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A story of one attack — and why pepper spray should be considered a reasonable option

To the editor:

I must take issue with a number of comments made by a recent letter-writer regarding the use of pepper spray by dog owners. First, regarding her observation that “most dogs find a way to get along,” she is correct. However, it’s the cases, while rare, when the dogs don’t find a way to do this that pepper spray may be your only defense against your dog being maimed or killed by another dog.

Two years ago, our leashed, 7-month-old dog was attacked — unprovoked — by an unleashed, uncollared dog whose owner had no control over him. I didn’t have pepper spray. I wrestled with the attacking dog, attempting to pry open his jaws, while two people kicked and hit the dog.

His jaws were clamped firmly on our dog’s neck, who was yelping with fear and already bleeding from the puncture wounds. Eventually the dog let go and we were able to get away. What I did was stupid and dangerous, and I doubt that I would do it again. But the alternative was to watch my dog be ripped to shreds.

As it was, our dog’s injuries cost more than $500 to have treated; worse still, she has never recovered psychologically. She’s fearful of other dogs, and highly reactive to them. Simply going for a walk in our neighborhood is an exercise in constant vigilance. We’re now seeing our third animal behaviorist, at considerable expense. If I’d been carrying pepper spray that day, this whole unfortunate series of events might have been avoided. Dangerous and aggressive dogs are a rarity, of course — but that fact is little comfort when you encounter one and have no way to protect yourself or your own dog against them.

Fred Cooksey


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