One had one side of her, and the other had her neck.........and they would not let go. It was like watching a Nature special of lions eating their prey. I screamed so loud for them to stop and tried to pull them away and off of the dog -but I did not want to let them off the leash because I was afraid they would take off with the dog, so it hindered me trying to get them all apart. I finally could get in the middle and literally had to choke my dogs with their collars to get them to drop the little thing. It was absolutely traumatizing. I was screaming so loud I peed - there was blood - the little dog was yelping. It was absolutely horrible. I still cannot even look at my dogs I am so disgusted at them. I don't know if the small dog made it, although he ran away, it seemed my dogs really hurt it. I don't know where he lives. My dogs have never done this - and I never thought them to be aggressive. I don't know if they thought the little dog was prey and they acted like a pack - or if they are just horrible mean dogs.
    What do you think I should do?
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Have they ever done anything like this before?

    If not, maybe he smelled of something that YOU couldn't smell, that offended them?

    Maybe it IS the pack mentality.

    I'm sure the owner took care of the problem... If it ran off, it's likely just fine.

    {{{HUGS}}} I know how this feels. It's horrible.
  3. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    OMG Steely...I'm so sorry you had to see that. And that poor little dog!!! I hope he made it.

    How are your dogs acting now? Are they acting as if they did anything wrong? I've never had dogs do this so I'm not real sure. I would definately go back to the area where you were at and see if you can figure out where the little one lives.

    Minimum, I would call a vet and without giving your name, tell them what happened and ask their opinion. I hate to say it though but....from what I know, if dogs do that once, it can happen again and, I'm so sorry, you may need to put them down. If they have it in their head that anything little is now prey and they were to get loose or away from you....it could be tragic. Also, from a legal standpoint, you could be held liable if it were to happen again.

    If I read your post right, you said only 2 of them attacked. What was the third doing?

    Again, I'm so sorry this happened. Sending many, many calming hugs.
  4. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    What a terrible thing!

    I am NOT a lawyer, but my understanding of the law as it applies to dog attacks is that the dog that is "off leash" is always at fault. If the little dog's owner had their dog properly under control, this attack would not have occurred (and yes, that argument WILL hold up in court!).

    Dogs will defend their territory and they will put other dogs in their place for violating their space. That is just instinct. A little dog that boldly invades the space of a larger animal is asking for trouble (which is why the owner should have had him under control).

    The catch-22, however, is that now you are legally "on-notice" that you own two vicious dogs. Any further incidents WILL be your fault, regardless of the circumstances. If a small child wanders into your fenced yard, you could be liable for injuries because you knowingly harbor "vicous dogs".

    My advice is to get a highly skilled trainer that can help you get these two firmly under control so that in the event a similar encounter with another dog should happen--you will be able to prevent your animals from actually attacking.

    Short of that--you may have to consider euthanasia...if only to protect yourself from lawsuits later on...

    So sorry!

  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Steely.....I called Jamie to verify your legal standing in this. Legally you are in the clear. You had your dogs on the leash. You were not on the other dogs property. You were on a public sidewalk or road. The other dog was unleashed and roaming freely.

    What happened was pack mentality. Your dogs would not be considered "aggressive animals" in this case. You may want to consider walking them separately for a bit though.

    Does this help? Jamie says he is so sorry but he hopes his advice calms your nerves some.
  6. Lothlorien

    Lothlorien Active Member Staff Member

    That must have been very traumatizing. I hope you find out that the dog is okay.
  7. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    I am going to try and make you feel a little better----

    You might want to wear some depends on your next walk...
    I am so sorry you had to go through this.
  8. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I am so sorry steely.

    No advice, just hugs.
  9. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Toto......you did make me smile:D Thanks.

    Janet, thanks for asking Jamie about this. That makes me feel better.

