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I heard it before I saw it, that son of a blank. Its barking to my left had jolted me from an otherwise leisurely bike ride with my 5-year-old through our neighborhood into looking up to see — large, thick, and galloping right toward us — a chocolate pit bull mix.

I flick-kicked the monster in the snout while shouting, “Get the blank outta here, motherblanker!” All while maintaining my balance on the bike. All the while putting myself between that thing and my son.

The beast circled away from us, still barking, still growling.

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“Keep pedaling, Apollo,” I kept saying to my son, calmly but sternly. “We need to go home now. Just keep pedaling, buddy. That’s it. Keep it up. Keep pedaling.”

My head on a swivel, between my tottering son and the shadowy, tree-covered cluster of three large, deeply recessed houses in the cul de sac whence the dark animal came, I was enraged.

“Hey, you motherblanking blankholes!” I shouted in the general direction of the shadows, over the still-circling, still-barking demon. “Your piece-of-blank blanking dog is loose, you dumb motherblankers!”

I was so angry — not only had I led myself unwittingly into danger, but I was with my son — and I was shouting so loud that I thought my mouth was going to fly off my face.

Nearly half of all U.S. households, according to the American Humane Society, now own dogs, a number that has held steady over the past couple of years (as cat ownership has declined). So that’s about 70-80 million canine pets, and if Fort Worth is about 813,000 people strong, half of that number is a lot of households with dogs. Dogs have become so popular for so many, various reasons that the law just can’t keep up, according to BarkingDogs.net, an online community for people who’ve had it up to here! with their neighbors’ particularly vocal four-legged friends.

Unleashed dog bites are also up, and pit bulls are to blame. Or aren’t. Depending on your source. If it’s the Humane Society, the dogs doing the biting aren’t even pit bulls. If it’s Merritt Clifton, editor of Animal People and the blog Animals 24-7, pit bulls are also responsible for 9-11.

In a 2011 national study published in the Annals of Surgery, pit bulls were found to be associated with “higher morbidity rates, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death than are attacks by other breeds of dogs.”

Not so fast, says Diane Covey. “We don’t want to stereotype human beings,” said the City of Fort Worth spokesperson. “You can’t judge one over another. It’s the same with dogs. It doesn’t address the owner and how that owner treats their dog.”

“Continuously over the last 50 years in this country,” she continued, “we’ve run through the gamut: German Shepherds were horrible, then Doberman Pinschers, then Rottweilers, and these times it’s pit bulls.”

Let me be frank. I love all dogs — large, small, long-haired, short-haired, smart, lovably dumb — but I don’t like pit bulls. Too scary-looking. Now I haven’t always felt this way. As a kid, I loved my buddy Denny’s tan-and-white pit Bruno. What a sweetheart. Dumb as a bag of hammers but friendly and always up for fun. And then I grew older and read that pit bulls were bred to bait bulls and take down bears, so now I’ll politely keep my distance.

And you will keep them from me. Capiche?

A couple of years ago, the debate –– are pit bulls naturally violent, or are the majority of their owners simply cruel morons? — forced the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to chime in. Though the ASPCA’s statement comes with a caveat — “excerpting is not recommended” — I’ll break it down for you: If you buy or adopt a pit bull puppy and socialize it, and take care of it and don’t abuse it, and love it, then you more than likely won’t have any problems, the implication being that most pit bulls are still employed as weapons and that of course when they’ve been chained outside all day and unfed they are going to be pissed. Any dog would be.

Though 700 U.S. cities have banned pit bulls, the ASPCA is firmly against it: “Breed-specific laws may also have the unintended consequence of encouraging irresponsible dog ownership. As certain breeds are regulated, individuals who exploit aggression in dogs are likely to turn to other, unregulated breeds. Conversely, ‘outlaws’ may be attracted to the ‘outlaw’ status of certain breeds. The rise of pit bull ownership among gang members in the late 1980s coincided with the first round of breed-specific legislation.”

But the public, said Daphna Nachminovitch, senior vice president of cruelty investigations for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the largest animal rights organization in the world, has been “misled to believe that pit bulls are like any other dog, and they just aren’t.”

Animal 24-7’s Clifton writes, “If almost any other dog has a bad moment, someone may get bitten but will not be maimed for life or killed, and the actuarial risk is accordingly reasonable. If a pit bull terrier or a Rottweiler has a bad moment, often someone is maimed or killed — and that has now created off-the-chart actuarial risk, for which the dogs as well as their victims are paying the price.”

