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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm new here. I had a situation happen and found this forum while googling for answers/advice/help..

Last night I was walking my dog, on leash, in my neighborhood. We've lived in this neighborhood for 3 years.

My dog is reactive, but he is 6 and in the 5 &1/12 years I've owned him I've never had a problem with him. I know my dog and his behaviour, his triggers, his body language. I purposely steer clear of other dogs and we walk every day with no concern. He is a boxer/valley bulldog

Last night, I was walking one of our usual routes and a door opened, and a dog came running outside right up to my dog and jumped on his back legs. This dog was not on a leash, and ran to us on the sidewalk. It happened so fast, I barely knew what was happening until my dog reached back and bit the other (smaller) dog to get it off of him. He wouldn't let go, and it took me and the other owner to get him to let go. The man said sorry, carried the dog inside and closed the door. A woman in a car stopped and said she saw the whole thing, and that dog came up to mine. My dog was provoked.

More people came out of the house screaming at me that their dog was dead. I willingly gave my information, and the woman stayed to back me up. Eventually we went our separate ways, after I tried to tell them to take the dog to a vet. Both dogs were bleeding, my dog has some cuts on his back legs (which were checked out and cleaned by a vet). The woman who saw everything refused to give her information as she doesn't want to be involved in a report.

I called our cities animal control police line and reported the incident. They assured me that I had nothing to worry about, as my dog was on leash, and the other dog initiated this fight. I gave them the other owners information and they said they'd call them and call me back, but they would be talking them out of a complaint should they want one.

Here is where I get very upset and don't know what to think or how to react.

The officer called me back and the dog passed away from the injuries. They did not take the dog to the vet. The owners also lied and said my dog went into their yard and grabbed their dog. The officer indicated that she doesn't believe that, as they also did say my dog was on leash. And the fact that I called it in right away with complete details.

The real reason why she knew they were lying is because they do not want to put a complaint in about my dog, press charges, or anything. Their only request is that my dog wears a muzzle outside of my home. If my dog went into their yard, they'd be pursuing charges. As i wanted this to be over at this point I just agreed to the other owners request to muzzle him.

I'm lost here. I feel completely depressed at the thought that my dog killed another dog. I stayed home from work today because it's consuming me and i cannot think of anything else. While I know my dog was provoked, and he was trying to protect himself and me, I feel anger towards my dog. At the same time, I feel so sorry for him because he didn't have much of a choice.

The other owners are requesting he wear a muzzle outside, but honestly, he doesn't need one. He's not a dangerous dog, I've walked him every day for 5 & 1/2 years and have never had this happen. Hes had dogs approach him for a sniff, and I just say "no" and he brings his attention back to me, and we leave. He now needs a muzzle because another dog attacked him.

I don't even know what it is I'm looking for. Advice? Words of encouragement to get out of this depression? How do I look at my dog again and not see a dog that killed another dog. Do I muzzle him?

Please help
 

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I am sorry this happened.
I know you are upset and I get that, but the other dog and its death are not your responsibility. My dog might have done similar.. or any other dog. Your dog was bitten and you went to a vet as a result of the incident and the wounds.

The first question: Is your dog up to date on rabies vaccine?
Second question: Was the dog that attacked your dog up to date on rabies vaccine?

How those questions are answered could put your dog in quarantine for 10-14 days (animal control and your vet are who you talk to).

I would not have agreed to a muzzle and, if you have nothing in writing, you can likely fight that and get it rescinded. If you signed something, then you are probably out of luck. You might want to consult an attorney. If you signed nothing, then I would talk to animal control and be unemotional (hard to do I know) and discuss the muzzle without passion stating that you have decided against this, you were not at fault and then put the ball in their court. Tell them, if you must, that you are innocent of wrong doing and you are the victim. Muzzling your dog is blaming the victim.

I would go back to my routine and simply move on from all of this. It is sad the other dog died but the responsibility is with that dog's owner(s) and not with you or with your dog.

I would NOT walk past that house again.. and walk elsewhere. You were the victim and you did nothing wrong.
 

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It's really not you or your dog's fault though. You're doing your job by keeping your dog away from others... it's their dog, their responsibility... I know that accidents happen though, and dogs can escape, but that's still not your fault... and they're the ones who lied and didn't go to the vet.

But yes, if you're feeling bad, definitely muzzle your dog so that doesn't happen again.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks so much for you reply.

Fortunately all vaccines are up to date so no worries there. I spoke to my vet about that also.

The muzzle was just a request from the other owners. This was communicated to me through animal control when they called me back after checking in with them. Nothing was in writing, though maybe it's in a file somewhere that I said ok to it. But I also wasn't thinking clearly after all of this happened.. it's the next day and I'll still shaking. I think the only thing that could happen, is if I don't muzzle him and in another freak accident something happens and a report is filed then it could come back to bite me in the ass. But again, it isn't a formal complaint and theres nothing to enforce that he wears it.
 

