Advice on extremely hostile dog owner/s at ON LEASH park?

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Advice on extremely hostile dog owner/s at ON LEASH park?

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Old 10-17-2015, 08:38 AM
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Advice on extremely hostile dog owner/s at ON LEASH park?

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!"

Wow. *_*

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?
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Old 10-17-2015, 09:00 AM
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So sorry to hear about your experiences. I am in the UK, we don't have dog parks or at least I'm not aware of any.

It's sad though, that a few idiots break the law and spoil things for so many others, not only that, they give ammunition to the anti dog brigade.

I like to enjoy my time with my dogs, so I would be inclined to find somewhere else.

And if the authority won't do anything, well, what can you do? You could risk life and limb, but will it change anything?

Hope you'll soon find somewhere else, where nice people take their nice dogs.
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Old 10-17-2015, 10:34 AM
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In this specific instance, I might let it go and find a new park for my own safety. A man who waits 20 minutes at your car to pick a fight might be a blustering idiot, or he might be a guy who will escalate to stalking etc.

Having said that, if I didn't have another park available or if I decided the principle was worth it, I'd go every single day and call the police to report off leash dogs in a signed area, and I'd also report any threatening behavior. Eventually someone is going to get sick of it and start enforcing.

You could also contact the local media, who would likely be sympathetic of a firefighter just trying to walk his dog in peace.
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Old 10-17-2015, 11:32 AM
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Sheesh that sucks! I'm so sorry to hear that. People get so entitled with their own dogs and it seems to be a big problem here in SoCal. Sadly local law enforcement typically doesn't do much unless they get a lot of complaints and most people won't complain. The best thing to do is make sure the authorities know then never return. If you are looking for other areas to hike let me know! I love hiking and with my pups so I could let you know of some other areas if you are close to where I am familiar with. Send me a PM if you don't want to post the city but would like to ask.
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Old 10-17-2015, 11:36 AM
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Find a new park. These people have probably been treating the park as their own informal dog park for years. And from experience, if you call bylaw, they will lay low for a while, but they will be back.

We sort of have this going on in our neighborhood (a bunch of retired small dog owners who think it's hysterical when their reactive little dogs swarm, chase and bite larger dogs). Bylaw has been called many times but it doesn't stop them. If anyone asks them to show courtesy to other park users and call their dogs off (some aggression training is definitely needed for some of them) they are basically told to take a hike because they have been coming to the park for longer.

I don't like to be a pushover but I've given up arguing. So much easier to just make note of the times they are there and avoid the park at those hours.
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Old 10-17-2015, 12:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sassafras View Post
In this specific instance, I might let it go and find a new park for my own safety. A man who waits 20 minutes at your car to pick a fight might be a blustering idiot, or he might be a guy who will escalate to stalking etc.

Having said that, if I didn't have another park available or if I decided the principle was worth it, I'd go every single day and call the police to report off leash dogs in a signed area, and I'd also report any threatening behavior. Eventually someone is going to get sick of it and start enforcing.

You could also contact the local media, who would likely be sympathetic of a firefighter just trying to walk his dog in peace.
The media, could be a great idea...get some video footage, take it to a local t.v. station...or ask if a reporter can come with you to the dog park with a cameraman and explain your situation...also...see if the reporter can round up any reports from the past about kids being bit by loose dogs, or other dogs being attacked. See if they can interview the park supervisor and his rangers as to why they ignored your report and are not doing anything about it. Heck, the ticket revenue could be worth keeping a ranger out there if they increased the fines to a hefty amount.

Yeah, and mention the firefighter part...one of the true heroes left in this country - in spite of what all the media says about sports stars.

Also, if you got the licence plate of that guy... I *think* plates are considered 'public records' (although some DMV clerk might say it's not...check the law first). Then once you have his name, you might even consider a restraining order...just due to the fact that this guy waited 20 minutes in the dark to confront you. That way if he comes near you in the park again, you could have him arrested.

Just because you are new to an area, it doesn't make you second class citizens and you should be able to enjoy the public areas in the way they were intended.

Stormy
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Old 10-17-2015, 05:20 PM
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Gonna go with the suggestion of find a new park. A vast majority of people are ignoring the rules, and that hostile jerk will probably be there again. It's honestly easier and SAFER FOR YOU and your pets, to be elsewhere and not invite trouble. While you can rile up the local news etc to do something about it, you don't want to have the finger pointed at YOU over why their precious foofoos can't now run free off their leashes.
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Old 10-18-2015, 01:33 PM
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Thank you so much, everyone. We truly appreciate each suggestion and the time you took to read and reply.

We had decided after we got home that night that we would definitely be staying away from that park, for now, if not completely. We agree with you!

With someone as extremely irrational and hostile as this, it is simply not worth the risk. (His earlier emphasis on the word "gun" was enough to have us think he might have a weapon on him.)

The media is a careful consideration, with pros and cons, it seems. It may provide more help than the police/park rangers, who remain uncomfortably silent. But we don't know anyone in town yet (or know who is trustworthy) and do not want to endanger ourselves further, either...

Unfortunately, this park is around a mile from our home and we have no idea how close this man lives to us, or if we will bump into him elsewhere.

Right now, we will do our part to help spread the word, by keeping our reviews online to warn others about the many safety risks involving that place and a description of the aggressive man, in particular. He may have gotten his wish of us not coming back (for now), but in return, others will be made aware of what and who to watch out for. We don't want anyone else new to the area being threatened, or being harmed there, without having a lot of warning, at least.

We feel no need to physically go back there just to have a battle of egos or wits, with this fool. Like typically attracts like. And surely he will encounter, threaten, or mouth off to someone just as vile and hostile as himself, one day. These things sometimes have a way of sorting themselves out.

It's sad to know that many of you can relate to these types....and how they bully or claim public parks or neighborhoods, without really any consequence or conscience. I understand your frustration. More than I can say.

I wish more people were rational and with empathy. There is no inherent need for things to be as stressful or complicated as they are! At the end of the day, unless you are a literal lunatic or psychopath, I think we can all agree we just want a safe place to enjoy time with our pups and those we care for. The rest can surely be sorted out without anyone getting hurt.

I hope you each find that peaceful place, as well, with other kindhearted (and rational!!!) people. Thank you for your help. I will keep your suggestions in mind and we will continue looking for another, hopefully more secure park.
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Old 10-18-2015, 08:35 PM
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Since the crazy guy said he wasn't going to do anything unless told to by someone with a gun and a badge, give him what he wanted - call 911.

If it were me and I had seen that hostile guy waiting by my car, I would have called 911 and told them there was some crazy, threatening man who had harassed me earlier that was waiting by my car in the dark. I'm scared, I think he has a gun, I'm afraid of being beaten, shot and killed, etc. etc. (all of which would have been true) and wait for the police to show up.
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Old 10-19-2015, 02:50 AM
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What part of SoCal are you in? There's many places that are dog friendly and great places to go hiking, especially if you want to keep your dogs on leash.
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