This is a very difficult story for me to tell but I think it necessary, what with all the talk I’ve had about unleashed dogs on this blog of late.
For the record, I understand things happen with pets. My brother mentioned his dog getting out of their fence occasionally – I am completely aware of that problem, and unfortunately have dealt with it personally.
My dogs are on a regular 4-foot wooden fence and an invisible fence – they need both to prevent my escape artist beagle from climbing the fence, and to keep the tough-dog doberman from not caring about a little shock. About 4 years ago (the last time the dogs escaped), a dog who was notoriously always off his leash came into my dogs’ yard and taunted them at the edge of the fence until my dogs decided it was worth it to run through the shock/jump the fence and run rampant through the neighborhood. The 3 dogs caused mayhem peeing on bushes and whatnot for an hour or so until they came upon a cat whose owner was also not obeying the leash law. Things did not fare well for the poor kitty.
I don’t know if it was my dogs or his that killed the cat. All I know is I am an animal lover and I never, ever want to see any animal harmed. After that we turned up the range on the invisible fence, drastically reducing our yard size for the dogs, but it was the least we could do. The other dog owner denied his dog was out that night (I saw his dog in our yard with my own two eyes), and he continued to let his dog out with no leash, apparently not caring that other animals could be harmed.
Nothing like watching Jeff make the “walk of shame” from our house to the cat owners’, asking if there was anything we could do, knowing there was no fixing this. We could buy them a new cat but they didn’t want a new cat. There were no vet bills to offer to pay, and there’s just nothing you can say to someone who lost their pet. The cat owners had children; the children lost their pet in a very horrible way, and apparently the attack happened in front of the husband/father. All he knew was it was a black dog. I have a black dog, and the other dog owner had a black dog, so no way of knowing who did it. Surprisingly the cat owners were extremely understanding, stating that their cat was out just as our dogs were, and dogs and cats will behave, well, like dogs and cats – and it was no one’s fault. Still, I could not imagine seeing my pet killed right in front of me. I can’t even write this post without tearing up, and this happened 4 years ago.
I take full responsibility for my dogs getting out of their fence. However, if you are a dog owner, I beg you to please keep your dogs out of my yard. At least once a day I hear my dogs start barking up a storm and I peek out the window only to see a wayward dog, walking up and down the fence line, taunting my dogs. One of these regular visitor dogs is about 15 pounds. I’m terrified what will happen if my dogs decide again it’s worth it to “break free.” With the stronger fence and their older ages, I hope this will never happen again. But I can only do what I can to keep them in – and you letting your pets into my yard does not help one bit.
And when I’m out running with one or both of the dogs, please know I can contain my dogs to the reach of the leash. But if your dog is off his leash and runs up to my dogs, I can’t know what will happen. I can’t control both your dog and mine. I need you to do your part.