I promised to keep you informed of further developments with my neighbor and the whole dog/grass situation. This post is my attempt to make good on that promise. Be forewarned that this post is lacking in snark. If you are looking for entertainment, I’d cut your losses and stop reading now. Also, please note that I am listing a summary of the key takeaways I heard in my own words, and am not claiming to quote Jay verbatim.
Today I had a cordial conversation with my neighbor, Jay. He politely communicated their displeasure with my handling of this situation; particularly the way I have publicly aired the dirty laundry without working with them privately.
Jay stated that my public statements contain misleading “half truths” that misrepresent the situation. He stated that I’ve made their dog out to be an monstrous animal that is a danger to the community, which is not an accurate representation of what the dog is really like. Specifically, he pointed out:
- That the attack on my dog occurred in their backyard, in which his dog was protecting his territory. He feels that the dog would not act the same way on public property.
- That the dog is obedience trained and within their control when on a leash.
- That the dog has not endangered children.
Jay pointed out that my pressuring them to get rid of the dog is like trying to take away a member of their family. Likewise, the [allegedly] misleading statements I’ve made about his dogs and his girlfriend, Marina, are personal attacks toward them. They are members of this community too, and embarrassing them publicly is not the right way to handle it. According to Jay, I should have approached them with my concerns prior to calling animal control, posting messages in the neighborhood Facebook group, or publicly posting information on the internet.
Jay also pointed out corrective steps they have taken include getting the white dog neutered, taking him to day care during the day, and giving him additional training. He states the dog is calmer now than he used to be.
As for the grass, Jay says their concern was that the type of grass I was planting would creep into their yard like a crabgrass weed. This is why Marina pulled it up.
- We agreed to mutually maintain the disputed section of fence.
- I reiterated to Jay that I do not trust Marina’s judgement, and will not waste time talking to her further, as she doesn’t listen to anything I say. But I told him I was conflicted to what extent he was responsible for this mess. In reply, he indicated that he and Marina stand together.
- Jay and I remember the husky incident differently. Jay remembers stopping his dog before it touched a husky. I remember his akita pinning the husky down and snapping at its back. In my opinion, the close proximity of the dog fight to the stroller put the child within at unacceptable risk, as the melee could have tumped the stroller over. Jay says the dogs did not come close to harming the child.
- I did communicate with them in private before blowing the whistle publically. Grass and dogs.
- As for the allegedly misleading comments, I wrote what I wrote . Here is the Facebook Post in question. Here is the animal control complaint. I’m redacting identities of 3rd parties and street numbers. Also note in FB discussion that my comments on the huskies were based on information I had at the time.
Minor points aside, my main response to Jay was that I like his dog too. That is part of what makes this situation so awful. For 18 months I was as supportive as any neighbor could be. Their dog was not leashed trained when I moved here; I personally walked the dog to teach him how to not pull the leash. I gave them a key to my garage and invited them to use my dog training supplies. I allowed them to socialize the dog with my lab, Jake. Bottom line: as long as their akita had a chance, I did everything a neighbor reasonably could do to be supportive.
I mean, the dog used to talk to me (the cute way spitz-type breeds do) every time he saw me. It was endearing. So the decision to promote euthanizing the dog was not made lightly.
But the way Akio bit and didn’t let go was a game changer. Dogs that clamp down like that and don’t let go are too dangerous to ignore, especially when the handlers are powerless to stop it. By definition, these types of bites make the dog more vicious than 99% of all dog bites. According to experts, once a dog attacks like this it is too late for rehabilitation. It was only after the dog proved beyond doubt to be vicious and dangerous that I stopped supporting their efforts. And, once proven to be vicious and dangerous, I contacted animal control only after they failed to voluntarily take appropriate safety measures.
Bottom line: There is much truth in what Jay said, as their white dog is beautiful, obedient, and pleasant to be around most of the time. I’m also sure he is quite loyal to his family. However, this doesn’t make him any less dangerous. It only takes one event for something bad to happen that can never be undone. Therefore, I stand behind all my positions and communicated such to Jay.
I respect the fact that Jay and Marina love their pets like family. I wouldn’t be so unwavering in my position were it not critically important. So Jay and I have agreed to disagree.
I want to publically thank Jay for discussing these issues face-to-face with me today. Jay, if you or Marina would like to reply to anything I’ve said, now or previously, you are more than welcome to do so. I will gladly post a link, or you may email your statements to me and I will post them without editing, or you can post a comment below.
And, as stated today, Jay, you may knock on my door anytime you have a concern and would like to discuss privately. I pledged to give readers an update. This post is my attempt to make good on that pledge while at the same time remaining respectful to you and your family.
And I’m glad we came to a mutual agreement on how to handle the fence and grass.