The Dog Owner from Hell

On Saturday we met the dog owner from hell. I stopped at a rest stop in eastern Ohio and was accosted by a huge friendly yellow lab while on my way to use the restroom. He came barreling down the hill from the picnic area (which was posted “No Pets”) and ran right toward me. This dog was at least 100 lbs of exuberance (think Marley and Me) and he was tearing all over the rest stop at full speed. Clearly, he had a lot of energy to burn and his owner didn’t have control over him.

On my way back to the truck, I yelled to the guy in a friendly voice, asking him to please put his dog on a leash so I could get my dog out of the car. I told him that my dog wouldn’t take kindly to being accosted by a loose dog. Bandit was probably crossing his legs at this point and I didn’t want any accidents in my dad’s truck. The guy ignored me and the dog had certainly been running around for a while. So I asked the attendant if he could ask the guy to leash his dog. The attendant said that there was a leash law and said that he would call the State Patrol.

When I got back to my truck, which was near the guy’s van, he told me in a confrontational way that he would put his dog away when he was good and ready. I had first approached the guy with a friendly voice, but he responded like a jerk. So I told him that I needed to get my dog out, but first I would get out a large stick and I would use it if I needed to protect my dog. He said that if I touched his dog, I would be in big trouble. I responded that I certainly would not. Since there was a leash law, I could use a stick to protect myself and my dog. When I pulled my stock (herding) stick out of the back of the truck, the guy apparently realized that I did have a stick and I knew how to use it. His wife was returning from the rest room and the dog galloped across the lawn to greet her. Then they started retreating to the van as I went to let Bandit out of the truck, thinking that the State Patrol could arrive at any time. Mr. tough guy wasn’t so tough after all, once he saw my stick. Maybe the NRA sticker on my dad’s truck didn’t hurt either! I noted that the whole time his dog was running all over the rest stop, this guy never appeared with a plastic bag. The dog probably left a huge steaming pile somewhere where someone will accidentally step in it. I can see why some people don’t like dogs and their “owners”. 

As I got Bandit out of the truck, the people across the way yelled “Good for you–you tell him!” They’d protected their dog on the other side of their truck for fear that the lab would run over and jump him. They said that he was a pit bull / husky cross and would have torn that lab apart if he had come over. I told them that Bandit would have also defended himself if the lab had jumped him (or me). And you know where that can lead…jerks with out of control loose dogs asking for breed legislation against properly leashed pit mixes and cattle dogs!

As I spoke to the people across the way, Mr. BAAAAD dog owner backed up his mini-van much farther than necessary, threatening to run me over. What a brave guy, retreating into his mini-van and using it as a threat! As he backed toward us, I memorized his Ohio license plate number. Those of us with dogs breathed a sigh of relief as he drove away.




And get this–this Ohio rest stop (like all of the Ohio rest stops that we visited) had no fence between the parking lot and the interstate highway. Cars were flying by at 70 mph while this dog was running around out of control. Threatening me if I touched the dog seemed lame compared to what could have happened if he had strayed out onto the interstate or been hit in the parking lot. If you love your dog, leash your dog. If you want to continue taking your dog to public places, leash your dog…and please pick up after him too. The rest of us are depending on you to not make people dread meeting dogs in public places. Thanks for thinking about somebody besides yourself.



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