Running Through the Checklist

I’m glad this woman brought this guy to court, but I’m afraid these dogs are still going to be a danger to the neighborhood if the resolution is to lock them in a stronger cage.

You know my predictive checklist for if a dog is dangerous:

–Is it larger than 25 lbs?

–Is it an intact male?

–Is it kept outside unsupervised for lengthy periods of time?

–Is it running loose outside?

–Is it unsupervised?

–If supervised, does the owner have control over it?

–Does it have adequate housing?

–Have the dog’s owners made some effort to present it as possibly dangerous–scary name, scary collar, thick chain, etc.?

Now, let me be clear. There are dogs who meet every criteria on this list, who aren’t dangerous, but, if you’re wondering, “Is that dog safe?” the answers to these questions are going to serve you better than the answer to “Is it a pitbull?” will.

And look how the dogs in this story fit. Larger than 25 lbs? Yep. Intact male? I don’t know, but I’ve asked someone familiar with the case. Were the dogs kept outside unsupervised for lengthy periods of time? Sure sounds like it, since they were being fed outside and the resolution of this case involves making them a sturdier enclosure. Running loose? Sadly, yes. Unsupervised? Doesn’t sound like it this time, but the previous attack does. Does the owner have control over it? Nope. Adequate housing? I meant this in terms of “Does the dog have appropriate shelter?” not “Is it restrained well enough?” since I think it’s self-evident that, if your dogs can get out of any place they’re enclosed in, they shouldn’t be enclosed in that space and left unsupervised. And we can’t tell from this story if they had adequate shelter. Presented as possibly dangerous? One dog’s name was “Trouble.” So, yeah, kind of.

That’s four of eight criteria those dogs definitely met with two we don’t know (‘adequate shelter’ and ‘intact male’), and one criteria they kind of met (name).

I think another guide is this: if the owners seem afraid of the dogs–and keeping dogs of breeds that are notorious couch potatoes locked in pens out back would be an indication they’re afraid of the dogs–there’s good reason for the neighbors to be afraid of the dogs.