August 8, 2016

If you've ever dreamed of returning to the suburban lifestyles of the 1950s...

... take a look at Dallas, where — in some parts, at least — they've gone back to the old practice of letting the family dog run free:
On Thursday, the Boston Consulting Group, hired by the city, released a report that estimated there were 8,700 loose dogs in the area....

The biggest increase in dog bites came from dogs that were owned but not on a leash, the report said, and the groups involved in the issue agreed that educating dog owners was an important part of the solution....

In Dallas, the difference between the poverty-stricken south and the more affluent north is stark....
So it's those poor people, with their poor people ways. I remember when it was the middle class norm to let your dog out to roam around.

(Here's the Bob Dylan song.)

56 comments:

Hammond X. Gritzkofe said...

If more are needed, you can collect some from here. They run around in packs of a half dozen or so, City and County.

David said...

We had a neighbor with a boxer. It killed a couple of neighborhood cats (which also were allowed out loose) and social pressures caused them to keep the dog restrained thereafter. A lot of people did not have dogs. The ones that ran loose pretty much ran in a pack with the children. I think the bigger change is that kids are not allowed to run loose nowadays either.

readering said...

My first reaction was, "that's bs", but then I remembered being chased by a neighborhood boxer in the early sixties. Was terrified of that animal.

Clayton Hennesey said...

Your post offers an image of 8,700 individual Fidos wandering across the green grass to the neighbor's mailbox to tinkle.

In point of fact southern Dallas is a post-apocalyptic wasteland where owned and feral dogs alike join up in the antediluvian canine version of the Crips and the Bloods - the pack - to do what canine packs do best: hunt. It really doesn't matter if the prey is little Suzie's kitty or your granny, too slow to get out of the way.

“They ate her like they was eating a steak,”.

It's really time to start culling them en masse.

MadisonMan said...

So carry a spray bottle of bleach. Or a gun. Both will stop a dog pretty fast.

I was attacked by a dog once -- but it was winter, and I was wearing a heavy coat, so nothing really happened, except for the terror-for-two seconds thing before the owner appeared. I'm pretty big now. Dogs look for easier prey than I.

Clayton Hennesey said...

So carry a spray bottle of bleach.

A spray bottle of bleach simply won't stop a pack of dogs in attack fever mode, particularly when pit bulls are part of the mix. Ridiculous as this weapon may seem other than as a woman's purse gun, one really does need something on the order of five chambers of .410 to effectively get the point across in a steak-eating scenario.

Curious George said...

"MadisonMan said...
So carry a spray bottle of bleach. Or a gun. Both will stop a dog pretty fast."

Dogs are pack animals. Good luck with your spray bottle when the come en masse. Hell, good luck with a gun.

"David said...
We had a neighbor with a boxer. It killed a couple of neighborhood cats..."

I'm guessing the cats were declawed, in which case they should not be let out. Because a cat with all it's claws has nothing to worry about from a lone dog. My neighbors dog, a adult Rottweiler, got a little too frisky with my cat...one swipe across the nose put an end to that shit. The dog would run away from my cat from there on. My vet told me that the only animal in the northwoods that would tangle with a cat was a male fisher.

walter said...

It also seems to be the case that poorer dog owners have an attraction to the more violent breeds, like pit bulls. Oh..I know..it's not the breed..it's the blah, blah, blah.
But just like with so many other issues, technocrats prefer to crunch the "objective" numbers like proximity to vets etc. as if there is no cultural issue.

smitty said...

Here in the suburbs of Milwaukee the dogs (the small ones at least)are kept in check by the coyotes.

harrogate said...

I once splashed hot coffee at a large stray dog that tried to attack the small dog I was walking at the time. I figured my dog was toast. The coffee didn't make the stray yelp but it did stop him and cause him to go away. I think maybe he was just surprised by how strange it was.

Bob Ellison said...

We lost our sainted senior large dog early this year, and our giant, nervous German shepherd has changed in ways I would never have predicted. She is much calmer, much more attentive to my command, less likely to jump up and bark at someone at the door (except our music teacher-- he shouts back at her, so I think it's a symbiosis).

holdfast said...