    No the dogs did not act lilke they did anything wrong afterwards - however - I have to say that I live in a wide desert area. When we go on walks there are bunnies, lizards, and many other animals that they try and catch. It is a hard atmosphere for a dog not to feel like he is on the "hunt". I think to them it felt like the small dog was just something else to catch. Do you think this means that they are viscous, or a liabiility, and should be put down? Or do you think something is wrong with their brains? Or do you think this is a normal pack mentality for dogs to defend, hunt, and protect?
    (The third dog was on a much shorter leash so I had total control over him and he was not involved.
    He is only 15lbs - so that is the irony - my 2 bigger dogs have never been aggressive towards the smaller one. I guess they know he is part of their pack?)
    I guess I just want to know if this is normal behavior for dogs in this scenario.
  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    How scary! I'd be really upset too. in my opinion, you were NOT at fault in any way. Your dogs were on leash, and the "vicitm" was NOT. Maybe the owners will think twice about letting their pet roam freely now. It's a shame that had to happen, but it's not your fault, and it's really not your dogs' fault either.
  11. mstang67chic

    mstang67chic Going Green

    I think in this scenario you may be better off consulting with an expert. Maybe a vet or a good dog trainer...see what they say and then go from there.
  12. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Steely, I asked Jamie if they would be considered "aggressive" in the legal sense. In his opinion as an ACO, he said no. The fact that your dogs were in a pack and acting as a pack, that leads to a certain behavior. If you had one dog who acted that way, take the infamous pitbull situations, where they walk down the street and just snarl and attack at will, then that is considered aggressive. Even a Toy Poodle who did that could be considered aggressive.

    Jamie has to make these decisions every day. This is what his decision would be in your case.
  13. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    I would seek out a trainer for some socialization and lunging correction techniques. I would also not walk either dog outside my fenced in yard without a nylon or basket muzzle until they had this behavior corrected.
  14. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Oh, I am so sorry.

    been there done that. It's a scenario I will never forget. Nor will you.

    Actually, I had it happen twice.

    I had Borzoi, and they are known to go after small prey. Problem is, they don't know the diff between a crow, a possum, a cat or a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.
    And that's only breakfast.

    with-the dog, it was THEIR fault, as the neighbors' dog was OFF LEASH, same as in your case. Except that I had warned them on several occasions that the little string they used to tie up their dog was not good enough and if their dog got into my yard, it was all over.
    The screaming ... OMG, I know what you mean.

    Even though it was their fault, we pd half the vet bill because we're nice people. :sick:

    The time with-the cat, my dogs got out of the yard and tore this poor old kitty to shreds. It was 18 yrs old and deaf and sound asleep. That time, I was the one who screamed. I stood on the owner's doorstep and sobbed while he said he was going to get a gun and kill my dogs.
    I was so mad at my dogs, I told him to go ahead. :mad:

    Actually, I was scared and angry at the same time. :sad-very:

    I consulted my vet and a professional trainer and they both agreed that my dogs were fine, just that they needed to be on leash at all times.

    I would take yours to a trainer and see if they were protecting you, (in their minds) or if the daschsund looked like a snack. Hard to tell sometimes.

    Don't be surprised if you're mad at your dogs for a cpl wks. It's okay.
    It's hard for us to realize that our dogs are not human, after all. It takes time.
  15. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    I hope the little dachshund is OK, but honestly, his owners are the ones to blame - not you or your dogs! If they are careless enough to allow their dog to wander the neighborhood, it's just a matter of time before something bad will happen to him, either a run-in with bigger dogs or getting hit by a car. It's a good sign that he was able to run away though. Maybe having to pay vet bills will be a wake up call to the owners that he shouldn't be roaming the neighborhood. I think I would also consult a trainer and see what they recommend. It could be that the 'pack mentality' kicked in and that neither one would have done that if they were alone. Many dogs are 'prey aggressive' and it's not necessarily a fatal fault, you just have to take steps to minimize the opportunity. And I would make sure to walk them separately, not together. I've tried to take my dogs places with all three on leashes and even under the best of circumstances, it's chaos!

    My mixed breed, Freebie, is extremely prey aggressive. She's nine now and came to me as an almost starved half-grown puppy. She's great with other dogs, even small ones, and her first instinct is to make friends with them and play. But anything else better look out, especially if it comes near her food! She has even killed a kitten or two who came too close to her turf. It broke my heart but there is no way to prevent it. When we lived in the country and she was outside a lot she would kill rabbits, squirrels, chipmunks, even a rat or two. She was well fed by then and never ate them but she killed them. A few times she even lined them up in the yard to show them off to me! I would get upset at her but then I had to remind myself that killing little things like that was how she stayed alive before she wandered in to my yard and adopted me as her owner. That instinct is so ingrained in her that even though she's never been really hungry in nine years, she will still go after small animals.
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2009
  16. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Steely. If I were you I would, just to be on the safe side, muzzle your dogs. However, nylon muzzles are meant only for short term use like that at the vet or the groomers.

