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Question
Posted by: CD | 2004/11/04

Vicious Neighbourhood Dog

Last night when returning to my complex after taking my dog for a walk I, and my dog, were nearly attacked by a vicious alsatian. After five minutes of this dog barking at us with it hackles raised and teeth showing, my husband came to my aid - the owner of this dog lives in the same complex and regularly lets it out without supervision (this is the second time I have run into it with a near escape). After confronting the owner it was very clear that she was not going to accept the fact that her dog is aggressive. My question is: am I able to report the matter even though I was not bitten and if so who do I contact? (I live in the Table View area). Surely pets are not permitted to roam the streets unattended?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberVet

Cape Town has very definite municipal regulations regarding dogs. There are helpline numbers to phone in this regard. Please phone the municipality and enquire. In my opinion, aggressive dogs that are not accompanied should definitely be reported before they kill another dog, or worse, a human. I would definitely and strongly recommend action.

Dr Malan van Zyl
Veterinary Specialist Physician
Cape Town

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Chill | 2004/11/05

Sounds wonderful, Davina - but what's the shelter going to do? They are not empowered to remove dogs as they deem fit, and they can hardly kidnap it.

In fact, very few people 'have their dogs taken away' because that requires a court order. The SPCA may do so, but only in cases of provable cruelty or neglect, and even then they have to show due cause why the animal can't be returned to its owner.

In other cases, where animals are 'taken away', the fact is that the owners either don't care enough to insist on their rights, or are ignorant as to what those rights are.

In a 'worst-case' scenario when a dog is really being a threat, the correct legal remedy is to obtain a court order against the owner of the dog. Go to your local magistrate's court, they will advise. I don't think there's a charge for this - BUT - simply saying 'the dog frightens me' isn't going to be adequate reason for a court order to be granted.

The other fact is: all of us dog-owners who walk their dogs have at some time or other been accosted by a dog that may have been threatening or scary. That doesn't mean the dog IS vicious or unreliable. I fully believe that it is every dog-owner's DUTY to confine their pet to their own premises, but it isn't ILLEGAL not to do so.

A calm rational approach is best. I wonder if the original writer has thought of trying to make friends with the Shepherd in question? There are, if you will forgive the expression, a lot of ways to skin a cat!

Reply to Chill
Posted by: Davina | 2004/11/04

A German Shepherd in a complex!! No wonder this poor animal is so aggressive.

I would speak to the animals owner first. Sometimes they can be made to see the light. If nothing works definately get hold of a shelter (preferably one where re-homing is the major priority)

Sadly, many people who have there dogs taken away, just get more dogs so Its always better to try to educate people, before calling the authorities.

Reply to Davina
Posted by: Chill | 2004/11/04

I'm not sure that the SPCA is the route to go - surely there's a Body Corporate or something where you live? And if it's a complex, are there no rules about pets being kept under control? You can't be the only person affected by this problem.

Also - very often it's one's own reaction that elicits a certain response from 'other' dogs. Of course, I have no idea what you did (and I'm quite certain it was a nerve-wracking experience for you), but, for example, if you set up a shrieking or yell at the dog, then he's going to react more aggressively than if you were to ignore him. Easier said than done, I know, but still, it's worth remembering.

Re the noisemaking remedy that's been suggested: be careful with this, because it's going to frighten your own dog every bit as much as the aggressive one, and you don't want that. If it's a serious and ongoing problem, you can get one of tose 'shock sticks' which are VERY effective - they deliver a noticeable (though not harmful) electric shock, which is pretty well guaranteed to scare off any dog - and also any human who tries to mess with you!

Reply to Chill
Posted by: Acineth | 2004/11/04

I'd say report it - she is negligent. What you can do is buy a device that makes a piercing sound (I think you get them at security stores). It is a can of compressed air - it should frighten off an agressive dog. It is always a good idea to keep one with you on walks - unfortunately your neighbour is not the only person who thinks thebest way of walking their dog is to let it run in the street.

Reply to Acineth
Posted by: Corne | 2004/11/04

I'm pretty sure you can report the issue.
Even to the SPCA because it is negligent of the owner to let a dog out on its own to roam the streets no matter if the dog is aggressive or not.Good luck.

Reply to Corne

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