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How do you guys handle aggressive dogs?

DominoDoggy

Tuned and Synch'ed
GT Contributor
Joined
Jan 16, 2021
Messages
62
Location
Johnson City, TN
I dropped my bike today. I'm fine, the bike is fine. Well, we are both recipients of a little road rash in the form of a slightly skinned and bruised knee and my brand new Dart Marlin has road rash.

I turned down a road I was unfamiliar with, realized it was a dead end street and did a U-turn to leave to go back to the main road. This aggressive little dog came running out of nowhere and was quicker than me and went straight for my front wheel. Down we went.

I'm in the USA and that means guns, guns, guns, right? Am I within my rights to curb aggressive dogs with lethal force? Should I slow down at the next encounter and empty my can of pepper spray? It was a dangerous situation. I walked away with a still-working bike and a skinned and bruised knee, but it could have been worse. What if the dog attacked once I got knocked down?

Looking at my local laws, killing a dog is considered theft. UNLESS UNLESS UNLESS "the animal was creating an immediate danger of death or serious injury" so I read that as, if I slowed down and got off the bike and put a couple rounds in this aggressive dog I would have been within my rights.

I've had friends get mauled by dogs while riding an ATV. I don't really want to get mauled. I don't really want to wreck, either. Encountering aggressive dogs while riding is not a one-time thing I can already tell. This was just the first time one came into the road after me, they usually just stay in their yard.

It's up to the dog owners to keep their dogs under control.

I don't really even know what advice I'm asking for here. I think I'm just ranting and my adrenaline is still going from the incident. I got the bike off the road and confronted the homeowner/dog owner, his first words was "WHAT DOG?" he later admitted the dog was his. But to lead with "what dog?"?????
 

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Bill Hagan

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Oct 29, 2008
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1,534
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Above Pott's Camp along Braddock's route, Virginia
Given your screen name, this post is almost ironic! ;)

Not making light of your experience, as that can be a serious issue.

I am a lawyer, but not licensed in Tennessee. You mention looking at "local laws." That's good, as adrenalin can get one in trouble[, and I speak from personal experience in doing the wrong thing! :mad:].

I see that you live in Johnson City, which sits in three counties. Presume you looked up local laws applicable to where incident occurred.

Not sure that your conclusion that if you "slowed down and got off the bike and put a couple rounds in this aggressive dog I would have been within my rights" is right. Even if it is technically, you risk all sorts of unpleasant consequences of the official and unofficial sort.

My own reaction to such a problem -- after cursing colorfully :swear: -- would be to report the incident to local authorities, e.g., police or sheriff's department, animal control, etc.

An asshat like the owner you dealt with -- "WHAT DOG?" -- is likely already known to LEO's.

Best wishes in this.

Bill

P.S. Adrenalin can also mask more significant "invisible" injuries. Consider getting yourself checked out by a medical professional.
 

Raven

High Miler
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Jul 3, 2017
Messages
775
Location
Lac Ste. Marie, Qc
There used to be a German Shepherd that would chase me snarling and snapping when I passed his house on my motocross bike. I knew he was there and I'd ride just fast enough to keep him chasing me for a mile or so. When he dropped on the road exhausted I'd ride a little further and then turn around and drive by him laughing. He never did get his revenge.
 

DominoDoggy

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Jan 16, 2021
Messages
62
Location
Johnson City, TN
It would probably do me well to look in to my local laws. I basically did a google search of "is it illegal to kill someone's dog" and was given the result of "Tennessee Code 39-14-205" stating that it is considered THEFT to kill someone else's animal on purpose, without consent, unless the animal was creating an immediate danger of death or serious injury.

Thank you for your response, Bill.

The Tennessee code I quoted states,

A person is justified in killing the animal of another if the person acted under a reasonable belief that the animal was creating an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury to that person or another or an imminent danger of death to an animal owned by that person.  A person is not justified in killing the animal of another if at the time of the killing the person is trespassing upon the property of the owner of the animal.


