Poor Fluff got chomped last night. We were walking down the street toward our local park so we could play in the snow (Fluff and I love snow, short-haired Sleek not so much, but she was up for a walk). Three doors down, the neighbors kids were out playing in the street. They dashed across the street in front of us as we passed their house, apparently bolting into the house for whatever reason. Unfortunately, they didn't shut the gates to the yard or the door to the house, and Sadie got out. Although we were past her yard, she charged us and Fluff rose to the challenge.
Sadie, for the first of the many times she's challenged us, came in for the bite. Fortunately for her, she backed off when I bellowed (note: if you are going to scream during a dog attack/fight, use a low-pitched, high-volume voice. This is definitely a time for the alpha bitch roar. A high-pitched shriek is more likely to be heard as wounded prey screaming). You don't want to be attacking my dog when I've got on boots and heavy clothes. I will kick another dog in the gut to try to get it off my dog, and I will kick to injure/incapacitate. I'm glad that wasn't necessary here. As it was, I had a sore throat afterward from the bellowing.
The kids came out to apologize, although no adults did. I let the kids know that if there were vet bills (and there are), the bill would be coming to them. That rather stunned the oldest kid (probably about 10), but one hoped it would make a point. Alas, I drove past the house this morning, and the gate the dog came through yesterday was open, leading me to wonder anew about this family.
The bite was on Fluff's face. There are multiple puncture wounds through her lip (some are completely through the lip, into her mouth), although it's not as bad as it could have been. She has very thick hair on her face, and nothing came very close to her eye. The bad news is that she's more convinced than ever that other dogs may be out to get her, so she starts warning them away from her in a belligerent manner that makes her look aggressive. It looks like it's time to start desensitizing her again. Sigh.
The question now is what to do about this. The dog (Sadie) does not appear to be human-aggressive, although a person certainly could be bitten trying to break up a dog fight. I feel bad because I think she's an American staffordshire terrier, and I hate to feed the hysteria that these dogs can arouse. She's big enough and strong enough that she could kill a good many types of dogs. I know I'm more cautious about walking that direction, knowing there is a decent chance she's out and unrestrained, than I would be with many other breeds of dogs. The fact that I've seen her loose so many times calls into question the responsibility level of the humans in the household.
I fear I'm signing the dog's death warrant if I report the attack to Animal Control, esp. given our local Humane Society (which shares space with AC) has a notorious bias against her breed. I also fear her owners would just get another dog who might be less willing to break off when someone bellows or who is more interested in getting something started in the first place. I believe if this is the first reported incident, then AC will lecture the owners. If, however, other people have experienced and reported incidents, then the likelihood of confiscation and destruction increases. Again, she's not a bad dog. She has irresponsible owners. I don't like that she will be the one to pay the price for those owners.
What to do, what to do.
Meantime, Fluff went to the vet today. No stitches necessary, but she'll be on antibiotics for 5 days. It turns out that the punctures going fully through the lip are a good thing because they'll drain better while healing. The vet is a little concerned about the possibility of an abscess because there are salivary ducts nearby and not much skin/flesh around to work with if an abscess develops. Fluff is generally healthy, though, so I think she'll pull through just fine. Her face is a little puffy, but she's eating and drinking normally (although I'm cooking her food instead of feeding her raw food this week), and has a normal temperature.
Update: I did call Animal Control, and apparently I'm one of many in the neighborhood who has called. Now we're getting into another dilemna. This is where draconian anti-dog legislation begins -- with the ineffective enforcement of existing laws. If they're not going to enforce existing laws, how are they going to have the money and people to enforce the new ones? The draconian legislation only hurts those who will abide by it, and they're the ones who generally were responsible and didn't need it in the first place.