*****

feat-637245164A couple of months ago, I joined Nextdoor, a sort of Facebook but only for the people within your zip code. Seemingly every other day, there’s a post about some lost or roaming dog. Most of the animals are described as small and harmless. Some are not.

And then I think back at all of the dumb parenting moves I’ve made over the past couple of years. By myself and with my family. If I could go back in time, I wouldn’t want to invent pizza for Leonardo da Vinci or clink martinis with Sinatra, Dean-O, and Sammy at the Sands. I would go back to when I let my then-4-year-old son ride his bike around the block, our block, by himself. That one and only time. A dog attack was only one of myriad reasons that I knew as soon as he turned the corner and was out of my sight that, well, maybe I should have gone with him.

I would go back to the moment I said, “OK, Apollo, but make sure you stay on the sidewalk and hurry back,” and I would punch myself in the mouth.

What was I thinking? Where was my brain? When I knew that all three of us — my wife, our son, and I — had had run-ins with loose dogs in our neighborhood in the past?

When the pit mix lunged at me, my son and I were traveling the same route he had taken on his own. By the time we got back home, I was as angry at the imbecility of the dog’s “owners” as myself for having letting my son go on that solo ride. When Apollo and I pulled up to our garage after the failed attack, I parked my bike, made him park his bike, and I sent him inside. Then I reached into my car and grabbed my Bowie knife.

“Anthony, don’t!” cried my neighbor from her front porch after seeing me go stomping off down the street. “It’s not worth it! They’ll throw you in jail! Or worse!”

“But what if some little girl goes walking by there?!” I charged.

“Anthony, call Animal Control!” Tammy shot back. “That’s what they’re there for! They’re professionals! You’re not!”

The stars were aligned on my side for once. Had Tammy not been there, having a smoke, playing on her phone, enjoying the beautiful weather, I’d probably be either dead (from the dog mis-owner’s bullet or the dog itself) or in jail (for stabbing something or someone to death).

My anti-dog posture may be rooted in a species of trauma. Maybe I’m precious, maybe I’m a prima donna, but I expected suburban living to come with a quotient of peacefulness. I didn’t realize how wrong I was until I actually moved into suburbia.

*****

feat-500726617Nextdoor, like Facebook, is also good for reading the all-too-often spleen-o-gram about nuisance barking. Just the other day, a friend bemoaned the fact that between the hours of 4 and 6 a.m. every day — every day — his neighbors let out their shelties, as annoying and yappy a breed as they come.

“The dogs bark uncontrollably,” he goes on to post, “which destroys my family’s last couple hours of sleep. We have talked to [our neighbors] twice about this matter and they seem to get it under control for a couple of weeks but then it reverts back into canine chaos. I don’t want to call the township and complain so what’s a person to do at this point?”

My reply was prompt and to the point: “Call the cops. You’ve done all you can. It’s not your job to mediate anymore. Get the cops and/or Animal Control involved. That’s why we pay taxes. Your sleeping peacefully isn’t bothering him. His letting his dogs out to ‘bark uncontrollably’ is bothering you. You’re in the right.”

My comment came from a place of experience.

My wife and I had been house hunting for what felt like decades (it was about two months) when we finally walked into the address that would be ours for the next 10 years and counting. Everything was fine on our initial visit until we moseyed out back. And there in our lovely future backyard was when we first heard them, three mongrels — two shelties and one Jack Russell — barking their heads off in the backyard next door.

“Oh, they get quiet after a while,” our Realtor assured us. “Let’s check out the bedroom!”

But I should have said something. I should have told my wife, “Look, I know we’ve been house hunting for at least 50 years, and we’re both tired, and we both love this house, this little starter house with the two-car garage and the kids’ room-slash-office space, but I’m not going to be able to write Big, Important stories with all that noise right next to my head. And what are we going to do when we start a family? Our kid’s not gonna be able to sleep with only a window and some drywall between him and those yappy bastards.”

I should have done something, but I was so tired of losing, so worn out on being dragged from one domestic disappointment to the next that I gave up. I was frustrated — fuming, actually — over all of the Big, Important writing I could have done back at our apartment. And all of the Bud Light I could have demolished. And all of the sleep I could have sunk deeply into.

