Letter To The Editor: Regarding Dogs Attacking Other Dogs

By VIVIAN ZAPF
Los Alamos
 
I’d like to give a counterpoint to Lisa Hampton’s letter about irresponsible dog owners.
 
Long ago, in a different state and a different decade, my family’s dog attacked a Jack Russel Terrier. There were puncture wounds, vet bills, angry shouting, incriminations. We paid the vet bills. But we couldn’t bring ourselves to apologize. Here is the back story.

When she was a 4-month-old puppy, our dog Rosie was viciously pursued by a Jack Russel terrier who nearly killed her. With our help, Rosie managed to get away. This terrier lived at a barn where many people kept their horses, and brought their dogs to play. After frequent complaints, the barn managers got in the habit of keeping this Jack Russel terrier locked up.

Two years later, Rosie had become a frequent visitor at this barn and was well-socialized with all the other dogs — except for the terrier. And then one day he was out. We weren’t expecting him. Rosie was now 2 years old and twice the size of the terrier. She attacked. She was egged on by her friends – several other dogs who lived at the barn who were also past victims of this terrier.

Rosie and all the other dogs were off the leash, which was normally fine. The terrier ended up at the vet. He had been attacked on his own property by a pack of dogs and bitten by Rosie. Is Rosie at fault? Rosie had never attacked another dog before – and has never since.

Should Rosie have been put down? Should the barn managers have kept this terrier – a dog from a breed with known aggressive and hyper-territorial traits — at a communal barn? Was being continually locked up fair for the Jack Russel terrier either?

There is always a back story.
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