They ate the chihuahua! - Havanese Forum : Havanese Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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They ate the chihuahua!

No, I'm not kidding. I can't get it out of my head.

I live outside a small town and have only a few neighbors. We all keep to ourselves for the most part and enjoy the privacy of our own little fiefdoms. About a year ago, we gained a new neighbor who has recently acquired 5 dogs - yes 5 large dogs. They are aggressive and were running loose.

After a couple of threatening incidents, I called the county to report aggressive behavior. 8 calls later, 2 visits from Animal Control and 1 with Deputy, the dogs were still running loose.

Last week, I was working in the yard when another neighbor introduced herself. An older lady, she lives about a mile away. With teary eyes, she told me the story of her 7 yr old chihuahua, a 3 pounder, who only went outside with her when she was working in her flower bed. She said he would go about 10 ft away to tinkle near the telephone pole, otherwise he stayed right beside her. On the fateful day, Little Buddy stepped away to tinkle. Charlene saw the big dogs run quickly past her then heard excited barking etc at the woods edge behind her house. By the time the thought registered it was too late. Little Buddy was gone. That fast, and without a sound from Little buddy. Horrible horrible.

- Animal Control's response was "no carcass no evidence" - the owner didn't actually SEE the dogs eat the chihuahua
- Sheriff's Dep says protect yourself as necessary and call Animal Control
- Animal Control says we can only deal with vicious animals and they are friendly to me

After promising to let one of the dogs bite me, on my property, with witnesses and video before I sue the county and all involved in not handling the problem.... the owners now have 2 of the dogs chained behind their house and the other 3 seem to be gone.

The details have been escalated to County Rep and we continue to wage this frustrating battle - and without a thought, Piper does NOT go outside at all for anything.

I can't wrap my head around Charlene's grief, what a horror. I wasn't going to share this story, but today, watching those dogs chained behind that house while Piper stands at the window wagging her tail.... thought maybe we could use another reminder of how careful we must be with our little buddies.


Nina
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 02:16 PM
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what a tragic story. I feel your frustration. These people should not be allowed to own dogs . Totally irresponsible. Do you have any laws against tied up dogs in your area. ? This could be a case of predatory drift. Either way these dogs should not be unleashed on public property. Tying these dogs up will only lead to more potential problems with anyone who might come in contact with them. They are not necessarily aggressive dogs. , but they could become that way by tying them up.

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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 02:35 PM
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From Dogs In Canada Jean Donaldson

Although often lumped under the banner "aggression", predation is food acquisition rather than agnostic (fisticuffs within a species) or defensive behaviour, although some of the behaviours in the canine predatory sequence - most notably biting - share some topography with aggression. Predatory behaviour needs careful attention because the results are more often extremely damaging than the results of routine defence and competition.

Some dogs display frank predatory behaviour toward other dogs the same way they might toward squirrels, cats and other critters. Most such dogs direct regular social behaviour toward dogs on other occasions, or confine their predation to small dogs or running dogs only. Each dog will have a profile, broad or narrow, of the targeted dogs and contexts that elicit the behaviour.

There are also key divisions among these dogs regarding which parts of the predatory sequence they are predisposed to. For instance, a dog may be a maniacal chaser but demonstrate great restraint if ever a prey item is caught. (a Golden Retriever may gleefully run down a squirrel but have no idea what to do with it once it's caught - the squirrel is presumably freaked out but unscathed.) Others are "finishers" - i.e. they finish the predatory sequence by killing what they catch. Terriers are the poster children for this phenomenon, although there may be overrepresentation of other breeds, such as Siberian Huskies. As an interesting side note, this incredible genetic elasticity in the dog's predatory sequence has allowed for the exaggeration through selective breeding of many of our favourite stylized predation behaviours, such as scentwork, pointing, flushing and herding.

Dogs that are known finishers are best managed (kept away from opportunity). I would elect to manage dogs that are not known finishers if they target small dogs. This usually manifests when the latter are running or scurrying (retired racer syndrome). The risk of injury is too high, the behaviour harder than most to modify and the management usually easy to implement.