Some days were better than others. Mostly, though, my wife and I were trapped in our own house. We rarely ever ventured out back, for fear of aggravating the beasts, and when we knew we had guests coming over, I made sure to inform them beforehand to park on the other side of our house, the one away from the dogs’ side — the mere “bam” of a closing car door could set them off.

I repeatedly pled with my neighbor, the guy who “owned” the dogs, a nice enough fella in his mid 40s who was weathering a divorce by pounding Bud Light every night. Please, I begged him. Please bring in your dumb dogs when they start barking too long. (More than 10 minutes straight, according to Fort Worth’s noise ordinance.) “No problem, bro,” he’d say. “Sorry about that. I’ll bring ’em in next time. Want a beer?”

And not only did his dogs keep going crazy, but they started doing it before 7 a.m. every day.

“Dude!” I remember shouting into his voice mailbox one morning after my wife and I had — once again — been woken up by constant yapping and yipping. “It’s six o’blanking clock in the morning! Your dumb blanking dogs are waking us up every blanking morning now! You gotta fix this, dude! We can’t take it anymore!”

Nothing. For weeks. Unless you count that the barking got worse. Now it lasted entire days.

One day while lounging around the house watching college football, or “while trying to,” I should say, my wife and I had had enough. Animal Control paid the “bro” a visit the next day, a fact I would not have known had not he, probably drunk, called me later that night — my wife and I were asleep, our phones on silent. In a cranky, drowsy, diarrheic voicemail message, he proceeded to chew me out, saying among other things that while the Animal Control folks wouldn’t tell him which neighbor had called them, he knew it was me. It had to be me, he asserted. *burp* I called him back the next morning.

“So sorry, dude,” I mocked, trying to not to laugh. “I thought Animal Control was just going to warn you. I didn’t know they were gonna slap a $500 fine on your sorry ass because your dumb blanking dogs don’t have their shots. Man, sucks to be you, bro. If only I would have asked you sooner –– like 900 times –– to keep your dumb blanking dogs quiet.”

His erstwhile outdoor-only dogs became indoor/outdoor dogs. And no more 7 a.m. wakeup barks for my wife and me.

Nuisance barking, says city spokesperson Covey, is not a problem, based solely on the volume of complaints received by Fort Worth’s Animal Control.

Nuisance barking in my part of town, North Fort Worth, is definitely a problem. Just this summer, our wonderful neighbors across the street had to sell their house and move away to escape the barking problem around them. And they’re not the only ones. Walk around my neighborhood (armed) any time of day or night, and you’ll hear yipping, yapping, and roaring. I guess some of my neighbors have simply given up and are content to live with it.

I’m not one of those people.

The guy with the shelties and Jack eventually moved away, though he left his dogs with the house — don’t know what happened to them, but our new neighbors have only one dog, a Chihuahua mix named PJ (or is it TJ?), and they’re super-cool.

*****

iStock-630052424After I returned my Bowie knife to its proper place, I frantically called Animal Control and then texted my wife. She was at the salon getting her nails done, one of only two simple pleasures she allows herself, the other being two glasses of wine with dinner or happy hour.

Even though it took Dana a good 10 minutes to get home — I told her we were fine and that there was no need to rush — I was still hot when I saw her.

After greeting me warmly, she went directly inside to talk to our son. I continued milling around the garage, pacing, milling.

Moments later, she re-emerged.

“I just talked to Apollo,” Dana said, now standing in front of me with her arms crossed.

“How’s he doing?” I asked.

“I asked him if he was OK, and he said, ‘Yeah, some ‘motherblanking’ dog came after us.”

Though my wife is not the most sympathetic soul I’ve ever known — she’s more of a pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps kind of gal — I expected a little more support, a little more comfort.

I was about to jump out of my skin — “I just got attacked by a motherblanking pit bull!” — but I stopped. I took a deep breath, and I apologized for my language.

“I’m sorry, babe,” I said, my eyes boiling with fury just beneath the surface. “I’ll talk with him right now and set him straight. ‘Daddy said some adult words that we don’t repeat ever.’ I’ll take care of it.”

I stopped for one reason: I was not going to let that furry four-legged terrorist win. I was not going to let someone’s dumb dog come between my wife and me. I protected my son physically. Now it was time for me to protect my family unit emotionally.

