Dog Bite - advice please

Firstly the dog didn't bite me but my gf.

It is the 2nd time it has gone for her, the 1st time it was dark and she literally ran into the owner and the dog "defended" the owner...we let it go and thought nothing more of it.

Then on Sunday she was out for a run and the dog saw her coming back in, wasn't on a lead, ran over and sank the teeth into my gf's thigh. She's ok, huge bruising and very sore but ok. Gf has had a serious word with the owner and after talking to me has reported to the police (who are following up tonight I think).

The dog is a border collie so not on the Dangerous Dogs list but what happens now?! How can we stop the dog biting her again? The owner is an older woman, adores her pets but this is could have gone for her face or (heaven forbid) a child! Will the Police be able to do anything or is this all a futile exercise?

We both like dogs, are not scared of them but how the heck do we handle this?


  • Even a dog jumping up at you is something you are within your rights to report to the police, let alone a serious bite.  It makes no difference whether it's on a danger list.

    The owner will need to get her dog under control - that is quite unusual behaviour for an adult dog and completely unacceptable.  I imagine the dog views your gf as a threat to her owner, but it's up to the owner to reassure the dog or prevent it from being able to do that.

  • Blimey - I had no idea that a jumping dog could be reported! But I'll bear that in mind. I have been so lucky, all dogs I've encountered have left me well alone...she has been the target poor woman!

    The owner thinks that the dog may have beena sheep dog in a "previous life" before she got her and so likes to chase things...but I'm chalking that up to a pretty flimsy excuse. Understandably my gf doesn't want the dog destroyed or removed, the woman is someone she speaks to quite regularly. I just don't want it happening again, to anyone!

  • not acceptable for the dog to do this - the owner should keep it under control if there is a chance it will act like this.

    however its a good idea for a runner to walk when approaching strange dogs, as some dogs view someone running toward them as threatening and will take action. I do if i have not seen a particular dog before. 

    as the incident has been reported, can your gf take an alternative route in future to avoid the dog altogether?  - bit obvious i know but thought i would mention image

    its always a shame when this sort of thing happens for both sides, if only people would train their dogs properly. . . . .

  • I'll suggest the different route to her...she's fairly limited as she lives right on the end of the row of streets, but hopefully she'll have a think.

  • we had a number of border collies and they can be quite aggressive...... apparently if they are from proper working stock they are naturally aggressive and a lot would attack the sheep if it wasn't for the Shepherd who is the pack leader......the shepherd is very dominate so the dogs behave....

    we had them as puppies from working stock.......the one was so gentle and well behaved with us.but we didn't train it enough or be dominate enough and so he would be aggressive with we never let him out....but on two occasions he got to the postman and paper boy.neither serious.just clothes and superficial stuff.......the vet had tried drugs that if they worked we could have done castration.but as they didn't we had to opt to put him down as it could have been a child the next time......

    it was our fault as a family as there wasn't one big master that took the pack leader position....

    i think that the police will have to tell her that its under control at all times or she risks losing you say your thigh height is a childs face....
  • In public places dogs must always be under control, regardless of whether they're on a lead.

    If it were my girlfriend, I'd go with her, and if the dog tried to bite again I'd lay in to it explain its position as the underdog.
  • Thank you for all your advice - I'll let her know tonight after I hear back from her when the police have taken her full statement.

  • Max's Mum - I understand your ideas but it shouldn't be a case of avoiding the dog or having to walk to stop being bitten, the dog should be trained sufficiently to be safe off of the lead around people and if that is not the case then it should be on a lead.

  • I love dogs, have one myself, and volunteer at our local dogs home...  but I know someone quite similar to the old woman with the border collie locally.

    The lady in question is in her 80s, clearly dotes on the dog but has no idea how to handle it!!  The dog is also a border collie with quite obvious possession issues, i.e. extremely and inappropriately protective about the old lady.  She never tells the dog off properly for any misdemeanours but talks to it like she's reasoning with a toddler!  image  The dog is downright nasty to other people as well as other dogs.  It's a question of time before he'll snap at someone and will end up getting destroyed... not the dog's fault but the women's! 

    Shame really.  Border collies are very intelligent and if handled properly make the most amazing dogs.  image

  • My best friend's mum has always had BC's and I've never ever had a problem with them...but then they have been well trained, proper working dogs up til very recently.

    Really hoping this can be solved without destroying the dog - we both do!

