Monday, March 23, 2015

My Dog Is A Fugitive From Justice.

My dog is on the lam.

My dog is living under an assumed identity.

My dog is being shielded by others at great cost to themselves.

My dog is an asshole.

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While Boyfiend (formerly Brother In Beer) and I were spending a nice few days in the Pacific Northwest, watching Der Alter Jo get hitched, Mongo The Magnificent (aka ThugDog) was being dogsat by a very nice woman who keeps pups in her home and charges very reasonable rates.

He had a lovely time. I have more than sixty photographs of him running through the woods, swimming in the lake, chasing ducks (aka Water Squirrels), and sleeping on the nice woman's couch. In most of those pictures, he's side by side with her foster dog. Her foster dog is sweet, ancient, and tolerant.

The last day he was there, on his last outing, he got upset with Dogsitter's Dog and snapped at him. Dogsitter's Dog of course retaliated, because even at ninety years older than dirt, he still has some self-respect. Dogsitter tried to break up the fight. Using her hands. Near the dogs' heads.

And got bitten. Not intentionally, not badly, not in a mean-spirited way, but she had to go to the ED when her hands started to swell. And the ED, following the law, called the cops. All dog bites in this county have to be reported.

(Which brings up the following conundrum: if a burglar breaks into my house and Mongo bites him/her, and then said burglar is taken to the ED for treatment by the cops, does that count as a reportable incident? Or do the cops simply wave their hands and say "Eh"?)

Anyway, things started going Keystone Kops in the ED. The salient point in all of this is that I live in one city, the dogsitter lives in another, and the bite took place in a third, very small, city, just inside the city limits. The first cop--one from my town--showed up, decided it wasn't his jurisdiction, and left. The second cop showed up, the dogsitter refused to give him any information about me (more on this in a minute), and he left.

And the next day, in succession, the dogsitter had the police from four different cities show up at her door with animal control trucks, ropes, lassos, dart guns, and various other implements of distruction. They pounded, she said, on the door. In succession. And she refused to answer the door. (Here I have to credit her heart and cut her some slack for being flustered. If cops were pounding on my door, I would hesitate to answer it as well, for fear that the dogs in my care would be taken away in the paddy wagon, with nobody sorting the good dogs from the bad ones.) Anyway, she said squat until they showed up with a warrant.

(I don't know what the police from the fourth city were doing. Maybe it was a mistake? Maybe a show of moral support? Maybe they had to run to the store for a few things and just dropped in on their way? I dunno.)

When they showed up with a warrant, she called me. I had known she had gotten bitten, but had figured things would work themselves out in the noiseless-tenor way that they normally do. I mean, I had no idea she had bucked the police.

I had to get on the horn with three successive animal control and sheriff's divisions before I found the person who could deal with my problem, only she had left the office about ten minutes before.

So tomorrow, I am staying home from work. I will call my vet, explain the problem, and ask for a quarantine cage. It's the law here that any dog who bites a human has to, if its vaccinations are up to date, be quarantined for ten days. I can't quarantine Mongo at home, since it wasn't a family member who got bitten.

Then I will call the third city sheriff's office and say, "My dog is a fugitive from the law, and I am calling to turn him in." And we will go from there.

No, it doesn't feel quite fair that Mongo has to be quarantined because somebody got in the way of his teeth. On the other hand, I can see the dogsitter's problem: when you see two dogs going at it, the immediate instinct is to shut that shit down, any way any how.

And while it was accidental, I can see the reason for any-skin-break-is-reported. If I asked for an exception, they'd have to make exceptions for every blockhead with a truly dangerous asshole dog, and then where would we be?

So, the upshot is, Mongo gets another vacation. Not as much fun, and not as heavy on lakes and ducks, but another vacation.

And I have to figure out whether to outfit him in a striped outfit, an orange jumpsuit, or just put an ankle bracelet on him and write "LOVE" and "HATE" on his paws.


JAB said...

I'm just completely perplexed. I report dog bites on people all the time (in a small DFW-ish town) and have never had people say that animal control/sheriff/anyone has showed up unless someone was threatening to shoot the dog right then and there. And I'm talking serious bites on seriously small people. Or old people. Or situations that were unlikely to be "dog/dog/dogsitter" misunderstandings. I hope it ends well for the fugitive.

