Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Keeping Dog Park A No-Bite Zone

Those of you who are on the listserv have already gotten the e-mails about two incidents that have involved aggressive dogs at Dog Park. In one, a regular Dog Park dog (Crockett, who lives at the edge of the Park) was attacked and injured by a non-regular, a pit bull brought out by the owner's roommate. The attack happened right before Christmas. Crockett's owners, Andrea and Drew, say that Crockett is recovering and that they were able to contact the owner, who is paying the medical bills.

Then last night came a notice from Carl, our listserv master, about an aggressive black lab that cornered a TxDoT employee on the afternoon of New Year's Eve. According to the employee, neither the dog's owner nor bystanders (other Parkers!) seemed overly concerned.  If the dog were a regular at the Park, I can't believe someone would not have stepped in, which leads me to think the dog and its owners were newbies. Not cool, newbies! In response to that e-mail, two fellow Parkers mentioned to me that they separately encountered an older man walking Monday with a badly behaved, medium-sized, black dog on leash. The guy actually warned, "Ladies, you'd better put your dogs on leashes." Hmmph. Ladies? As if. Another Parker reported that the guy had trouble controlling his dog when it met other dogs. Honestly. We should put up a sign: "It is true; this is NOT a dog park. You are invited to walk here ONLY if your dog is well behaved, and you are capable of picking up its poop."

To what do we owe these recent disruptions? It seems that every year around this time, something unpleasant happens at Dog Park, and before we know it, Animal Control begins visiting on a regular basis. Part of it, don't you think, is that the cooler weather brings out more people and dogs. Also, as others have noticed, the apartments/condos across the street from Dog Park are beginning to fill up in earnest. (As one Parker told me, there always seems to be a mattress truck parked illegally out front now.) An influx of newbies always upsets the mix at Dog Park. New folks don't know the rules. Old folks aren't always so welcoming. (My Muzzy is a notorious non-welcomer. She busts a move on every new dog, which is rarely well received by either the dog or the owner. I have noticed, though, that she is less likely to be obnoxious when Roma  is not with us. Also, taking her to other parks where she is not queen bee has helped give her some perspective. But, still, some day, she's gonna get hurt, and an "I told you so" will not staunch any wounds.) The lesson I try to instill in her is simple: "Good things rarely result from acting territorial, unless you are Alexander the Great, and you are not."

So lately I have tried to be more alert and cautious when meeting new dogs and their owners. In the past, I have often forgotten to bring a leash for Muzzy, but now I try keep one handy, and I make a big show of snapping it on her when she acts like a spaz. Let's be careful out there. Let's keep Park a no-bite zone. Stay safe and stay warm.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, the annual picking off of the unsuspecting dog walkers. With all the leaves off the trees you can easily scan the parking lots from almost anywhere in the park for the telltale white trucks with the round COA logo. If you're smart, you'll have a leash with you and your dog(s) actually respond to the word "come!"

    Good luck to all and let the games begin.


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