  • I don't know whether the police are obliged to destroy the dog once it's proven to have bitten someone?  Dunno.  Surely once such an incident has occurred there will be procedures and I'm not sure to what extent the views of the victim matter in this.

    If the dog doesn't have to be destroyed, perhaps she would agree for him to be kept on the lead and muzzled on walks?

    Your local authority dog warden might be able to tell you what the deal is.

  • Can someone (the authorities???) make her and the dog go to classes?  I'm not a dog expert so I don't know whether it is too late for this but it seems like a better solution than putting the dog down
  • As somebody else said, there is an obligation to keep your dog under control at all times.  This applies in a public place but also somewhere the public has access to eg in your own garden where the postie might come calling.

    You did the right thing reporting it to the police,  they'll take statements from both your g/f and the dog's owner.  They may go for prosecution or they may not depending on circumstances and whether the dog is known by them to have done this before.  If they do then it's up to the court to decide what happens next, you don't really get a say in the matter.  They may go for destruction or they may just go for keeping it muzzled.

    You can't really make anyone go to classes although a court could suggest this as part of the punishment as it's not just about turning up at classes but about buying into the solution that they may bring if you work hard at it. 

    +1 to what seren said about Collies.  They're not an easy dog to have especially in an urban environment if they've come from a strong working strain.

    Do not be going out and looking for it to 'show it who's boss' as you may well end up in court yourself. 

  • This is what our dog warden says:

    The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 makes it an offence to own a dog that is a serious danger to the public. The Police decide when to take action in such cases but it usually follows a serious dog biting incident.

    ♦ It is also an offence under this Act for a dog to be “dangerously out of control” in a public place, i.e. it appears likely to cause serious injury to a person.

    ♦ The owner of a dog mentioned above may be prosecuted and fined up to £5,000. The court may also order that the dog is destroyed or controlled in some way, e.g. muzzled and on a lead at all times in public.

    ♦ The Act also makes it illegal to own, breed from, sell, give away, or have in public without a lead or muzzle certain breeds of dog unless they have an exemption. This can also result in a fine of up to £5,000.

    ♦ The Dogs Act 1871 can also be used to place a Control Order on a dog, i.e. requiring that it should be muzzled or kept on a lead etc.

  • i've 2 solutions:

    first get a little zip lock bag and fill it with pepper, give the dog a face full of pepper and he'll leave you alone, just don't run away after, make sure the dog knows you're not afraid. Postmen in some countries are given pepper spray as standard kit because dogs chase things that move fast eg runners/cyclist/postmen

    if you're not comfortable with that, take the dog for a walk. you said your girlfriend talks to the lady quite a bit?you'll be helping the old lady, the dog will be happier,kids in the area will be safer etc....walk the dog once a week and you'll see a huge improvement. the dog will meet your girlfriend and the mystery for the dog will be over, if the dog knows your girlfriend is a harmless runner he won't feel the need to be defensive/aggressive.   

    working dogs are bred to be high energy strong dogs. keeping working dogs as pets is like taking a pro athlete that burns 5000 calories a day and dropping them in your garden with no way to entertain themselfs. all that energy will build up and lead to bad behaviour.

  • ^^^I've got a better idea^^^

    Anyone who gets harassed by dogs whilst running, whether they are actually attacked or not should report the incidents to the police, following nams links I had no idea a dog could be destroyed if you are only fearful of it, then maybe we can get this scourge in our society dealt with.

    It'll certainly save on air rifle pellets and dog food laced with rat poison...
  • lardarse wrote (see)
     following nams links I had no idea a dog could be destroyed if you are only fearful of it,

    I'm not sure that's the case LA.  A court decides if a dog gets destroyed and I doubt any court would ask for the destruction of a dog only on the basis of someone's fear, without them having come to any actual harm.

    And I hope anyone getting caught for purposely lacing foods with poisons in a local area looks at a custodial sentence.

  • maybe I can get my local scout group put down then as a whole bunch of them terrified my dog last night by running at him and shouting. . . . . . . . . image

    its a shame when all the problems with dogs are caused ultimately by the owners not the dogs themselves. perhaps they should re-introduce dog licences and you have to take a test to get one?

  • lardarse - can I suggest politely that you take your unpleasant rants elsewhere?  The question was about dealing practically with a specific issue with a local dog of a known owner, not about Ridding Society Of This Scourge.

  • ^^^ seconded Tmap....and as for "lacing dog food with poison" that is a disgraceful idea. Horrible! Really hope I never run into you Lardarse.

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