Marilyn Smith-Stoner said...

Your dog can hide out here in Sunny SoCal if necessary.

Silliyak said...

Hopefully Dog the bounty hunter doesn't show up at your door!

Jo said...

JAB, I think the problem lay in that my dogsitter refused to give the police any information about who owned the dog or its whereabouts at the time. They then called the agency the dogsitter works for, who also refused.

It's all a bit Grand Guignol. Still, the animal control folks have a job to do; I'm glad they're around. Even if it means Mongo's gonna spend ten days in the clink.

steph said...

A neighborhood kid got in my dogs face while the dog was sleeping and got bit. George woke up snapping as a reflex. All I got was a postcard in the mail from Animal Control after the ten day quarantine period was up saying I needed write what happened and fax/bring in/mail/have the vet call in his shot record in 10 days or they would come get him. I called Animal Control explained the postcard wasn't even dated until after 10 days and she laughed and said she wasn't surprised. She said she would call the vet. Later I got another post card stating it was instinctual dog behavior and he wasn't deemed an aggressive dog. End of Story. Your Animal Control must not have enough to keep them busy.

steph said...

I forgot to mention, orange may be too fallish for this time of year. Black and white is more classic and can span all seasons. I'd also consider a MOM tatoo...

Aviana said...

Be *VERY* careful. The second bite can result in your dog being seized and destroyed. Try to get a copy of all of the reports (from all of the agencies) and read them carefully.

Jessicia said...

Please talk to Mongo about proper clink etiquette. We don't want any doggy Orange is the New Black stuff up in here. Make sure he knows that if someone calls him Dandelion, she probably goes by Crazy Eyes.

Jo said...

Aviana, thanks for that tip! I don't know the law in this county, so I'll look into that and get copies of all the reports. I appreciate your advice.

DRG said...

My business is insurance. Years ago, we got two claims reports on the same policy: one, a burglary; the other, an anonymous report of a dog bite. Apparently someone who (strongly) preferred to remain nameless called the local Humane Society to find out if the dog was up to date on its vaccinations. It was, and guess what? Nothing ever came of that dog bite claim!

cowango said...

You could always put him on Buzzfeed with a sign in front of him saying what he did wrong. Then we could all see it on Facecrack. Those usually run along the lines of chewing up bright red lipstick or peeing in someone's shoe.

gela said...

Maybe you can dress him up as a cat until this dies down. :)

gela said...

Maybe you can dress him up as a cat until this dies down. :)

GITcrowscalling crows said...

Oh dear. We can start an underground doggie railroad if you need to.

drimeara said...

I used to work at a Vet Clinic. One of my co-workers was bitten by a resident cat that spent his whole life living at the clinic. She went to the ER, case was reported to Animal Control who then had our boss, the vet, fill out a form. 15 days later we get a call from Animal Control saying they have had no contact with the owners (Us..) and suggested she get Rabies vaccinated/immunoglubulin... She told them she was looking at the cat at that very moment and it was fine... CLICK.

Bailey said...

Wow. I used to work at an animal shelter (no kill) and people would call us to report animal abuse the shelter can't do anything so we told them to call the cops. People would often call back saying the cops did nothing. I guess your cops have their stuff together.

Some of ours didn't. The shelter also was the local pound. If the cops picked up an animal after we were gone they would put the animal in a cage that was all set up with food, water and bedding. One day we came in to find a cat in a small cage (that the cops used to transfer animals) with a note saying the cat was "volatile" and to be careful with it. I grabbed my supervisor and we went to check in the cat. We opened it up to find a very small kitten who was really sweet. We both had a good laugh.

Also if the dog is up-to-date on its shots it shouldn't have to be quarantined (see WHO guidelines) for rabies. If it is because the dog is "dangerous" you might want to point out that no one is pressing any charges.

Please keep us updated.

Anonymous said...

The issue isn't the bite itself, but the risk of rabies. That said, Animal Control can be... overzealous.

Call your veterinarian (I am one). He or she will actually understand the laws in your state.