The purchase of the Bowie knife — and a canister of pepper spray — was occasioned by a recent confrontation my wife and son had with a much smaller, much less vicious canine on another bike ride. That I packed neither my knife nor the pepper spray for what was intended to be a quick little jaunt around the block still haunts me.

In our part of Texas, pit bulls are still really popular. My wife’s lovely adult niece and her new family have two pit bulls. And, yes, when my family and I are visiting, we are visiting only because our singular condition has been met: that the dogs are being kept outside throughout the entire duration of our time on the property and that our son is nowhere near them. Otherwise, we’re totally fine with stopping by some other time. Or having family over to our house.

Animal Control was on the scene in about 20 minutes. Though I made sure the two field officers knew my full name, phone number, and address — “You can tell that motherblanker I’m the one who called,” I growled repeatedly to them — I have no idea what happened afterward. Haven’t seen that dog since, though.

Maybe bad dog ownership is a manifestation of the general shittiness sweeping the nation. Of course some dog owners don’t care where their dogs are or what they’re doing. We’re living in America, bro! Land of the free! If you don’t like it, you can move to France!

“They’re dogs,” I overheard a coworker say one time when the subject of nuisance barking came up. “That’s what they do. They bark. Get over it.”

Uh, no, stugotz. Untrained, unhappy dogs bark endlessly. Not well-trained, happy ones. When one of my friends in our tight-knit Pittsburgh community in the 1970s and ’80s brought a new dog home, one of the first things he did was train the creature not to bark. My buddy shook tins of pennies at his mutts every time they yapped inside or out. All of his dogs since then have been quiet. And well-behaved.

The general crappiness is all over Facebook and Nextdoor. Like drivers who are too occupied with their phones to stay in one lane at a time or jerks at the supermarket who don’t have a problem piling into the express lane with 200 items, bad dog owners — of any breed — will do anything they can to avoid taking responsibility.

“Our dog keeps digging out of our yard,” they moan.

Well, fix your blanking fence!

“We can’t afford to fix our fence now.”

Then keep your dumb blanking dog(s) inside!

Am I infringing upon someone’s inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness by suggesting he either owns his pets 100 percent or not at all, or is my keeping to myself and protecting my family — quietly — an infringement upon him and the rest of the world?

Depending how you answer says a lot about you. Dare you entertain some empathy? Motherblanker?

This story has been updated from the print version to reflect new information.

 

27 COMMENTS

  1. First of all, I reported about 9/11, including writing obituaries for nearly two dozen of my readers, & object to the allegation, even made in jest, that I believe “pit bulls are also responsible for 9-11.” What I know, based on nearly 35 years of meticulous data logging on dog attacks, is that pit bulls have been responsible for 368 human dog attack deaths in the U.S. & Canada since 1982 (55% of the total), and for at least 3,360 disfigurements (74% of the total). What I also know, based on extensive retrospective research, is that there has never been a time since at least 1839 when pit bulls did not account for half or more of all reported dog attack fatalities in the U.S., with no other breed type even close over any 10-year period. Dog attack fatalities were so rare from 1930 to 1960, however, that even though pit bulls killed nine of the 16 known victims during this time, just two fatal attacks by Dobermans, one in 1955 and one in 1960, were enough to lastingly establish the reputation of the Doberman as a dangerous breed.

  2. P.S. — As a point of accurate phrasing, I should have been described as former editor of the Animal People newspaper (1992-2013). Since early 2014 I have been exclusively editor of the online animal news web site ANIMALS 24-7, produced with my wife Beth, who has also written extensively about pit bulls and related issues from her perspective as a former police officer, animal control officer, and vet tech before becoming a photojournalist. Please see “Why pit bulls will break your heart” at the ANIMALS 24-7 web site.

    • Obviously you tried everything that you could to make the relationship work with the foundling pit bull trooper. This is a must read article for those naive enough to believe in pit bull fantasyland.

  3. Anecdotally, it’s not just non-dog owners that have these issues, anger, and fears. When I lived in The Fairmount I had to stop walking my two fur-kids because we were accosted multiple times by dangerous canines. Between the idiots that think a dog inside their own home is too much trouble, leash-free advocates, free-range 85-pound strays, and abused and therefore now human aggressive animals it was a no-go zone. I started carrying Bear Spray but finally gave up. I’d only walk through Mistletoe Heights, simply because they seem to be capable of the responsibility of dog ownership as a neighborhood. Tell people about this problem on The Fairmount Facebook page? Laughable and always ended up invoking Godwin’s law somehow, by suggesting people should keep their pets contained.

