Hi, everyone. I signed up here to find others who may be able to offer some advice, or helpful suggestions. I thank anyone in advance for reading. This may be long to better explain the incident as it got quite intense, toward the end.
My boyfriend and I just moved to a new town in Southern California. He is a reserve wild land firefighter, and for his job, we have relocated. We are a young, active couple; we like to adventure or hike with our dogs, whenever we have time to do so.
Our dogs are great on leash. They mostly just want to run (fast!) alongside us on trails, to release their energy. (One is a very goofy malamute/husky mix.) They don't mind other dogs as long as they keep their distance and not invade their personal space. We purposely avoid regular dog parks and seek on leash parks, for this reason.
The other day, we came to checkout a larger park which allow dogs "only on leash and under full control of their owners, at all times". These signs are posted everywhere. We felt like it would be a good choice for us.
Around 6pm, after the weather finally cooled, we arrived. We walked only a small distance in the field before we saw many dogs off leash running around carelessly. My first instinct was to turn around and leave.
My boyfriend, instead, tried reasoning with these people, calling out asking to please leash their animals, since it was an on leash park, and they were running too close to us and other leashed dogs, beginning to agitate them.
Most did not say a word or acknowledge us. They kept on letting their dogs run free. My boyfriend asked again to please be considerate and leash their dogs... this time adding that it was in fact the law here to do so. A man (in his late 50s??) with a shaved head and golden lab then quickly approached us very HOSTILE and yelled "WHO ARE YOU?! I never leash my dog. I don't care if it's the law! I'm not doing **** unless you have a GUN or a badge!"
We mentioned following the leash rule was for the safety and benefit of everyone to enjoy the park, including his own dog (in addition, the park was directly beside a busy road and a loose husky got dangerously close to the outskirts).
They did not budge or pay any mind to what we said. So we realised they were only going to defend their egos, and it was futile to reason with simpletons. We kept our dogs close, moving farther away and waiting from a distance for the rude owners to disperse, as it was already sunset.
We then climbed the slope to get to our vehicle, surprised to find the same aggressive man had been waiting around for us in the dark, (close to twenty minutes) ready to start a confrontation. He continually provoked and insulted, then threatened my boyfriend while yelling to "never come back here!" as we tried to just load our dogs in our car and go home. We knew by the irrational behavior, his intentions were definitely not good and mostly kept quiet then tried to get a photo of his license plate, when he finally drove off.
W T F
(Let me add there is a beautiful, huge, OFF LEASH, official dog park, only a couple of miles away. But these people chose to claim this regular park, as their own, to do as they please.
We were later informed by witnesses who live nearby, these "regulars" listen to no one and even though park goers have reported kids having been bit here, the regulars still refuse to leash their dogs!)
Needless to say, we did not take his threat or the incident, lightly. We and another witness called the city and directly filed a complaint and reported what occurred to the park ranger, who only silently listened, then said we should "leave a message" for his supervisor, as he left us a phone number and hung up. As of now, nothing has been done. We were told by locals, once more, most Rangers and the police "turn a blind eye", if you say anything.
I repeat: W T F. In spite of loose dogs having bitten kids!
This is a "wealthy area", btw. Most of these people seem to feel entitled and above the law. They threaten and intimidate anyone who tries to speak out.
We have written detailed reviews on yelp and doggoes to try and warn others about that park. Describing the aggressive man, in particular. Should anything happen to us or anyone else, by this man, I want there to be some type of public recognition of him on file. I definitely want others to have warning of who to watch out for. No one should go to any park and feel or be threatened, by either loose dogs or (worse, in this case!) their hostile owners.
If you read this far, thank you.
What else can we do, aside from avoid that park and speak out?
Unfortunately, after the fact, we did come across a couple negative reviews, buried in obscure sites, from as far back as two years ago, warning that this park had very rude owners and loose dogs, doing whatever they wanted. (If I had seen this earlier, we would never have gone there.) Nothing has changed, it seems.
My boyfriend is very calm and patient. And as a firefighter, puts his life on the line to protect everyone (kind or cruel, rich or poor), animals and land, included. Yet this man waited for us in the dark and threatened him, trying to start a fight.... or worse.
I still feel sick to my stomach over it. How does one get so illogically enraged to the point of wanting to harm or kill someone over KINDLY being asked something so benign as to please leash your dog in an ON LEASH park??
In our prior city, we had never encountered a situation over a leash request, where our actual lives felt, and possibly were, threatened. (Only rude jerks, occasionally.) Starting to loathe this town, already.
Ideas? Thoughts? Advice?