It’s not okay for you to murder me with your dog. If you think it’s absurd for me to say this—as if it is something that goes without saying—you’d be wrong. I regularly deal with people who send their dogs to attack me.
I run on a regular basis. And I’ve learned that a lot of people have dogs. A near equal number bear no responsibility for them. Apparently people think that once they get a dog that’s all there is to it. They must not realize they can train dogs so they don’t bark at and want to kill every moving thing.
A lot of people also don’t think it’s their responsibility to contain their dogs; they let them run loose and do anything they want. Pennsylvania has leash laws but I’m not bothering to link to any source about them. My experience shows me few people care about them. Or at least few people in Pennsylvania care enough about them to follow them.
This means that when I run I now expect to encounter an unleashed dog. It doesn’t mean it always happens but I’m always on the lookout for it. And this is fun. After all, the crazy drivers, wild animals, unforgiving climate, and chance of dehydration or other injury aren’t enough of an adventure. Throwing in vicious dogs makes it even crazier.
Dog attacks have become common enough that I’ve lost track of the number of times they’ve happened. Another common occurrence is the way people react when you defend yourself from the attack.
Dogs sometimes attack me when their owners aren’t around. But sometimes the opposite is true. Sometimes the dog owner is right there, watching as his unleashed dog sees me, starts savagely barking and racing towards me, and then charges onto the road ready to maul and murder me.
In fact, I can only recall one time where an owner actually showed an interest in stopping her dog from attacking me. The rest of the times the owners stand there, watching me demonstrate my war yell and readying to fight (physically) their dogs as they halt and think twice about whether they want to tangle with me. They stand there dumb or say brilliant things such as, “Oh, she’s not going to hurt you.” Once I get their dogs to retreat (the owners usually don’t move a muscle) I then proceed to yell at the owners who act shocked—just shocked, I tell you—that I am upset with them for sending their dogs to murder me.
And a murder attempt is exactly what it is. Regardless of what anyone thinks, once a person decides to own a dog he is responsible for it. And if a dog decides to try to kill me it’s the same as if the owner ordered it to attack me.
So listen up dog owners: You decided you wanted a dog; you’re now responsible for it.
And responsibility means controlling your dog. This in turn means that it is not okay for you to murder me with your dog.