Rogue dogs causing problems for some residents

By: KELSEY CARROLL

neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

Some neighbors are complaining about three pit bulls roaming the Woodridge neighborhood.

Allen Hahn, Chairman of the Woodridge Neighborhood Association, said that two incidents were reported to him about  unleashed dogs harassing residents. He said he believes the dogs may be from adjacent neighborhoods, rather than from a Woodridge home.

“Our residents have always been responsible pet owners,” said Hahn, a Woodridge local of about 40 years.

No one was injured in either incident, however the people involved wished to have their situations and names remain private for personal reasons.

If an aggressive dog approaches and an attack is suspected, here is a list of tips compiled from Internet resources to help de-escalate situations:

  • Escape Plan: If the dog is more than 50 yards away, look for the nearest point of escape (i.e. house, garage, car, over a fence, etc.). However, if the dog is in close range it is safest to try a different method. “In a footrace, you’re going to lose,” said Daniel Estep of the National Animal Control Association’s training academy in Esquire magazine.
  • Assert yourself: Don’t show physical signs of fear by tensing up or running and screaming. According to an article on ezinearticles.com, dogs can sense fear and may be egged on by it. Instead try firmly shouting commands such as “NO,” “DOWN,” or “STAY,” because the dog may be trained and/or obedient.
  • Slow and steady: Don’t make any sudden movements. Dogs may take this as a threat and can become more likely to attack. It is better to slowly back away than turn around and run.
  • Facial signs: Avoid direct eye contact with the dog and showing your teeth. Both can be taken as threats to an aggressive dog due to instinct, so avoid smiling and use peripherals as much as possible.
  • Buffers: If the dog comes close and looks ready to bite, use anything (i.e. a coat, purse, umbrella, hat, etc.) to stick in between the dog’s mouth and your body. In the Esquire article, Estep says, “Most of the time, dogs are going to bite the first thing they get their teeth around. And then you can try to walk your way out of the situation.”

As is the case with any dangerous animal situation, the best response is to call Animal Control and alert them of the incident. Hahn, a licensed veterinarian, said that’s what he would have done and encourages neighbors to do the same.

Complaints or sightings of aggressive and/or roaming dogs should be made to Animal Control at 573-449-1888.

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