I believe Henry's unfortunate incident was the results of an equally serious but less well-known phenomenon, predatory drift. Unlike regular predation, which is motivated as such from the get-go, predatory drift is the kicking in of predatory reflexes in an interaction that begins as a social interaction. And, unlike predation, which is predictably elicited in a known quantity by a member of the target group, predatory drift can occur among dogs that had never been predatory before and may never be again. It kicks in because of specific contextual triggers. The riskiest contexts are:

?Play or a squabble between two dogs extremely different in size, especially if the smaller dog panics, yelps and/or struggles. The simulation of a prey item is so convincing that the roles in interaction drift from a social scuffle to predator-prey. The greater the size disparity, the greater the risk, for three reasons. Firstly, the likelihood of the smaller dog getting inadvertently stepped on or otherwise ouched, even in a normal play session with a reasonably gentle dog, is greater if the dog in question is really tiny. Secondly, I would speculate that the tinier the dog, the better the simulation of a prey item to the bigger dog. Finally, the ease with which the larger dog can grab and shake the smaller one goes up as size difference increases. Grabbing and shaking is often present in predatory-drift incidents. Most of us have seen dogs grab and shake toys. Even if non-lethal pressure is exerted, a grab and shake inflicted on a small dog can break its neck.

?Two or more dogs "teaming up" during intense play, or two or more dogs acting together in a chase or squabble context with a dog that begins to panic, yelp and/or struggle. Dogs have also been known to attack injured dogs and this effect is also facilitated by the attacking unit being two or more dogs as opposed to one.

Because predatory drift can occur in dogs without any particular history, all owners and practitioners should exercise some diligence in the two contexts above - large to small interactions and 'double team' (two-plus one). While it is quite true that many such interactions are completely benign, predatory drift is common enough that most dog people have either witnessed it or know someone who has. The risks multiply if both factors are present. Another obvious factor that increases risk is the involvement of a known predatory dog in the mix, especially a finisher.

Dave and Molly
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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Unfortunately, no. The only thing we have is a county leash law, but they didn't attach a penalty for violation so neither department has a directive. Animal Control is responsible for picking up vicious dogs only.

It's pretty frustrating, but I'm taking names and have them all on speed dial. They will get tired of talking with me.

Those dogs will not do well being chained in the heat of summer and are totally untrained so they don't do well with people or other animals. I've been told that the owners don't feed them a lot, to keep them hungry so they'll be better guard dogs. Pathetic. The Humane Society here is a volunteer organization that mainly fosters or places pets when owners pass away. Really a small town, so I don't hold much hope for dogs having a bright future.

Nina
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 02:48 PM
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frustrating for sure. So they were'nt deemed to be running at large? The mentality of some people is mindboggling. Did the authorities go into the house at all. ? Anyone who thinks they need five guard dogs, might be hiding something???

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 03:08 PM Thread Starter
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They were. I have pics of them inside my fenced yard and on my deck, and the damage to my fence from their jumping it. I carry a "sonic squelcher" thing with me, because the dogs have been aggressive towards me - the worst when they circled me with the lead dog barking and baring teeth. I managed to get back inside my car and then chase them off with the squelcher.

There have been at least 3 incidents of residents being backed up by the dogs, retreating into their homes or vehicles. At that time there were 5 of them. One of my friends calls me to see if the dogs are around before she comes to visit because they cornered her as she was getting our of her car on a previous visit. Maybe they won't bite people? I wasn't persuaded before they were chained, certainly not now.

The only law we have is the leash law, requiring owners to maintain control of the pets but no penalty defined for non-compliance.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 03:22 PM
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wow that's a whole different ball game. I might be tempted to call the police if these dogs are off their property unleashed every time. Have your neighbours do the same, and tell them you are in fear of your safety.

Dave and Molly
Ian Dunbar was awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from I.P.D.T.A. Here's a picture of me accepting the award on his behalf.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 05:15 PM
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Yikes-what if it had been a toddler??

Beth, Pixie Puff and MiG too
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 05:43 PM
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Wow, what a terrible way to live - in fear of your life and that of your pets. Hopefully someone can do something about the situation before there is a tragedy other than the missing chihuahua which certainly is bad enough.


Mary (miss you, Bailey-1996-2011 and Tyler-1997-2015)
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 05-12-2013, 05:45 PM
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It is only a matter of time before it potentially escalates into another dog fatality, human injury or God forbid fatality. Another idea is to if at all possible, try to see if their aggressive behavior can be caught on video. You and your neighbors/frequent visitors can also arm yourselves with bear spray, that is a good deterrent.
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