Civil Rights of Dogs

Featured image by the author.

My dog is a Great Dane, 160 lb. 3.5 ft tall when she’s on all fours, named Sidney.

Sidney is a mother of two litters of 10, one of them we kept, the runt of the second litter named Tink as in Tinker Bell. Tink weights 120 pounds, now fully grown. With Sidney being a mother, she’s extremely protective towards everyone in my family.

They both are trained and well behaved, and great with children.

But one day, in 2013, on a chilly afternoon I brought Sidney on a run.

She was on her short leather horse leash and choker collar, so she was in my control. Sidney loves to run and behaves really good, except if there are other dogs on the road or outside. She can usually ignore them after awhile, but this one was an exception.

We were 3 miles from home, and there was a small black dog, probably 20-30 lb. outside in their yard not in fence or tied to anything. She was calm until the dog started to come towards her, in the road.

Sidney was afraid of what the dog’s actions were towards her and I, and I sensed that so I sped up trying to get her away before something bad happened. I noticed at that time, the owner of the dog, was casually standing in his yard, watching his dog go towards me in the public road.

The dog ran towards Sidney and went underneath her. Sidney freaked out because she thought the dog wanted to hurt me, so she in defense, attacked the dog, trying to get it away from me. The grown man stood frozen like a coward and left me, a 120 lb. 13 year old girl at the time, to pry a 160 pound dog off of his.

I scooped down underneath Sidney and grabbed her jaw, knowing she wouldn’t hurt me, and pried it open, to release the dog from her grip. The dog whimpered and ran back to his house faster than greased lightening. The grown man unfroze and picked up his dog and went inside and left me in the street, freaked out and bleeding because in the process of getting Sidney off the dog, I scrapped my elbow on the gravel road.

So I ran as fast as I ever ran 3 miles, crying, bleeding, yelling at Sidney and the world. I had enough blood coming from my elbow to cover my hand in blood and stain most of my clothes. Nobody who drove by seemed to notice me.

The following spring, I hardly ever brought Sidney on runs, but I decided to one day. To the same place.

We made it past the house without any problems, but with two miles to go, a car pulled over and the women sitting in the passenger seat asked me, “Umm… Is that the dog that attacked my dog last fall? Umm… Why didn’t you stop by? What’s your number? I need your family to pay for the money I spent because of your dog at the vet.”

Thankfully, she never called the house, (I’m guessing her husband felt bad,)  and I’m grateful for it, because I was afraid that Sidney could be put down.

First of all, she pulled over and questioned me. There is no law against it but it is inappropriate for her to do that without my parent, and I could have just remained silent that the Fifth Amendment grants me. (Which I should have done, but if you know me, I just broke down and started crying and told them everything she wanted to know.)

Second of all, my dog was in the PUBLIC street at all times, on a LEASH.

Finally, her little dog provoked my dog.

On Friday the 11th, Dec. 2015,

I walked home from school. Once I past the dam, I noticed a small beagle in his yard. When he noticed me he started to howl. He was not in a fence. And his owner wasn’t outside when I past.

I was on the public sidewalk, and the dog, still howling, disrupted my intended path.

I stuck my hand out, to try to calm down the dog, but the dog bit my hand.

Of course after the dog bit me the owner came out and apologized and brought her dog inside.

What’s a dangerous dog, then?

By the 2015 Minnesota Statutes,

“Dangerous dog” means any dog that has:

(1) without provocation, inflicted substantial bodily harm on a human being on public or private property;

(2) killed a domestic animal without provocation while off the owner’s property; or

(3) been found to be potentially dangerous, and after the owner has notice that the dog is potentially dangerous, the dog aggressively bites, attacks, or endangers the safety of humans or domestic animals.

Definition Potentially Dangerous dog

“Potentially dangerous dog” means any dog that:

(1) when unprovoked, inflicts bites on a human or domestic animal on public or private property;

(2) when unprovoked, chases or approaches a person, including a person on a bicycle, upon the streets, sidewalks, or any public or private property, other than the dog owner’s property, in an apparent attitude of attack; or

(3) has a known propensity, tendency, or disposition to attack unprovoked, causing injury or otherwise threatening the safety of humans or domestic animals.

People only need to have a fence for their dog after they bit someone. That’s just a perfect law.

To society my dog is the dangerous dog, even know Sidney never bite anyone like the beagle that doesn’t have a fence. Sidney will never bite anyone, unless someone provokes her, and threatens her family. Even my little cousin when she was a baby stuck her hand in Sidney’s mouth and  Sidney didn’t do anything… Well except lick her and get saliva all over her. 🙂

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