Apparently, the 10 year old was visiting his friends' house, as opposed to (say) roaming around (I don't know why that matters, if it does), but regardless, I find this sort of thing outrageous, and an affront to responsible dog owners everywhere. I've railed and railed to no end about how annoying, for instance, the noise of a dog barking is, about neighbors who let their dogs run loose and then blame you for not erecting a fence when their dog roams into YOUR PRIVATE YARD and causes destruction (tore-up trash bags, food eaten, holes dug, chasing your cat, etc).
I often-times wonder--would such dog owners appreciate it if I were to, say, get a wild tiger or giraffe without restraining it, and then upon it wandering into their yard causing destruction respond "well they're just doing what comes natural to them, nothing I can do, maybe you ought to put a fence up if you hate giraffes so much." Or, say, if I get a wild bear and it roars all the time and wakes people up, respond to their complaints "I have him for protection in case a stranger comes up, that roar makes me feel safe."
Of course they wouldn't appreciate it, as well they shouldn't. Fine, then--how come these ignoramuses around here think dogs are any different?
Here is a letter to the editor3 from me, it appeared in the Longview News-Journal newspaper:
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I'm new to the Leverett's Chapel area and live about 1 mile away from where Justin Clinton was mauled to death by two pitbulls.
I mean no disrespect, but what is with the people who have no sense of responsibility for their dogs? I've been known to bicycle in the area where this occurred, which I have every right to do, and dogs are constantly running out in the road upon sight. Is it really that difficult to put a dog on a chain, or erect an invisible electric fence? I have every right to bicycle on a public road without that sort of harassment, or worse. I'm not going to stop bike-riding, but do I now have to seek legal counsel to find out what sort of weapons I can start carrying with me?
I own a dog, but it is chained every minute I'm not home and outside supervising it, every minute, even though I'm well off any roads, secluded in the woods. I do so because what few neighbors I do have are perfectly within their rights to not want my dog wandering on their land or bothering them, even though my dog is harmless.
There is no excuse for the sort of irresponsibility I'm seeing around here.
— Larry R Harrison Jr, Laird HillHey, I love dogs in general, and if a stray dog approaches me from the road but is actually acting friendly, I will WELCOME it and pet it in return. No reason to get upset in that case, just be friendly back I say. I'm easy-going in those cases. But when they come into the road shouting (ok, barking) at me, nipping at my heels? Like I said, I'm on a public road, I have every right to not have to put up with it for a single minute.
I don't know the details of what happened here, yet anyway, but I do know that this sort of thing is outrageous and should not be happening. What's also messed up is that responsible dog owners, like my best friend, people like that who would never be in the middle of something like this, are the targets of scorn & backlash when he & others like him are nothing but totally responsible dog owners who deserve no backlash at all. It's unfair for him and others, I've said about him that if all dog owners were like him there would be no trouble, and that's true.
I love my dog myself, but it doesn't walk on water and not everyone around me feels the same about it as I do. It has no business trespassing on other people's land or bothering someone on a public road. That is my responsibility, not someone else's to learn to live with it.
Or, in this case, (apparently) die on account of it.
1KLTV Story #1
2KLTV Story #2
3Longview News-Journal, letters to the editor, 6-23-2009