    It’s a much bigger problem here in Texas than many places, thanks to the dogfighting rings that use these animals for fighting or bait dogs. Often they will take and dump them in residential neighborhoods when they are “used up.” With the stigma of a dangerous breed, many regular people find themselves no longer able to rent an apartment or get homeowners insurance and they turn the dog out on the streets. It’s a bad cycle.

    Also, rural Texans seem less likely to spay or neuter their animals. Personally, I have been involved with Pointer rescue in DFW. Granted, it’s a non-aggressive breed, but there’s still a population problem. Every year after hunting season another round of dogs past their prime end up dumped on some county road to starve, but they are unfixed and have probably bred 60 new puppies a piece.

    Not everyone should get the privilege of owning an animal. This is especially true of dangerous breeds. Most local Pit bull rescue advocates do a very good job of screening potential adopters. But that does not stop backyard breeders from handing over a puppy to some jackass that thinks it’s you and your problem if you encounter the abused, neglected, or mistreated animal years later. Abuse laws need to be stricter, as they are in other states. Neglect laws as well. Texas needs to kick the good ol’ boy stuff to the curb and come up with better solutions to these issues before more people are hurt or killed and more dogs are turned into monsters.

    • I really hope FTW PD is watching this guy. He buys a Bowie knife and pepper spray to attack dogs on bicycle rides? He allows a 4 year old to ride around the block by himself? He curses like a sailor, so much so that his 4 year old is emulating his hate? This is all self admitted in his article. This behavior may be acceptable in Pittsburg, but not in Ft Worth. Horrible article. I expect better in the future. This is pure hate speech.

      • If you think protecting oneself from unleashed dogs is the same as “… to attack dogs on bicycle rides,” you can go back to reading US Weekly and People magazine now.

        And it’s “Pittsburgh.” Founded nearly a 100 years before Fort Worth. Get it right.

      • The author apparently wanted to sound like a big tough guy when he wrote this but it actually just showed what a sad tiny little man he really is.

      • “Hate Speech” seriously? Vicious dogs and their careless or deliberately socio-pathic owners have a constitutional right to attack innocent citizens? What nonsense.

  4. You are sadly mistaken PETA is for Breed Specific Legislation.

    Our national humane orgs such as, Humane Society of the United States, ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society, pit bull owners/advocates and legislators have turned our communities into killing fields for pit bulls.

    None of these orgs track fatalities by dog breeds: American Bar Association (ABA), the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), HSUS, ASPCA, Best Friends Animal Society and the American Kennel Club (AKC), amongst many others.

    Those organizations have a vested financial interest in pit bulls. Those with a “product on the shelf” to move. Those who make money selling pit bulls or make a living not only treating pit bulls but also from repairing the poor animals they attack. Those whose income could be affected by their views on pit bulls.

    Five Levels of the Pit Bull Lobby: http://blog.dogsbite.org/2016/10/montreal-pit-bull-ban-veterinary-report-pit-bull-lobby.html?m=1

    Level 1: The financing source. Animal Farm Foundation (AFF), owned by Jane Berkey. The company’s motto is: “Securing equal treatment and opportunity for pit bull dogs.” AFF devotes itself entirely to fighting pit bull regulations. “After inheriting a fortune from her father, Jane Berkey, who also owns a literary agency, turned over at least $6 million to her group, $2.85 million in 2013, according to government records. She pays 9 employees (one of whom, the director, makes more than $100,000 a year) and finances numerous groups that share her philosophy,” La Presse reports.

    Level 2: The researchers. “To produce studies, AFF bought a private research body in 2007. The acquisition was kept secret until the victims’ group Dogsbite discovered this during litigation. The National Canine Research Council (NCRC) was created by a veterinary technician, Karen Delise. Neither an academic researcher nor a veterinarian, she self proclaims as the ‘greatest national expert on deaths caused by dog bites,’” La Presse reports. NCRC co-authors and finances studies, like the ones cited by the OMVQ, which chiefly attempt to show pit bulls cannot be identified.

