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Old 06-27-2013, 01:34 PM   #1
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Vicious dog in campground

Wondering what the law is in the US for vicious dogs. In our case it's Washington St. And what are membership only campground policies typically like?

We were at our campground 2 weeks ago and walking around the cg with our dog on a leash minding our own business when a bulldog about the same size as our dog came flying out of nowhere and attacked our dog. It was viciously biting the side of our dog. Our dog (80 lbs) does not know how to fight and did not know what to do except try and get away. I tried to pull our dog away. The owner came running out quickly and got bitten while he was trying to grab the dog's collar. No blood drawn fortunately. The owner said it was a rescue dog and spent it's first two years in a crate. Too bad - all the more reason to ensure it is tied up or on a leash at all times.

I reported it to the cg security and all they said is "we will go and try and look for it." I told them exactly where it was even. I don't know what their policy is or what the laws are in Wa. What if our dog was severely injured in a fight? What if I jumped in and ended up hurting their dog? Should we have to resort to carrying pepper spray with us and have it handy?

Can we report something like this to the ASPCSA and would they do anything in a private cg? Can the police even been called? It used to be relaxing walking our dog around the cg property but now we are really nervous.
Gil & Deb & Dougal the Springer Spaniel
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Old 06-27-2013, 01:44 PM   #2
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Thankfully your dog wasn't hurt seriously. It's not if, but when that dog will seriously injure or kill another dog or child or adult.

Call the police.
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Old 06-27-2013, 02:09 PM   #3
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Thanks God Gil your dog is OK..I am sure he will shy away from other dogs for a while. I carry a spray can of dog spray all the time when we walk Yasper. I have never had to use it but it is good insurance.
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Old 06-27-2013, 02:20 PM   #4
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I think that aggressive dogs should be kept on a leach or tied up, wasp spray works well to stop dog aggression .

You should report that because It could happen to a smaller dog in the CG .

Good luck,

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Old 06-27-2013, 02:21 PM   #5
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Certain breeds of dogs tend to be put down after a single incident, regardless of their history, the owner's history, etc. I have been in a similar situation and didn't call the police because I didn't want the other dog put down because it's owner was an idiot. In my case it was, as it is in many cases like what you describe, down to the dogs' perception of it's territory - something that all dogs possess to a greater or lesser degree.

Some will inevitably say that all dogs should be banned from campgrounds because this has happened, while others will argue that that is a knee-jerk reaction that paints all dogs (and dog owners) with too broad a brush, causing innocents to be punished for the poor choice of the ignorant and/or arrogant. You have to do what your gut tells you to do in these instances, but you always have the option of calling the police if you so choose.

Anytime we walk our dogs we have some form of non-lethal defense handy, just for protection.

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Old 06-27-2013, 02:35 PM   #6
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Fortunately our dog was not physically hurt that you could see. Bruised I am sure. I think his feelings were hurt big time though. He's such a personable people dog and wouldn't hurt a flea. He's very sensitive and even gets upset when people raise their voices. I felt so bad for him.

Wouldn't wasp spray be toxic and what if your dog got sprayed with it? I have to wonder about liability and what could happen if you hurt someone else's dog or is it like you have a right to defend yourself in the case of people?

I do believe that typically it's not the dog's fault, it's the owner that is the problem. (I've seen enough of Cesar Millan to see that). Dogs can be territorial in their space in a cg, but you should be able to walk along the roads safely. I would never walk our dog up to anyone else's in a cg without asking the owner if it's okay and esp. never into someone's site that has a dog without asking. I have seen some owners of problem dogs in a cg keep them in a portable pen. They are the responsible owners.

Someone camping next to us said after the incident that it could even be a small child that could be attacked. Hadn't thought of that but it could happen. There's lots of small kids in campgrounds sometimes.

I'd hate to injure our dog with spray or something but if it got really bad maybe there's no choice. We hear so many stories of pit bulls for example maiming or killing dogs. Never had to consider the risk before in a cg.

Funny, we take our dog to a big off-leash park near us and we have never had any problems with aggressive dogs and dog fights there. You'd think a membership only campground would have more responsible people than at a public dog park.

The campground we go to has a lot of Canadians there and I know that they should all have their vaccinations up to date as it is a requirement to cross the border. But what about US dogs? I am guessing that it's possible to encounter one that has not had vaccinations? Even if your dog is up to date, it still could contract a disease (BTDT). Just a thought...

I just wish the cg would take it seriously and tell them to leash their dog or they are banned for good. One warning and that's it.
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Old 06-27-2013, 02:54 PM   #7
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So sorry to hear that you and your pup had to go through that. I'm sure it was terrifying for all and it should never have happened.