I honestly should consult a local attorney since A) I am not interested in getting mauled, B) I am not interested in a dog causing me to wreck when I have the right to travel on public roads. If running into the road after a motorcycle constitutes "creating an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury to that person..." then that is why I wrote above that I would be within my rights.

The only thing there is, I live in Johnson City TN, home of the good ol' boys. If they hear me fire a weapon to stop a dog from causing a motorcycle accident, are they gonna yell "MAW THEY DONE KILLT OUR DAWG" and five boys and their paw jump in a pickup and set out to run me down with shotguns and the like. I'm not interested in that kind of situation, either. Of being 40 minutes away from home on a motorcycle being ran down by hillbillies, over a dog. I don't know what to do. I'm not going to stop riding.

As for the scraped knee, I will see how it looks in the morning. I've had scrapes before but I also wasn't 43 before. To be honest, my adrenaline is still going a little and I'm still a bit jittery, even after two hours of resting and a 45 minute ride back home.

As it stands, I am [mildly] injured, my bike needs about $200 worth of new parts, and I'm sitting here jittery as can be. It could be worse. I have absolutely no reason to ever explore down that particular road again, but, thing is there will be other dogs.

EDIT: About my username, yeah I chose this name after my old boy that I lost last year. Such a sweet dog, but I kept him under control and never gave him the opportunity to chase into the road after a bike. It's the horribly behaved dogs and craptastic owners that give the sweet ones a bad rap.
 
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Bill Hagan

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Above Pott's Camp along Braddock's route, Virginia
It would probably do me well to look in to my local laws. I basically did a google search of "is it illegal to kill someone's dog" and was given the result of "Tennessee Code 39-14-205" stating that it is considered THEFT to kill someone else's animal on purpose, without consent, unless the animal was creating an immediate danger of death or serious injury.

Thank you for your response, Bill.

The Tennessee code I quoted states,

A person is justified in killing the animal of another if the person acted under a reasonable belief that the animal was creating an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury to that person or another or an imminent danger of death to an animal owned by that person.  A person is not justified in killing the animal of another if at the time of the killing the person is trespassing upon the property of the owner of the animal.


I honestly should consult a local attorney since A) I am not interested in getting mauled, B) I am not interested in a dog causing me to wreck when I have the right to travel on public roads. If running into the road after a motorcycle constitutes "creating an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury to that person..." then that is why I wrote above that I would be within my rights.

The only thing there is, I live in Johnson City TN, home of the good ol' boys. If they hear me fire a weapon to stop a dog from causing a motorcycle accident, are they gonna yell "MAW THEY KILLT OUR DAWG" and five boys and their paw jump in a pickup and set out to run me down with shotguns and the like. I'm not interested in that kind of situation, either. I don't know what to do. I'm not going to stop riding.

As for the scraped knee, I will see how it looks in the morning. I've had scrapes before but I also wasn't 43 before.

Your bubba comment is what I meant by "all sorts of unpleasant consequences of the official and unofficial sort."

And, far be it from me to keep a brother or sister Tennessee lawyer from taking some of you money :giggle:, but I'd still suggest that you stop in -- as opposed to a phone call -- and chat with a deputy sheriff and/or animal control officer in a concerned (but too righteously indignant) manner.

FWIW, I "pack" where my CCW is recognized, but I can't imagine shooting a dog that dismounted me ... IF I had other recourses. I'd have a monumental case of "That ain't right," but I think using a firearm ups the ante in all sorts unpredictable and likely bad ways.

OBTW, whippersnapper, I'm 73. ;)

Bill
 

DominoDoggy

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62
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Johnson City, TN
73, much respect. My dad is 73 too. Still, 43 doesn't heal quite like 18 :rofl:

I'll take your advice on multiple levels. Speaking to a local deputy and animal control is probably a good first start. I mentioned lawyer because they DO know the laws. A sheriff's deputy, might. Should, even. But an attorney will.