    They do not allow the dog to open it's mouth at all, and hence it cannot pant to cool itself.

    A dog, especially one in a hot climate, can overheat within MINUTES if unable to pant.

    You want high quality viny-coated wire BASKET muzzles that allow the dog to pant while still protecting others from its jaws.

    Also, be aware that many dogs that are gentle and friendly in the house and yard can become quite aggressive on a leash. The leash cuts their territory down to a very small "bubble" that many will defend viciously.
  17. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Thanks guys.......
    Janet it makes me feel better Jamie thought they were not considered a habitually aggressive animal. Thank you for asking.

    I will not walk them together anymore - and I am going to get them a pinch collar for when I do walk one of them, so I have more control. And no more retractable leashes. That is what made me not have as much control as well. For now, they are going to have to be lazy bums, and hang out inside - cuz I can't take chancing it right now.

    I guess I have to realize they are dogs, not robots, or humans. Anything can make them go primal - especially if they are in a pack mentality. They are not flawed for having instincts. We as humans domesticated them.

    I told Matt about it, and he said yea, well I bet the dauschand was talking all kinds of trash to D and S and they got p!ssed off. What a perfect difficult child analogy. I think Matt can probably relate to this kind of thing more than me. He knows what it feels like to go primal in his anger. I still can't get over the poor little puppy that was a victim, but Matt relates more to the our dogs.
  18. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    If you had seen some of the pictures I've seen, you'd be throwing that retractable leash right in the garbage! I don't have one and I'd never really thought about it before but some of the people on the dog board I frequent have gotten the equivalent of very serious rope burns from them! One had a horrible long deep wound all the way across her hand. Another girl got the leash wrapped around her leg and she had a half-inch deep wound spiraling down around her leg - serious enough to take many weeks to heal and leaving a big ugly scar!
  19. ctmom05

    ctmom05 Member

    I think GoingNorth posted a very important bit of information here, that bears repeating. Many of us come here for advice on how to handle a particular situation and it helps to think of the proper application of the info given.

    Many of us have pooches need a muzzle on them for grooming purposes or as a behavioral intervention. I can't stress enough the point that GoingNorth made about what the muzzle should be made of, if it is to be on for more than a few minutes. You need the wire kind that will allow the dog to pant!

    Think of a person being left in a sealed hot car, how beastly warm it gets in there and they can't breathe well. This is what your doggy would feel like with a muzzle that won't allow them to pant. Even if it is not HOT to you, it may be hot to your animal.
  20. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Steely, it is my understanding that the dog on leash is in the right and the dog off leash is at fault. Having said that, there are instances when a dog gets out of the fenced yard through no fault of it's own or the owner since roaming is dog mentality too.
    My heart goes out to the dog and to you. I know you must be traumatized. It makes me sick to think about being there and a part of the chaos.

    The retractable leash is a danger especially for big dogs. You don't have the control needed when something goes wrong. I keep my Cowboy's locked to a short leash except when I allow him to make a pit stop along the way but I am always wary. He is not dog aggressive but he will "protect" me to the death if he feels I'm threatened.
    I keep the two kids on a loose leash but they only have 2 or 3 ft of length until it is a tight leash. We walk and they have to be close by. Now, my dogs are a mellow breed by nature but they are protectors. I walk the woods a lot and have run into people who are comfortable letting their dogs of leash. Everyone says "oh he won't hurt you" I hate that. It's like "boys will be boys". I'm not worried about being hurt as much as being in the middle of a dog fight. I wish I could write them a ticket.

    by the way, almost everytime I have heard my dogs growl it's been because a small dog is acting aggressive with them. Usually a male with my female. It's almost comical but I step in right away. I don't want my dogs put in a situation where they will act like dogs and hurt something or someone.

    I feel for you. What a horrid experience.