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The other owners are completely out of line. What crappy people. Based on the fact that your own dog had wounds on his back legs where you said the dog first approached your dog, I think the other dog was trying to attack your dog with intent to do harm. MOST dogs would probably react the way your dog did to a dog running up behind them and biting their legs, but the other dog picked a fight with a dog that was too big for him. You did nothing wrong. Your dog was a on leash, on a public sidewalk.

I would have disagreed to the muzzle. Your dog obviously shows restraint when approached by other dogs when he doesn't like it, and I do not think that is dangerous. This was a freak accident, and again, MOST dogs would react that way when they get bitten by another dog! I mean, I would react pretty violently if someone chomped down on my legs!
 

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Some people are truly morally repugnant...

I’m terribly sorry this has happened to you and your pup. As mentioned, first thing you should do is figure out whether or not this dog is up to date on its shots. I’d be a bit concerned given the fact that these owners did not take their dying dog to a vet. What are the chances they were ever taking care of it in the first place (not to mention the sudden and unprovoked aggression from this dog)?
If it gives you peace of mind, muzzle your dog. However, I wouldn’t say your dog is out of line, and if I were in your shoes, I wouldn’t muzzle my own dog frankly. Biting back after being attacked is plenty an appropriate response in my opinion.

Best of luck getting this sorted out. Make sure your dog is okay, plead your side well, check if the other dog was well/up to date on shots, etc. My apologies you must deal with such a depressing event.
 

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I've had a few similar incidents with my larger, leashed dogs attacked by smaller, incredibly ambitious and unleashed dogs, though I don't believe any resulted in a fatality.

Your heart tells you to feel guilty, but your brain knows that it's not your fault. It's not even the other dog's fault. It's the other dog's owner's fault. You had the misfortune to encounter particularly moronic owners.

You did everything right. Try to move past it. But, yeah, I wouldn't walk past that house again.
 

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The only reason I would teach your dog to wear a muzzle is that after him being attacked he may be quicker to go after a dog that runs up to him as he would be expecting to get hurt. Until you see his reaction with a dog running up to him, I know I would feel better if he had a muzzle on for at least a little while. Don't just slap a muzzle on him but make him comfortable wearing it.

My dog was attacked as a puppy which makes her very leery of big dogs. She is now three and was attacked again at an Agility trial so I am back to getting her confident again but she is a soft dog so never tried to retaliate so it is easier.
 

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So sorry this happened to your dog and you. Please don’t think of your dog as a killer. For all you know, the other dog might have survived had he received prompt treatment, and as you’ve said, your dog was the victim. Not his fault, not your fault. I would call animal control again, try to get in touch with the officer who investigated, and tell her your agreement to muzzle your dog was a knee jerk reaction and you really would rather not do that to your dog. Find out what would happen if you don’t.
 

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I'm gonna disagree with some others - I think muzzling is a good idea, as you can't be sure this type of incident won't occur again. You can train the dog to accept and even welcome the muzzle if he associates it with getting treats, getting to go play and walk, etc.

That said, all dogs other than those too small and/or feeble to do so are potential killers. They were wolves, and we domesticated them to help us kill things. Some are just bigger potential killers than others, due to either their physicality, experience, or temperament. I think people in general need to be more realistic about the risks when having a household with dogs and little animals, cats, smaller dogs, etc. - and when letting their dogs run loose outside. A lot of sad incidents could be avoided. I don't necessarily look at it as a negative that my dogs are killers - I actually think it's kinda cool that a big monster likes to sleep with his head in my lap and would protect me with his life.
 

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I would not muzzle, and if they wish to continue with the issue seek legal counsel.

Sorry but your dogs not at fault and a muzzle in this case would just allow your dog to suffer possible further injury, than what it did.
 

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Wow, sorry to hear that this happened. Honestly, it's hard to say if muzzling is the best course of action here.

I completely agree that the overall incident was in no way you or your dog's fault. Your dog was attacked, plain and simple. He was defending himself. Your neighbors acted in a totally reprehensible way.

However, the severity of the injuries your dog inflicted can't be overlooked either. He could have pinned, bitten, held, or mauled the other dog. He ended up killing it. Perhaps it was a significant size difference, freak accident, whatever... I'm not even saying your dog is a "dangerous" dog, since clearly this is situational and he has had plenty of neutral experiences with dogs. But the fact is, he did not exercise bite inhibition this time. He may, or may not, next time.

It's like if someone punches me in a bar and instead of punching him back, I shoot him. Sure, I did not instigate and it was self defense. But... I could have not shot him. You know?

Still, your dog does not sound bad, dangerous, or vicious. It was an unfortunate circumstance and the dog that died is the one that has me more worried (rushing out and attacking dogs unprovoked). I hope you find peace with this.
 