Given Texans' fondness for firearms, I am surprised that this problem has not already been corrected.

Question for the peanut gallery: Would you discharge a firearm within city limits to save your dog?

robinintn said...

holdfast: Yes.

Freeman Hunt said...

"I remember when it was the middle class norm to let your dog out to roam around."

My father-in-law, who was extremely poor at that time, wasn't a fan. He said packs of dogs would run around and snarl at you. Sometimes they would block your path and not move even if you threw rocks at them, forcing you to turn around and find another way to your destination.

Freeman Hunt said...

Pepper spray works, supposedly.

Alternatively, and perhaps more kindly, rhhardin had an effective bag of Milkbones solution as I recall. (Toss one out whenever you pass the problem dog.)

Ron Snyder said...

Except back then you accepted responsibility for your Dog and you went to a lot of effort to control the dog.

rightguy2 said...

New Morning/Dylan is a personal favorite LP of mine. Under-rated if you ask me.

Yancey Ward said...

Up until three years ago, I was an avid runner. Near the end my running days, I had noted a large increase in the number of unleashed dogs both here in Tennessee and Connecticut. Most of the time, the dogs I saw just watched as I ran past, but on two occasions, they tried to attack me. I kicked one so hard in its chest I heard the bones crunch- it crawled off, and I hope it died- it was a shepard-like breed of some kind. The other one was underneath my feet before I even knew it was there- it was a small dog, not sure what kind- I tripped and fell right on top of it- it whimpered and crawled away, too. If I were still running, I would have to consider carrying a small bat just for protection.

mockturtle said...

I carry bear spray when I hike/walk my dog. While it would be useful for bears, should I encounter any, my main concern is unleashed--and sometimes aggressive--dogs. My leashed dog doesn't stand a chance. Yes, I have used the spray twice.

A LOT of pit bulls and rottweilers running around loose.

Roughcoat said...

Because a cat with all it's claws has nothing to worry about from a lone dog.

Oh, golly, tell that to the cats who had the misfortune to encounter my dear departed border collie, who grew up feral and thus came to prefer the thrill of the hunt over herding sheep. I tried to get her interested in herding sheep but she wouldn't have it. She wanted to be a predator not a working dog. Fortunately she didn't want to kill the sheep, but God help any small furry creature that crossed her path (or strayed into our yard, as the neighborhood feral cats were wont to do). She was also quite adept at killing raccoons, which is something most dogs can't do.

Roughcoat said...

It also seems to be the case that poorer dog owners have an attraction to the more violent breeds, like pit bulls.

Yep. White trash biker-types and inner city blacks. That's what I've noticed.

Mountain Maven said...

They had to hire a bunch of Yankee consultants to tell them that loose dogs were biting them?? Beginning of the end.

FullMoon said...

Roughcoat said...

It also seems to be the case that poorer dog owners have an attraction to the more violent breeds, like pit bulls.

Yep. White trash biker-types and inner city blacks. That's what I've noticed.


Poor people in bad neighborhood gonna have a serious dog for property protection. Young men like rough dogs. Always have, always will.

As for Roughcoat's observation, I suppose RC spends a lot of time in the inner city and around bikers.

Unknown said...

I grew up in the late 50's and the 60's and there were no dogs roaming in my Wisconsin suburb.

Unknown said...

Question for the peanut gallery: Would you discharge a firearm within city limits to save your dog?

8/8/16, 5:17 PM

This is a question?

Roughcoat said...

I suppose RC spends a lot of time in the inner city and around bikers.

As a matter of fact ...

I work in the inner city. On Chicago's South Side. In a poor/violent black neighborhood. Where I frequently see youths with their pit bulls.

And, about once a week I'm out in the country way far west and south of Chicago, in the sticks, training on farms with my dogs to herd sheep. It's meth-dealer/user territory, impoverished rural areas, and I regularly see those rural biker-types -- not just "types," to be preise, but actually Harley-riding bikers -- with their pit bulls.

Okay?

rhhardin said...

Humane societies were founded to take dogs away from the lower classes.

See Vicki Hearne, _Bandit_ for that and a lot more. Great writer, is a lefty who winds up always writing on the right.

