If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know that I had an unpleasant run-in with one of my neighbors yesterday. Warning: This is really long. If you make it to the end, you get a cookie.
I was sitting in the living when I heard my front door open… I have no idea how. Maybe it was a little windy and blew open or something, but I know that it had been closed. I got up because I knew the dogs were right by the door, and sure enough I could see them running out the door. I peeked out to see where they were going, and a neighbor driving by slowed down, looked at me like he was going to offer to help, but then kept going. Yeah, don’t worry… my two dogs got out, but I’ve got it under control. My neighbors are jerks.
I know that training your dogs not to run out of the door and to come when you call them is important. And we’re working on it. Shecky will usually come, but Bones won’t. Unless she sees you have a hot dog in your hand.
So I ran back into the house to grab their leashes and a hot dog. As I was walking back out the door, Shecky sprinted back through the door, ran right past by me (and the hot dog in my hand… VERY unusual), and went into her kennel. Bones was sitting on our lawn (also very unusual. She usually runs circles around my house when she gets out) and came right over to me and let me grab her collar (also unusual). All in all they were probably gone about 2 minutes.
I put Bones in her kennel and continued getting ready to go to Target. As I backed out of the driveway, I saw that there was a big truck parked in the street blocking me so I couldn’t go forward. Then this huge guy gets out and walks up to my car window, effectively trapping me in my car. I rolled down my window because he looked like he had something to say. He did: “Are those two black dogs yours?”
I confirmed that they were, and asked if something had happened. I figured maybe one of them had gone to the bathroom on his lawn or something and he wanted me to clean it up. Nope.
He proceeded to yell that my dogs had THREATENED his son. His 17 month old son, who for some reason was standing by the mailbox right next to the street in front of his house without his parents. He said they were barking at his son and if he hadn’t been there, they probably would have attacked. It was only when he walked over, because he’s such a big guy, and yelled get! that they ran away (right back to my house. Big threat right?).
At this point, I interjected because I know my dogs: “Oh, and they barked right? Yeah, I know, they bark at kids. We’ve been working on that and they’re currently in training classes. They’re loud, but they’ve never bitten anyone or even tried to bite anyone. I’m sorry, I know that’s scary for kids and I’m sorry they scared your son–”
He then interrupted me to say that he knows I have aggressive dogs (Um, no. I have two rescues, one of whom is scared to death of strangers and the other who barks in excitement. If you move toward Shecky while she barks, she runs away. If you move towards Bones, she flops on the ground so you can rub her belly.) because he’s seen them on walks and I can barely control them. Another exaggeration. They walk pretty nicely now, and they only get excited and pull when they see another dog (which they usually stop and play with for a minute, without aggression) or birds (which they want to chase).
I apologized again and told him they’re not aggressive, it was an accident that they got out, and all that. He then told me that I’ve seen his dog (a pit bull, who is very well trained) and his dog never leaves his lawn, and his dog is big and could inflict real damage on someone if he did escape. I confirm that he does have a well trained dog, and reiterate that my dogs are puppies and we’re working on their behavior, but that they still have some problems. They’re puppies.
He then says, “I just want you to understand that if they ever come near my property, I will kill them. I will shoot and kill them.”
Um, what? I’m trying to wrap my head around the reason he would shoot my dogs when they didn’t bite anyone or even try to bite anyone and he knows that he can tell them to go away and they will. He then goes on for several minutes, repeating that he has a gun and that he will shoot my dogs if they ever get out again.
I finally interrupt him and say, “Look, I don’t know what you want me to say. I’m sorry my dogs got out and scared your kids. That they got out was an accident, and one that I will try my best to prevent from happening again. I understand that you’re going to kill them if they get out again. I think that’s an overreaction, but I understand what you’re saying.”
He finally backs away from my car, saying that he’s going to contact the HOA so that when (not if, but when) he shoots my dogs, they’ll know it wasn’t the first time there was a problem with them.
When I picked up the phone I had set in my lap (with my dad on the line), my dad was LIVID. He was swearing and talking about coming out here again with his gun to have a talk with this guy, and what kind of person comes down to threaten a woman with a gun and so on and so on. I love my dad.
Now, I’m scared out of my mind because the last two times they got out, it wasn’t my fault. The warranty people putting a drain pipe in my neighbor’s yard dug a hole under my fence for some reason and the dogs out that way. The other time warranty people were working in my backyard and didn’t close my gate when they left. Dogs get out. It happens. If you don’t want to help me catch them when they get out, fine. But to tell me that you’re going to kill them if they get out? What the hell?
I’m not going to walk them in my neighborhood anymore. I’ll drive the 20 minutes to a park or half an hour to the Riverwalk. But I don’t even want to put them in the backyard anymore! I’m going to have to go all around the fence and double check that there’s no where they can get out. I’m pretty sure they can’t, but what if they do? The consequences of that are too great for me to deal with.
But here’s the thing. I’ll be polite to your face, especially if you’re crazy and have a gun, but I don’t take threats sitting down.
I called the HOA to report the incident too. I have at least a couple neighbors who can attest that my dogs are loud, but not hostile or dangerous. And I apologized for my dogs getting out, but mentioned that I don’t appreciated being threatened and intimidated by a neighbor with a gun. And did I mention that I was in tears when I left them the message? Yeah, they’re not going to side with him.
Also, this neighbor is in the Army. I believe this guy is an SFC. He should know better. I’ll be contacting his command on Monday morning to report the incident. I’m pretty sure his command won’t look favorably at threatening a military spouse whose husband is currently deployed.
I’m pissed. This guy emphasized how he will do anything to keep his kid safe. Guess what? My dogs are my kids. And I’m not going to let him hurt them either.
I hope I get a job offer soon, so I can get out of here and take my dogs to DC, where hopefully people aren’t as crazy.
Filed under: Dogs, Rants | 14 Comments »