You've asked a lot of legal questions and I'm sure the answer "it depends" fits all of them. Asking the dogs owner for his insurance company contact information would have been a good start to pay to have your dog checked out at a vet.

We travel with three small dogs and don't carry any protection. I'm not sure I could draw a can of spray and hit my target as a vicious dogs was charging at me from behind another rig. I would seriously doubt if any kind of spray would even slow down a pit bull. They tend to be pretty focused and turn out anything they are presently attempting to kill.

I probably would have called the police.

Best of luck.

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Old 06-27-2013, 03:01 PM   #8
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Well, I can't post what I would have done due to forum rules.
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Old 06-27-2013, 03:07 PM   #9
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The other owner KNEW that they owned a problem dog. They were negligent in controlling it and as Judge Judy would probably say, they had a duty and obligation to exercise a much greater degree of controlling it.

Dog fights are so hectic I think it would be pretty hard to aim for and spray just the other dog. It all happens so fast, and as anyone who has seen this knows, it catches you off guard and it's difficult to react quickly and know what to do. I sort of thought the other dog might just take one run at ours and then run back but to my shock, he kept on biting and it was pretty furious. I am so lucky the owner was really close and dived right in. If you've never had this happen before, you are unprepared. If our dog was physically injured and bleeding, I would have done something else.

In larger municipalities, they often have their own animal control people that can take action. Not sure how it works in the US for suburbs and rural areas with no animal control officers. Is the ASPCA accessible everywhere in those places?
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Old 06-27-2013, 03:31 PM   #10
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We carry Pepper Spray for those occasions. Even the best of owners lose focus on occasion and a dog can get loose. The pepper spray doesn't hurt them long term but it does the job well enough to prevent any serious harm to us or our Dogs.

BTW Although we have never had to use it on anything other than a Dog, it's useful to have with you for other not so nice critters both four
legged and two legged.

All you need is enough time to get away.

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Old 06-27-2013, 08:43 PM   #11
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In Washington State, I believe each individual county or municipality sets its own animal control ordinances. I don't think there's a state-wide rule. Certainly, in Anacortes, we have a very good animal control system, with an Animal Control Officer who has close ties to the Police Department.

A couple of months ago, a tenant moved into a rental a couple of blocks from us. It appears that he didn't tell the landlord that he had two Pit Bulls. Just a couple of days after he moved in, his dogs escaped from the back yard (the fence wasn't dog-resistant). The Pits ran down the street the where a neighbor was working in his un-fenced yard. He had his standard poodle in the yard with him on a 20' tether, as required by the ordinance.

The two Pits attacked the poodle, tearing off strips of fur and skin, exposing the muscles. When the poodle's owner tried to intervene, the Pits turned on him and he suffered several bites on his arms.

Fortunately, an alert neighbor, who was scared of the Pits, had been keeping a look-out. When she saw them escape the yard, she called 911. Two patrol cars were there within about 4 minutes, followed quite quickly by Animal Control. Between the three of them, they subdued the Pits and hauled them off to the pound. The Animal Control Officer roused a judge and she got him to issue a Dangerous Dog declaration for the two Pits.

Such a declaration requires the dogs owner to get a specific liability insurance policy (for maybe $ 2 Million per dog - I'm not sure). The owner declined to do so, and the two Pits were executed. Our local paper said they were "euthanized".

When the landlord found out about the incident, he evicted the tenant. We can now walk our Labs through the neighborhood in peace. We meet the poodle and his owner quite often on our walks. The dog seems to have recovered without any retained trauma - not sure about his owner.
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:01 PM   #12
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in Ohio Any police officer That is attacked or witnesses and attack from a dog on another animal or person can put down a Dog RIGHT THEN AND THERE if necessary . I have had to do just that when I was a officer. We were also told to try to avoid head shots due to the need for rabies testing.
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Old 06-28-2013, 07:41 AM   #13
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I would have called the police. While I fully understand not wanting to punish the dog for having the bad luck of getting stuck with irresponsible owners, the stakes are just too high. A visit or two from the police should also motivate the park owners/managers to take this type of incident more seriously, if for no other reason than the possible cost to them of higher insurance costs or possible law suits for failure to even attempt to enforce reasonable rules as to the control of pets.
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Old 06-28-2013, 08:27 AM   #14
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Arlington Police begins dog behavior training - The Arlington Beat

This might help innocent pups that get scared or anxious when police are responding.

I hope it helped. Fort Worth did similar training. I haven't heard any follow up on this.
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