    Level 3: Publication. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA). “The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) publishes NCRC studies in its journal. On its own website it proposes sample letters [for readers to write] contesting any law aimed at pit bulls. Moreover, its site has a link to AFF,” La Presse reports. The journalist even points out the AVMA’s notice on the embargoed 2000 fatal dog attack study, which falsely and fraudulently states: “In contrast to what has been reported in the news media, the data contained within this report CANNOT be used to infer any breed-specific risk for dog bite fatalities.”

    Level 4: The political lobby. Best Friends Animal Society. Their senior legislative analyst, Ledy VanKavage, drafts state-level bills to eliminate local pit bull ordinances (state preemption laws) and is also a board member of AFF. VanKavage boasts on Best Friends’ corporate website that she commissioned an ex-economist from the tobacco industry, John Dunham, to create a fiscal calculator designed to advise governments on the cost of breed banning. Dunham’s sham BSL calculator, financed by the NCRC, over exaggerates these costs by nearly two orders of magnitude.

    Level 5: The distributors. The animal care industry. “All the lobby studies are abundantly distributed by animal-based companies like shelters, breeders, trainers, etc. In Montreal, they are [distributed] by, amongst others, the SPCA, whose mission is to avoid euthanizing dogs and whose two most senior executives are themselves owners of pit bulls,” states La Presse. “On social media, pit bull owners deploy these studies relentlessly and accuse all their opponents of ignorance,” La Presse reports. More aggressive ones have even threatened the mayor of Québec City with death.

  5. AMEN. I’ve taken to spraying the neighbor’s dog with ammonia water when he body slams our fence and barks when we are outside. Works.

  6. Pit bulls are not the problem it’s the people that mistreat them and it’s the people like this writer that make blanket statements about them. It’s people like this writer that “insist” their family shove their dogs outside while you bring your offspring over. How would you feel if they asked the same of you? The fact that your neighbor moved away and abandonded his dogs to what I assume is die and your lack of humanity or compassion is staggering. You are not this important to the world. If you don’t like dogs then just own it. But all dogs are only as good as their owners and I hope you will never own one chances are they would end up mistreated or dumped at the shelter or best case, shoved outdoors so that all of your neighbors would have to complain on next door about you.

    • Why is it unreasonable for me to make that request of my family? It’s only for an hour or so, and their dogs are happy and well-fed. And don’t bark. Someday soon, I hope to own a dog, a German Shepherd specifically, and if anyone — ANYONE — is put off by my pooch, I would be more than happy to send the dog out back. It’s only for a few minutes anyway.

      My neighbor did not leave his dogs to die. His family came over periodically to feed them. I’m assuming his family also took them in. They were there for only about a week or so in balmy weather. I should have put that in the story. Thanks.

  7. “We don’t want to stereotype human beings”- there is NO group of human beings, EVER, that were purpose bred for specific behavioral traits. ALL dog BREEDS were bred to exhibit specific behavioral traits like herding, retrieving, and yes, fighting. Every trait that was BRED INTO these dogs-explosive,
    disproportionate and unprovoked aggression, gameness, and their uniquely
    damaging hold and shake attack style-makes them defective, destructive, and
    deadly as a PET animal (http://occupymaulstreet.blogspot.com/2012/12/darwin-dogs-pit-bulls-killing-and.html) and stupid, dangerous, and
    defective as any type of therapy or service dog: http://cravendesires.blogspot.com/2012/04/vintage-stunt-pit-picks.html

    There is only a controversy in the minds of people who want
    to avoid reality. Pit bulls are the number ONE breed for human fatalities and
    severe, life altering injuries (fatalpitbullattacks.com), serial attacks,
    rampage attacks, and failing a ‘second chance’ (dogbitelaw.com) as well as
    mauling and killing pets and livestock (17barks.blogspot.com). This is no more
    an appropriate and safe pet than a tiger or bear and should be regulated the
    same way.
    Something isn’t a ‘stereotype’ if it’s REALLY HAPPENING.

  8. I really enjoyed this article, in particular the comment about the general encroaching “shittiness” of our declining culture. (In some circles known as the “tooth to tattoo ratio”). Neighbor dog, kid, noise,destructive behavior, or trash aggression on fellow neighbors seems increasingly common. Pit Bulls are SCARY (period). I grew up in a neighborhood with many big dogs owned by neighbors , German Shepards , Boxers, Danes, and a few medium sized hounds as well as assorted furry mutts. There was never any fear. Now dogs are very unpredictable, as are some people around you. It is a shame.