I don't want to shoot a dog. I don't want to ever shoot anything except paper plates and bowling pins. I know I'd feel horrible after the fact, and your mention of upping the ante in unpredictable ways, and never in a good way. I just have a lingering concern over dogs and motorcycles because like I said earlier, I've had friends who got mauled and disfigured by dogs while riding. Sometimes it's one dog and sometimes it's a group of dogs, and once they are in that predator chasing prey mentality they don't really react to "oh that's a human, we should stop" - That's mainly why I carry CCW. I might not ever be able to get to it and it might not do any good at all, but it certainly won't do any good at home in a bad situation.
 

vagrant

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Aug 2, 2009
Messages
1,129
Location
Gainesville, Ga. or Green Valley Az.
I don't think there is a cure other than to slow, then when they readjust speed slower you speed it up.
Back when my wife rode her own she was always behind me and a bit pokey. On just one day in either Alabama or Mississippi in 1992 at least 4 yes four dogs died trying to get us. they would spot me and come a running, I'd speed up so they couldn't catch me when they quit trying but then saw Linda they went straight for her just missing her but coming out into the road where the car following her too closely because she was slow promptly splattered them.
Now I love dogs and always have at least two but they are inside dogs.
You should have gone straight to the police and filed a report. At least then I assume you could take them to small claims court.

FYI, at 43 don't you know your too young to be smart enough to ride a Guzzi.
 

Sheepdog

Just got it firing!
Joined
Sep 23, 2009
Messages
21
When confronted with aggressive dogs I either hit the gas or stop, put my hands over my head and shout, “Bad dog!” This works sometimes. This is another time when wearing protective gear is an advantage...it’s tougher when bicycling.
 

DeadEye

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Eastern Ontario - Western Quebec
It’s a hard call, you slow down and it gets in front or under the side and you run it over, you still might end up going down.
If you stop and try to do anything it/they will be right there, ether biting ( maybe) or stand there barking - more likely...
I’ve had some come out behind me and just keep going !
 

Wildroamer

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May 9, 2020
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New England
Vagrant hit the nail on the head with the slow-fast technique. A lot of people have the tendency to gas it and try to out run them. Much better to slow down, then punch it at the last second, otherwise they just adjust their angle of attack.
I say big no to shooting one, of course my attitude might be different had I gone through what you did...
 

DominoDoggy

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Johnson City, TN
I swear I tried the slow down-punch it technique --- I just think my technique was off. I think I did it at too large of a scale, at too high a speed. I haven't ridden in eight years. In the years that I have ridden I haven't had a close encounter with a dog. They've chased me, sure, but they never got close enough to make it a dangerous encounter.

I probably overreacted with talking about carrying a gun or pepper spray. I was just hot headed immediately after the encounter looking back at my bike laying on the ground in a strange neighborhood with a dog on the side of the road barking, barking, barking...barking, still barking... 40 minutes from home not knowing if my bike will even start again...

Going forward I will have this situation to look back on. And my brief stint in the military will tell me that training is what prepares us for the unknown. It was an expensive endeavor - I'm still finding pieces of my bike that need fixing. Bikes weren't meant to drop. They were engineered to stay upright, they don't design them to withstand the abuse we put them through. That's what the parts department is for. Since this incident I have signed up for a motorcycle training course - the basic license course AND the advanced course the next week, something that should be mandatary anyway really, but I'm going to grill them hard about what to do in situations like this. They don't teach you what to do about dogs on the license test. Oh sure, they say "slow down then hit the gas at the last minute" but you don't actually get to practice that and they don't really teach it. It's a point on paper.

Judging from the responses I got here, nobody else seems to be carrying pistols on the off hand that they will need to defend themselves from dogs. Or really even pepper spray. That tells me that they have had more experience and have their escape techniques down because I'm sure dogs are in whatever part of the world they live and ride in, too.
 