Roughcoat said...

Also, FullMoon:

Inner city black youths don't use pit bulls to protect their property, they fight them against other pit bulls. Having a fighting dog is a status symbol in the inner city: and an expression of masculinity.

They use guns to protect their property. Or to take it from others. The dogs are purely for fighting.

rhhardin said...

The Pit Bull scene in the ghetto

``[But then my companion said,] ``But what about those punks and dope dealers who come up to you with pit bulls on chains?''

So I thought I'd better find out about people who come up to you with their pit bulls on chains. A few days later I found myself a poor urban neighborhood, and I walked about, waiting to be accosted. I stayed in the vicinity of one corner in particular, because it was a hot day and the woman at the small market was kind to me when I held the door of her cold box open for five minutes, trying to decide which soda to buy, unlike the man in the store further down, where there was a deli bar and a great deal of scowling efficiency. Nothing happened except that my feet, which are flat, began to hurt from walking on pavement.

I did see a young man with a short-haired, muscular male dog on a chain lead. The dog weighed about fifty pounds, was a pleasing brindle color with a white blaze, and had ears that looked like ailerons. The chain was probably mandated by local ordinance. For some reason, chains feature prominently in vicious-dog legislation, even though it is hazardous to try to control any dog that weighs more than five pounds with a chain, because when the dog jumps against the chain, the sudden pain is likely to cause the handler to let go, and the dog gets out into traffic and gets run over. If the chain is of any substance, a small dog can't drag it around, so either way chains are useless for walking dogs.

Fido was taking the young man for a walk, in the manner of conscientious dogs everywhere. The young man said, ``Sit, sit sit,'' and ``Heel, heel heel,'' and ``Come!'' a lot, all of which the dog ignored as he dragged his owner from one leg-lifting station to another. Owners often object to the speed and vigor of their daily walks with their dogs, not realizing the health benefits. Eventually Fido was done with his exercise tour and dragged the rather slight young man, whose hands were evidently bruised from trying to hold on to the chain, back home, tail wagging in satisfaction.

The owner ignored me, which was fortunate. If he had wanted to mug me, he would have had to get rid of the dog first, because it took both hands to hang on to the lead, which meant it would be impossible to handle the dog and a weapon at once. Also, his chances of getting the dog pointed in my direction without a fire hydrant behind me to motivate him were nil.

He reached a doorway that I took to be his, and sat down on the steps, panting. This was evidently a routine with him and Fido, who plumped down beside him and joined him in gazing on passersby while the man fondled him, murmuring the standard sweet nothings in his ear from time to time.

Fido had a wide leather collar around his neck, so that he could pull comfortably on the leash. He would have been even more comfortable in a harness, but well-fitting harnesses are hard to come by, even if you live in a ghetto. (The word ``ghetto'' comes from the Italian word ``borghetto,'' which is a diminutive of the word ``borgo,'' or ``settlement outside the city wall.'' You are more likely to find a good harness maker outside the city wall, in the borghetto.)

It may be that you are one day approached by a Ghetto Dweller, or some other sort of Inhabitant, and a pit bull. If this happens, the thing to do is to ask the Dweller the dog's name. The Dweller will promptly say ``Fido,'' because it takes a seasoned professional handler to resist the opportunity to say a dog's beloved Name. When the Dweller says his dog's name proudly, Fido will as likely as not look up at him and wiggle, releasing the pressure on the leash. This will give the Dweller a chance to straighten up and relieve his aching back. It will be a kindness.

And kindness - dear reader! Kindness these days is everything.''

Vicki Hearne _Bandit: Dossier of a Dangerous Dog_ p.231-232

robinintn said...

I don't know of any '50s suburb that was like the area described in the article. I have, however, observed large swaths of Mexico that look exactly like it, Dog-pack-wise.

rhhardin said...

I grew up around loose dogs, as did everybody else at the time.

Dog catchers were for problem dogs, not loose dogs. Non-problem dogs got very well socialized, something that does not happen today, which is how kids could be playing around loose dogs all day.

Apparently the distinction between problem and non-problem isn't made today.

Lori said...

Too bad the census takers didn't round up those dogs instead of just watching them run loose.

