Unaccompanied dogs in the city: the sad consequences

I live on a quiet one-block long street that runs between East 9th Street and Humboldt Avenue. If you’ve been to the little Has Beans Creekside coffeehouse then you’ve seen it.

Two mornings ago my best feline friend was killed by two dogs who were out for a stroll, and unaccompanied by any human companions.

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On the day my cat died, I wrote an eulogy for him in my primary blog.

After some thought, I decided a second post was called for in this blog, which I use sporadically and only for subjects that have some connection with Chico.

While running in the park today, I worked up to a full-scale rant, but after calming down I realized that would have been unpleasant to read, do no good, and of course, not bring my cat back to life.

So I’ll begin the body of this post the same way I’m going to end it.

If you own dogs in the city they need to be under your control. This is for their good, your good, and the good of others you may never see or know.

I saw the two dogs that killed my cat a minute before they got him. They had come down the driveway of our house toward the garage where I was stretching after a run in the park. One was a fat, black lab mutt, and the other was a wolfy looking fellow, also a mutt. They weren’t aggressive or mean looking, and when I shooed them back toward the street off they went. They were like goofy teenage boys, but didn’t look like they were out for trouble.

A minute later I heard a cat scream and I ran to the front yard to be horrified by the sight of my cat in the jaws of the wolfy fellow, being shaken around like a rag doll. I yelled and swore at the dogs, who dropped my cat and continued on toward East 9th Street acting like whatever they had done certainly didn’t call for that response.

At the sound of the yelling, my neighbor ran out of his house and helped watch over my terribly injured cat, as I ran in the house to call the emergency vet. I ran back out, put my cat in the car, but he died on the way to the vet.

Not a nice story and not one to which I like subjecting my readers, but if it results in even one person’s positive change in behavior then it’s worth my time to write it.

I like dogs, and up until I saw what they did to my cat there was nothing to indicate that these two were dogs that I shouldn’t like. But they were dogs, there were two of them, and when they saw a cat some instinct took over with disastrous results. Most important of all, they were neither on a leash nor was there any responsible human being out walking with them to call them off.

Now for those who aren’t concerned about what their dog can do to other people’s pets, bear in mind that it goes well beyond the damage a dog or a couple of dogs can do to another family’s beloved pet companions. The dogs are in danger themselves.

They can get in fights with other dogs. They are at high risk of getting run over by a vehicle. Caught roaming around without a human companion, they’ll be picked up by Animal Control and if tagless the owners risk never seeing their friend again.

Lastly they are a road hazard to people.

Every driver has experienced situations where either a carefree, roaming dog or a scared, lost dog is an unpredictable ball in a game of street pinball. On low-speed streets it’s mostly a nuisance; on higher-speed streets and freeways it becomes dangerous as drivers make split-second decisions to either run over the dog or take evasive action, both at great risk to the dog, and more importantly to all of the drivers and passengers in vehicles.

Very few people are so mean or so irresponsible that they would want any of these things to happen. I seriously doubt that whoever owns the dogs that killed my cat would be pleased or even indifferent to know what their pets did.

But a dog owner’s idle decision to not fix the gate or the fence, or to just let the dog out for a little time on his own is gross irresponsibility with potentially severe consequences. If dogs linked to an attack on other pets or people, or dogs that caused a car accident can be traced back to the owners, they are nearly certain to end up as defendants in a civil suit for negligence.

None of that should ever have to happen.

I’m in pain right now. I miss my cat, I’m sick about the brutal way he died, and I wish when I first saw them that I’d chased the damn dogs back out to the street and down the block far away from my house.

I’d gladly exchange trying to wring a silver lining out of this crummy experience by writing this civic virtue post, for his sly, furry self back in my life as the boss.

But that’s not going to happen. So I’ll copy-and-paste from near the beginning of the post to the end below, and hope someone is reading.

If you own dogs in the city they need to be under your control. This is for their good, your good, and the good of others you may never see or know.

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