I was inside the house and heard loud barking coming from my back yard. I do not own any animals, so I went to investigate. I opened the back door and stepped out on the deck and saw two dogs attacking something in an old wagon. As I walked closer, I could see that the dogs were after my daughter’s cat. I began to yell at the dogs to stop, but the command went unnoticed. There was one particular dog that I watched closer than the other one because it was a very large Labrador retriever.
As I approached closer, the two dogs turned around and came after me. I had no means of protecting myself, and the two dogs began to circle me. I saw a piece of wood lying on the ground and reached down and retrieved it. The big Lab dog didn’t seemed bothered in the least at what I had just done. I finally started at the Lab, swinging the stick hopefully to scare it off. This did not work at all, so I threw the stick at the Lab hitting it in the side. As I turned around to see where the smaller dog was, he had sneaked around behind me and came about a foot of biting me. At this point the owner of the dogs came over and had to grab the Lab by the collar to control it. With the dogs finally under control, I explained as best as I could that the dogs should be under her control at all times and that I did not want them in my yard again. The owner agreed, and before she left I told her again to keep them under control.
Well, on Thursday (Sept. 20), I had just returned home and parked my truck in the garage. I walked down to the garbage can to bring it around the back of my house when I heard what sounded like a dog fight coming from my back yard. As I walked to see what was going on, I saw my granddaughter standing in the middle of her yard and these same two dogs were after her and her small dog. She had taken her dog out so she could stretch her legs and do her business. Her dog, by the way, was on a leash. She had picked up her dog as to try and keep the other dogs from attacking it. I immediately went to my granddaughter’s aid and was thinking that this is the second time that these same two dogs had come into our yard causing trouble. The encounter that I experienced earlier in the week alerted me that this bigger dog was going to be dangerous whenever I approached it. I was carrying a concealed firearm, which I have a license to do so. This is the point that I pulled my Glock pistol and prepared for the worst case possible. I have to assume that doing this moved the dogs back a few feet, and the owner appeared, yelling, “Don’t shoot my dog.” Never once did she try and subdue her dogs. The owner ran in front of me yelling, “You better not shoot my dog.” Her attitude was to save her dogs, and not my granddaughter.
This being the second encounter with these dogs, I told my granddaughter that she needed to file a report about this. The Catoosa County sheriff’s deputy arrived and took our statement. The animal control officer also arrived. The owner of the dog had left during this time, and while we were standing in the yard, she pulled into her driveway. The animal control officer went over and talked to her about the incident, and she volunteered to turn over the larger dog, which was a Lab. I hope this puts an end to this unfortunate incident.
I need to mention that you as a homeowner do have rights in situations like this one. It is the responsibility of the owner of pets to keep them under control. I have noticed that as owners return home in the evening is generally when I see the most dogs roaming the neighborhood. In most cases the dogs roam around for a while and then return home, with no problems.
There are laws in Catoosa County and if you are a dog owner, you should find out what they are. While I do not try to explain any of our laws, I will say that if your dog or dogs go into someone’s yard, and attacks the owner, the owner has the right to protect themselves. I will mention that I did not discharge my firearm, pulling your firearm doesn’t always have to end up shooting something or somebody.
To close this column, take responsibility for your dogs; don’t leave it up for your neighbor to watch after them. There are no winners in most of these cases; the judge sometimes has to make believers out of dog owners. I would like thank the Catoosa County Deputy and Animal control officer that investigated this case.
Roger Sherrill lives in Ringgold. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.