Anglelyne said...

AA: I remember when it was the middle class norm to let your dog out to roam around.

There's dogs roaming around and there's dogs roaming around. The "middle class norm" of friendly Fido (who knew you and your kids) venturing out of his yard to inspect neighborhood conditions is a different thing than boonie dogs making nuisances of themselves and worse.

In the past one might occasionally hear of dogs in rural areas in the U.S. going feral, forming packs, and taking down some luckless human walking on the wrong road at the wrong time. But having to deal with "thousands of roaming dogs" is a Third World thing, not a "suburban lifestyles of the 1950s" thing, as anyone who has experienced both can attest.

Good grief, Althouse. But as a Pravda-esque euphemism for deteriorating conditions, your title is exquisite.

rhhardin said...

I had a video of how to deal with loose chasing dogs, as a bike-rider. I don't see it any more.

Anyway you stop and toss them a Milkbone.

If you're a regular, soon you'll find the dog at the end of his driveway waiting for you to stop and give him a Milkbone.

Then you have a friend, even if he still chases other bicycles. They distinguish.

Michael The Magnificent said...

Question for the peanut gallery: Would you discharge a firearm within city limits to save your dog?

If one of my dogs was in imminent danger of great bodily harm or death, then yes, I would shoot to stop the threat.

Peggy Coffey said...

I have been riding Harleys for years and I've never personally seen anyone ride with a pit. Mostly just the yappy small dogs. Pits are too big to ride comfortably on your bike. Maybeveryone the wannabe Sons of Anarchy types would keep them at their place as guards, but they don't ride with theme. All the pits I know are big babies.

Rick Turley said...

Not really a dog person but I do remember Laddie fondly. He was a Collie/Spitz mix who could not be confined to the yard, either climbing the chain link fence or digging under it. He liked to follow the morning newspaper boy (a friend of my brother's) on his route. One day he was accosted by a neighborhood ne'er-do-well. Laddie shot out from the bushes and gave him the what for. He didn't like anybody messing with his pack and even roughhousing amongst ourselves made him nervous. Back before global warming turned central Indiana into the mid-South, he loved nothing more than to spend a winter's night buried under a snowdrift.

My only other dog story is when I worked for a moving company during high school and college summers. Being near an AFB we moved a lot of servicemen and their families. One of them was a K-9 soldier with his German Shepherd. He showed us how the dog could clear a six foot fence and not to worry as long as we didn't make any sudden moves or touch one of the family. That dog's eyes never left us the whole time we were there and you could tell he was just looking for an excuse to go at us. It was scary.

tim maguire said...

When I was a kid, it was standard to let dogs run free. And once in a while you'd step in poop and once a while you'd get bit, but nobody made too much fuss about either event.

MikeD said...

In 74 years I've never seen a "dog pack" in person. Maybe it's an East vs West Coast thingy?
First dog, 1951 my age nine, (no TV for another 3

years) small (lower middle-class) suburban area inside Seattle city limits, 1/4 acre lots, no fences, 50 acre field behind our side of the street houses & dog, even as a pup was free to roam. Had a stay-at-home Mom (Dad was merchant marine, seldom home)who actually took care of Lady (soon re-named Ladybug for a forgotten reason)most of the time. One (1) time she went down the street and urinated on a retired couples curbside rose bushes &, prior to spay, hooked up w/male thus bringing spay up front!
Four years later, move to Santa Cruz, CA similar neighborhood but, smaller lot w/100's of acres of field behind, still no fences. Still no problems!
Even at the end, while I was working summer job & living at home, Mom had to take her to vet to be put to sleep (kidney disease).
Anyway, watching my 15 y/o canine companion of 14 years + sleep, brought back memories of best family dog ever.
BTW, post WWII 40's, & most of 50's, was the very best time to be a kid with a dog & a bicycle & a everybody knows everybody neighborhood!!!!!
Yeah, I'm using Professor's electricicles to do a senior reminisce, so sue me, (of course nobody has read this far so legal action is a non-sequitur [not to be confused with the comic strip])

whitney said...

It was the middle class norm but we were still responsible for our dogs and any progeny.

jimbino said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jimbino said...