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I’m so sorry this happened and am glad your dog is okay. While I understand what Parus said, I personally wouldn’t muzzle my dog. You did nothing wrong and neither did your dog. I can’t imagine many dogs wouldn’t have reacted the same.

I would steer clear of that street.
 

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I am so sorry to hear this happened to you, your dog, and the other dog.

I have some mixed feelings about the muzzle.

-The muzzle could actually help you out, because people will keep their dogs away from a dog wearing a muzzle (lowering the number of people saying "oh he's friendly!" and approaching your dog)
-Like you said, if animal control did write it down and something happens again, not wearing it could bite you in the ass later on
-Obviously, your dog wouldn't be able to bite and hold onto another dog again

But at the same time
-I don't think your dog is really dangerous enough to require a muzzle
-If a dog that is more his size were to attack, or multiple dogs, he couldn't defend himself

I would stay clear of that street and if you choose not to muzzle, start thinking of ways to be prepared for any off leash dogs in the future. Many people use umbrellas, tin cans with rocks in them, etc to startle any oncoming dogs, and some even carry bear spray, cattle prods, things like that. I know many times these situations happen too fast to react in time, but it could give you peace of mind that you can keep other dogs from getting close enough to your dog to start a fight.
 

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I agree with sydneynicole. If your dog had been wearing a muzzle, then he might have been torn up even more. The other dog did not nip him, but instead drew blood. This was not a case of two dogs meeting on the street, but a dog that was off leash, and out of control, running out of the house to attack your dog. Under those circumstances, I might have been concerned that the little dog might have chosen to attack me rather than my dog ... so you were lucky that your dog prevented further harm.

I don't think you need to use a muzzle ... your dog needs to be able to protect himself and you from off leash dogs attacking. I agree you should avoid this house. But, if you see this neighbor and they raise the issue of the muzzle, you could say that you agreed not to pursue this in civil court for costs and damage. However, if they want to pursue it, you are willing to let a judge decide the matter after hearing all the facts about which dog was off leash and which was on leash and attacked. ... Most people will back off their bluff when shown that they will be held liable in a lawsuit.
 

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I'm so sorry you and your dog had to go through this. My Boxer mix actually sounds a lot like yours and though we have never had any real issues, I have considered muzzling him simply for my own peace of mind. The reason I don't is that he couldn't defend himself or me if it were truly necessary.

This situation was clearly not your fault nor your dog's fault. Keep that in mind. However, Canyx is right in that your dog did not exercise bite inhibition. Maybe a different dog would have. Maybe this smaller dog had done this before with more tolerant dogs and got away with it. You don't know.

I would call animal control back and tell them you do not want your dog restricted to a muzzle for the rest of his life base on others' bad decisions. Then weigh the pros and cons and decide for yourself if you want to use a muzzle or not. Maybe start muzzle training just in case you decide in the future you want to use it. It's not a bad thing for them to learn to get used to.
 

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I agree with what others have said, that your dog is not at fault..
In regard to whether or not your dog's reaction was appropriate or not -- it's really impossible to tell what his intentions were, but do consider yourself in this situation.. you are walking down the street, minding your own business, you are confined since you're on a leash.. someone attacks you from behind with obviously violent intentions .. perhaps this is not the time for bite inhibition, because someone is trying to do you harm and you're protecting yourself and your owner. If someone attacked you on the street for no reason and you fought back, how concerned would you be for your attacker's well being? And even then, is this equivalent to shooting someone who punched you or perhaps punching them really hard back? Who knows? We don't really have that kind of detail... we don't know what injuries were caused and we don't know what would've happened if the other dog was taken to the vet. Either way, I don't think it's fair to assume that your dog overreacted considering the situation.. Yes, other softer dog might not have done that kind of damage, but on other other hand, that dog might've ended up with more serious injuries himself.
I also totally understand how upsetting all of this must be and I understand what you mean when you say you see your dog differently -- but that feeling will pass.
I do agree with the person above who said that it's good to remember that all dogs are potential killers (all humans as well). Violence is a very normal part of the natural world to which dogs are closer than we are.. Sometimes it's hard to accept it in the context of our "civilized" world, but there is nothing morally wrong with it given this particular situation.
 

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I'm not sure I agree with others about your dog's lack of bite inhibition. It sounds like the other dog stormed with doing you or your dog serious harm and your dog mightely sensed it. My problem with the lack of inhibition theory is if the other dog would have backed off after a bite or two....sure doesn't sound like it. If he did back off it might have saved his life albeit with a few injuries.

I am sure in a pack of stray dogs the entire pack would have reacted exactly the same way your dog because the attacker would be endangering the pack.

Having said that: your dog is not a killer... It simply did what nature (and possibly breeding) intended it to do in order to survive.

Ps if the other owners decide to make a scene, which I highly doubt, your best response would be "speak to my lawyer"
 
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