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tobinh

Cruisin' Guzzisti
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Oct 15, 2016
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181
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Burnaby, BC
I do hate dealing with dogs like this, and I've various experiences with the like... but I still would not carry a weapon of any kind. it seems to me like this could just escalate the situation. I don't really want to get into a shooting match with the owner, that sounds like a bummer of a day.

I consider my motorbike gear to be pretty dog-proof, so if some quick maneuvering isn't an option, I just stop and confront, gauntleted hands at the ready.
 

Moto-Uno

Cruisin' Guzzisti
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Aug 7, 2016
Messages
379
Location
Burnaby,B.C
Many years ago , I worked with a fellow that had to put up with a large dog chasing him on his bike on a gravel road .
Eventually he put a colourful rag in the front hub cap of his car. Drove by the home and out came the dog giving chase .
He later made a remark about removing the slightly torn rag and the still dog on the roadside . ( I kinda wished it
would've been the owner ).
 

FrankZ

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I'm kind of late to this conversation, but figured I'd add to it anyway. In addition to motorcycling, I do a considerable amount of bicycling. Several years ago, I began to carry an electronic dog repeller device, which emits an extremely high pitched sound. I've had to use it several times, and it has always been effective. I can't imagine it causing an adverse confrontation with the dog's owner, either. I'm not sure if it would work on a demonically possessed attack dog, but it puts my daughter's German Shepherd (who has the appearance of a police k9) in his place, when necessary. They're available online, several sources. I don't carry mine when motorcycling, just confident that the throttle will get me out of a jam. I may reconsider after reading these posts.
 

DeadEye

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Several years ago, I began to carry an electronic dog repeller device, which emits an extremely high pitched sound. I've had to use it several times, and it has always been effective.

That sounds like an EXCELLENT option - No one could hear anything above the motorcycle, The owner could only shake their heads and wonder why the dog didn't get you !
Unless you have the devices out and are pointing at the Dog and Owner :)
Hook it up to the horn button - Dual purpose :)
 

scottmastrocinque

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Point to ponder…

Dogs, track in straight lines and at a constant speed.

Evolutionarily speaking, they have lost the ability to adjust for changes in the speed of what they view as their prey.

During the decade + that I taught for the MSF (Motorcycle Safety Foundation), I emphasized that dogs on a straight line run towards you, are easily thwarted by a quick downshift and sudden acceleration burst. You don’t have to burn rubber, just alter your velocity suddenly. They cannot compensate for the sudden change in speed, and you whisk away from them easily.

Firing a gun would be THE WORST idea to engage in. Think about it. Pulling the trigger of a gun is as serious as it gets, with lethal consequences. I would strongly caution against this reckless course of action.

Unfortunately, the OP had the worst possible circumstances of being on a dead end street turning around.
 

FrankZ

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That sounds like an EXCELLENT option - No one could hear anything above the motorcycle, The owner could only shake their heads and wonder why the dog didn't get you !
Unless you have the devices out and are pointing at the Dog and Owner :)
Hook it up to the horn button - Dual purpose :)
Hmmm, I think you're onto something, with that horn button idea. Just by instinct, I've always pointed the device at the dog, so, I couldn't say if it's as effective when the dog isn't in line with the output end of it. Might need a creative electronic genius to supe it up with an amplifier, especially for the louder bikes. You might want to get a patent or copyright for that idea, before the OEMs make that optional equipment on their bikes.

Funny thing about the device, it resembles a TV remote, at least in the eyes of my daughter's dog. After zinging him a couple of times with it, he apparently committed the visual to his memory bank. During one of my visits, he began to act up, caught sight of me while I was holding the TV remote, and immediately tucked tail and slithered away.
 

DeadEye

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Does it use 9v or a pair of AA ?
I would imagine it’s omnidirectional and is at the high end of the hearing scale, so is making noise in a mostly un-occupied frequency range.
( I have a vivid imagination some times )

If it doesn’t run 12 volts you would need to put a little transformer in the circuit to put it parallel to the horn...
 
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