Austin is just as bad, if not worse. Animal Control will come pick up stray dogs and injured wild animals, but not cats, whether feral or domesticated. When I was last there, I trapped dozens of cats, took them to the local Animal Hospital a block away, and got them to read me the RFID chip info. Then I just called the owner and ransomed the cat for $50. Only cats that didn't have chips had to be disposed of in other ways. I like to think that I helped to ameliorate the serious problem of songbird devastation.

Too bad we can't spay the irresponsible owners.

Josephbleau said...

Second story men are reputed to carry some beef to divert and silence dogs.

Paco Wové said...

"a Third World thing"

Did someone mention the Third World?

Karachi culls nearly 1,000 stray dogs to prevent a possible rabies outbreak

Roughcoat said...

I have been riding Harleys for years and I've never personally seen anyone ride with a pit.

I've never seen anyone riding with a pit either. In the sticks there are people who breed and keep pits for use as guard dogs and fighting dogs and to run down deer. Probably to protect meth labs too. These people are not Sons of Anarchy wannabes; they are badass mo-fos, I kid you not. I've been among them. All the pits you know may be big babies but you don't know all pits.

Browndog said...

I believe a dog should live as free as possible. They are not ornaments.

wild chicken said...

Oh, good old Oak Cliff...splendid place.

Nobody goes there.

Fernandinande said...

Curious George said...
Because a cat with all it's claws has nothing to worry about from a lone dog.


That only works if the dog's friendly or hesitant. I've seen two dogs kill cats instantly with one bite. They didn't get a scratch.

EMD said...

I thought the post might be about this at first.

Rusty said...

Blogger jimbino said...
"Austin is just as bad, if not worse. Animal Control will come pick up stray dogs and injured wild animals, but not cats, whether feral or domesticated. When I was last there, I trapped dozens of cats, took them to the local Animal Hospital a block away, and got them to read me the RFID chip info. Then I just called the owner and ransomed the cat for $50. Only cats that didn't have chips had to be disposed of in other ways. I like to think that I helped to ameliorate the serious problem of songbird devastation.

Too bad we can't spay the irresponsible owners."

I agree. We had a terrible feral cat problem in our downtown area around the river. Made worse by well meaning people feeding them and providing little boxes for them to live in. At one time it was estimated that there were over 200 in just a four block area. And then the coyotes came. No more cat problem.
Now we have a coyote problem.
Not really. They do thier best to keep out of the way.
Now we have morons feeding the deer.

Rusty said...

Question for the peanut gallery: Would you discharge a firearm within city limits to save your dog?

Hmm. Good question. Save from what?

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

Gee, I dunno, roving packs of Shih Tzu puppies sounds kind of nifty.

Ambrose said...

A neighbor's dog where I grew up roamed free, and actually learned to cross a busy intersection with traffic lights. We would see her patiently wait for the red light and then walk across.

Fernandinande said...

Rick Turley said...
One of them was a K-9 soldier with his German Shepherd. ... as long as we didn't make any sudden moves ...That dog's eyes never left us the whole time we were there and you could tell he was just looking for an excuse to go at us. It was scary.


That guy was an asshole. "Hi, welcome to my home! Don't make any sudden moves or you'll be attacked. Just act like you're under arrest."

Unknown said...

Then I just called the owner and ransomed the cat for $50. Only cats that didn't have chips had to be disposed of in other ways. I like to think that I helped to ameliorate the serious problem of songbird devastation.

Too bad we can't spay the irresponsible owners."


jimbino, that neighbor who forbade you to have his daughter in your home - I wish I could buy him a cigar. What a marvelous judge of character!

mikee said...

It was also the norm, back in those days of dog freedom, to immediately put down (i.e., euthanize, i.e., KILL) any dog that bit a person, or even aggressively attacked someone. At least where I grew up.

I recall our neighbors' relief when my parents agreed their dog did not need to be killed, after it nipped my brother, who was wrestling with their kids when the dog joined the pile.

And another norm was to shoot, shovel and shut up if you were a farmer, or even a rural home owner, and a dog that appeared unattended by humans made a nuisance of itself by bothering your own pets, kids, or domestic animals.