Lauraine Leblanc: When Bully Breeds Attack

Friday, April 12, 2013
Lauraine and Raven. KLH | Eye

Lauraine and Raven. KLH | Eye

Raven and I were attacked by another dog last week (two weeks ago when you read this).

Regular readers of the Arcata Eye will recognize Raven as the black and white Cardigan Welsh Corgi who haunts the pages of the Eye entreating you to buy advertising.

Others may also recognize her from her many jaunts around town as the terribly cute but not very outgoing dog you want to pet but can’t.

One of the reasons that Raven is standoffish is that she has been attacked by other dogs twice in the past year. Both times, the attacks happened when I was walking Raven, on leash as always, down an Arcata sidewalk in broad daylight.

Eleven months ago, a large white bully breed dog ran out the open front door of a house on 11th Street, crossed two lanes of midday traffic and jumped my dog while I was walking her on leash. The dog must have outweighed Raven by at least 60 lbs. The other dog flipped Raven onto her back and bit at Raven’s face and neck while I tried to dislodge it by kicking it. I never imagined that I could do that to a dog, but I did.

The attack only stopped when the dog’s handler came out of the house and took it off my screaming dog. Afterward, witnesses described the attack to me as a “kill shot” and were surprised that neither Raven nor I were gravely injured. As it was, Raven lost a lot of the ruff of fur at her neck and was sore for days.

As a result of that attack, Raven became very aggressive towards other dogs, and I have worked hard to rehabilitate and re-socialize her. All that work has been undone.

Last week, as Raven and I were walking by a pickup truck parked by the side of the road, a bully-breed dog busted through a screen to get out of the camper shell window and jumped on Raven seemingly out of nowhere. The dog started biting her on the face and neck, and Raven started screaming and yelping while I desperately pulled her away, kicking at the dog and yelling at the top of my lungs.

As soon as the dog released her, I picked Raven up in my arms. The dog kept coming at us and I kept yelling and kicking at it. Then, it crossed the street and I called the cops. Before the police came, the dog returned and started approaching us and barking and growling.

I was holding Raven with one arm (she weighs 30 lbs. and rapidly got heavy) and talking to police on my cell phone with the other, leaving us totally open to further attack.

After what must have been at least two or three minutes of the dog menacing us, the owner came out of the house where the truck was parked and secured her dog. She offered to pay for the vet and admitted that she had been afraid that the screen in the camper shell would not contain her dogs.

Sgt. Martinez of APD came, took the attacking dog’s  owner’s information and drove us home.

As Raven had no puncture wounds and no obvious injuries, I did not take her to the vet until the following morning when she started to whimper. She had no broken bones or internal injuries but did require pain medication for five days.

I contacted the owner of the attacking dog, sent her the $61.16 veterinary bill that same day and I have yet to hear back from her.

I am worried about Raven and about me. I am tired of people not properly containing their dogs. I am tired of people who have large aggressive dogs not properly training or controlling their dogs. I am tired of people telling me that bully breeds are no different than other dogs – Raven has been viciously attacked both times by these breed dogs.

I am tired of people whose dogs are off leash telling me that their dogs are friendly or that their dog has “never done anything like this before.”

I live near the Marsh, and see unleashed dogs and negligent owners every day. Almost every time I leave my house, I have to deal with some unleashed dog running up to my dog. I am growing increasingly frustrated and angry, and no longer feel safe walking my leashed dog outdoors in broad daylight in this lovely town of ours. Raven is now afraid of parked cars, and even more aggressive towards other dogs.

Arcata has leash laws and vicious dog laws on the books, and sadly, I now believe we need stricter enforcement of leash laws in Arcata, as well as an escalating structure of fines and repercussions.

If irresponsible people cannot voluntarily control their animals, then they must pay the price, not the rest of us.

Lauraine Leblanc loves animals and walks everywhere. She works at the Arcata Eye, among other places.