Unsocialized, Intact Male, Pit-Mix, No Collar
Posted at 03:57PM - Comments: (16)
Not how I like to start my day: With a dog of the above description in my front yard.
There are two gates in my front yard – one leading up the front path to my door, and a double set in the driveway. There are also gates on either side of my house leading to the backyard. Just this morning, I came through one of the side gates into the driveway with Tito (the Chihuahua). As I walked up to my car, one of my cats brushed up against my legs. I opened the car door so Tito could hop in – and then saw my cat suddenly make a panicked face and run for the backyard. She leaped over the five-foot chain link gate in a hurry. I turned to see what set her off, and saw the mouse-colored dog. The moment he saw me see him, he blanched and ran across my front yard. I walked to the driveway gate and closed them, so the dog couldn’t escape.
I looked up and down the street to see if anyone was looking for him: no one. I turned to look at him, and he ran and hid under a bush as far away from me as he could get. I went inside the house and got some lunch meat, then went outside and tried to make friends with the big, well-muscled dog. He was shaking and terrified, and wanted nothing to do with me or the meat. I called Animal Control, and asked if anyone had called looking for a dog of his description; no one had, at least yet.
My choices were:
1. To simply let him go on his way and hope for the best – to hope that he wouldn’t be hit by a car as he tried to find his way home. He was fearful and panicked; he didn’t seem like the type that would attack someone’s leashed dog (or toddler, or elderly person) on the sidewalk. The risk of letting him go would be mainly his (although I’ve heard of plenty of car accidents that happened when someone tried to avoid hitting a stray dog who was running across a street).
2. To hold him at my house and put up “found dog” signs. To try to socialize him while letting Animal Control know where they could direct any owner who came in or called looking for him. However, this option is simply not fair to my Chihuahua, cats, chickens, husband (who is not crazy about unfriendly dogs) – or even Otto, my big, neutered male dog. They’d all be at risk if the dog turned our to be predatory or aggressive.
3. To ask Animal Control to send an officer to come pick up the dog. They would do so, and if an owner was looking for him, this would be the best place for the pair to be reunited. However, if the owner couldn’t or wouldn’t go to the shelter to look, the dog’s prospects there are, frankly, dim. It would be different if he were socialized and friendly – or even if were extremely cute or tiny. Friendly, cute, or small dogs are reliably put up for adoption if their owners don’t claim them. But a large, strong dog who is afraid of people? Not a great candidate in my shelter. We don’t have too many people looking to foster or adopt dogs of this description.
What would you choose? A potential calamity in your family, on the street, or in the shelter?
I chose to call Animal Control. The officer came and spent 10 minutes under the bush with the dog, until he was able to gently ease a leash over his head and coax him out from under the bush. “He’s so soft!” he called to me as I waited by the gate. (I love this officer; he’s great with all animals, very patient and kind.) We decided the dog is an indoor dog, he was so sleek and clean. This made me feel a bit better – like someone would definitely miss him and would go to the shelter to look for him.
The thing that makes me so angry and sad: Large, well-muscled male dogs are the worst dogs to fail to dress with identification, to fail to socialize, to fail to contain – and even to fail to neuter. His chances are so much worse than almost any other dog that could be sent to stray on a street.