  9. You sound like you’ve got some serious anger management issues. Grabbing a knife to go stab someone’s dog because it chased you on a bike? Cursing out the cops/animal control that came when you called? How is someone with such horrible impulse control even able to hold down a full time job? If your neighborhood is full of roaming packs of murderous dogs as you make it sound…why don’t you just move somewhere safer?

    • “Grabbing a knife to go stab someone’s dog because it chased you on a bike?”
      That’s not why. Try reading the article this time. I was going to try to protect anyone else from coming under attack, namely other children.

      “Cursing out the cops/animal control that came when you called?”
      Nope. Didn’t curse out anyone. I cursed while talking to them, but I didn’t curse AT them. Two different things. Try reading the article this time.

      “why don’t you just move somewhere safer?”
      I don’t know where you live, but in my reality, normal people just can’t just pick up and move anytime they want. Selling/buying a house is a huge ordeal, one that’s not done overnight or lightly.

      • Nothing says neighborhood safety quite like a middle aged man wielding a Bowie knife around children shouting curse words to cops (not at, as if there’s really a significant difference).

        Based off your writing I’d take a guess that you suffer from anger management issues and/or short man syndrome.

        • Ummm-I think that the bowie knife reference was more an insightful reference to frustration rather than an indication of antisocial tendencies. The author indicated that he wasn’t going to use it. As for cursing at no one in particular, out of frustration, and feeling a little silly afterwards–what modern human doesn’t do that? Seriously dude, do you really understand contemporary “life” that you want others to “get”. Last night’s news BTW described a pit-bull mauling of a young boy in Garland. The neighbors had lodged several complaints to the city about the dog, which was finally euthanized after mauling a little boy (how special). Now the owner and city of Garland (i.e. Garland taxpayers) are going to be sued. Vicious dogs are more of a threat and hazard to the public, than a guy who decides his bowie knife is not a solution. I enjoyed the article and have no problem understanding the author’s emotional roller-coaster. Perhaps you should actually read it too “Get a Life”.

          • Hillary, I don’t know you, but thanks for reading and writing.

            And thanks for not making any short jokes. (I’m 5’10”. Is that short? It’s not tall. I’m confused.)

  10. Killer story Mr. Mariani. Nothing worse than bad dogs running around a neighborhood, unless maybe a Tea-Bagging, butt-scratching, Repug Peckerwood telling you what’s right and wrong. They will always be with us I guess.

  11. I have a family living next to me for the last 23 years. All was good until about 7 years ago they got mad my dog peeing in their yard. I get it, my super bad. So their 2 grown boys have this pit bull and they surround it in my yard and command it to put my dog in its mouth. We complained. Now they let it bark since 2011. I tried animal control, cops, nothing works. They let it BOMB bark constantly and no neighbors will complain. The dad who owns home has a home in Mexico and is never there, the son uses the house to drop the dog off for the day. Every day. His ex-fiance (custody dispute over dog) picks the dog up late at night. I get 5:30 am, 1 am, its now 9:19 pm, mostly quiet all day and its bomb barking after a long hard day at work. If I sue, the guy has already had me followed to the gym and had a big hispanic woman say shit to me (I know because it was a brand new gym not my normal gym so I knew no one) plus put xmas tree in our yard, had us “served” summons, had a pizza delivered and they guy would not leave….so tons of payback and I live at the MERCY OF A PIT BULL DAILY.
    We raised 3 kids and my husband goes to work daily at 4 am til 3 pm his is 56.
    Any ideas. I just bought a dog silencer but I’m not hopeful.
    They make the dog to flesh eating barking and they giggle…he is for sure trained vicious dog, we do gardening and it wants to wrip our heads off thru the fence….right now, its like a DOG BRAWL next store (they have a few). they really want my attention I guess so they can let it bark all night long….my husband sleeps thru it mostly…not sure…but he snores and is exhausted.
    What to do?
    Move? Would love to retaliate at that point but they would find us as we would move only locally.

  12. They don’t like ammonia. Surround your perimeter with it and build a better fence. They’ll probably end up killing g each other soon.

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