Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Pepper Spray

Unfortunately, two greyhounds adopted from Southeastern Greyhound Adoption were killed by 2 pitbulls right after Christmas. It is very sad news on all accounts because the entire incident was cause by a careless pet sitter who did not adhere to the owner's instructions. She allowed both pitbulls to accompany her off leash as she took out the trash. Pure stupidity. My heart goes out to the greyhound adopter. I hope the happy memories overwhelm the last one very soon.

The pitbulls' owner handled the incident as gracefully as one can in a terrible situation. He compensated the adopter for the emergency vet expenses, adoption fees, repaced her stained car seats, and euthanized his dogs. Very sad that one stupid pet sitter can kill 4 dogs with one stupid decision.

Often when an incident like this happens, people suggest that banning pitbulls is the solution. I strongly disagree. Lots of responsible folks love and own wonderful pitbulls. Banning their favorite breed infringes on the rights of good people and bad people can always disregard the rules or create another powerful breed. Eventually, the breed ban list could be so long, it might be easier to ban all dogs over 50 pounds (including labs, collies, and greyhounds). Don't think it can't happen 10, 20, or 30 years down the road. Government can do scary, unreasonable things.

In my opinion, owners need to be held responsible. "I did not know" is not an acceptable answer if you own a breed that makes headlines. You need to be better than Joe Average dog owner in your ability to socialize, train, and manage dogs if you choose to own powerful breeds. And if you do a bad job of it and your dog does something terrible, you need to be held liable. Get a beagle if don't want that kind of responsibility.
I am finally to the point of my post - pepper spray. Nothing makes my heart drop to my stomach like the sight of a loose dog charging me and my greyhounds. I usually carry a stick for protection, but recently, I grabbed pepper spray instead of my stick for one of Katie's walks. Not 5 minutes into our stroll, a large, red boxer/ridgeback/pitbull type mix breed started to charge. His body language carried all of the red flags. I quickly grabbed my pepper spray, leaned forward as he drew close, and sprayed him in the face. He stopped immediately with a sour look on his face and ran home. The pepper spray worked perfectly. It was so much easier to use than a stick. It allowed me to stop him before he made contact. If there had been 2 dogs, I think it would have been easier to hit both with pepper spray than with a stick. I plan to continue to carry pepper spray and use it as my first line of defense. If you do the same, make sure you replace it periodically as pepper spray does expire.