Before I begin this post I have to warn the more sensitive that it does depict some cruelty to animals. As you will later find out, the so called Victim, didn't have a lot of choice in doing what he did. I do not blame him, nor condemn him for what he did. I do, however, blame the other party, the owner of the animals, which this story is based upon.
JC wasn't a pet lover. If the truth be known he rather loathed and despised them, especially dogs. But that was just him. True, he could appreciate those who loved the furry/hairy creatures and who looked to them for extra companionship; just don't bring them to his house. That was frustrating in itself; it's surprising that pet owners cannot understand why everyone doesn't love pets. And they're so insulted when you tell them that you don't allow pets in your house. More than once JC found the neighbor's dog in the trash bin, cans overturned and trash scattered everywhere; more than once he had to deal with urine stains on the wheels of his vehicles; and more than once he had to clean up his yard after some cur left a doggie mine or two on his lawn to inadvertently step in. On summer evenings, while attempting to entertain guests in his backyard, he could get extremely irritable at the neighborhood dogs trying to outbark each other, and thus force everyone to shout in order to be heard. Many a summer's evening one could see him on the back deck, relaxing on a lounger, cold beverage in his hand, pocket rocket at the ready, along with a can of pea gravel. Over the years he became quite a marksman at nailing the obnoxious perpetrators who seem to enjoy ruining the peace and quiet.
There was an occasion when one of his neighbors had one of those long-haired yap machines; the ones that you can only tell the front from the rear either by the dingleberries hanging from the rear, or where the barking noise was coming from. This creature would run around its yard every night and bark itself hoarse. Since those neighbors were on the east side of JC's place, their shades were always drawn, thus blinding them to JC's nasty method of retaliation.
That sissy-dog would rush into the backyard, barking its brains out, and JC would be on his deck, pocket slingshot at the ready, and fire off a round into its hip (preferably), or its side. It would yelp, then bark louder, to which it would receive another round. It usually took about three direct hits to get the point across. Eventually it would race out into the yard, then, upon seeing the evil vigilante (JC), would let out one surprised yelp, then race back over to the opposite side of the house, thus avoiding another painful encounter. JC recalled overhearing the owner talking to her husband one evening. 'I was trying to give Precious (Are you kidding me? Who would name a dog that?) a bath and both of her sides and hips are just covered with welts; I'm going to have to take her to the vet.'
No worries these days; hats off to the inventor of the electronic bark stopper... And the pocket slingshot...
Wilbur was a rather feisty gentleman. An accomplished boxer, he didn't take any guff from anyone. Aside from his somewhat obnoxious behavior, he was honest and fair. He didn't ask for trouble but then, he sure didn't back down if trouble arose. He'd made a career as one of the county road maintainer operators. For over thirty years he operated that grader, maintaining the roads, and during the winter, would even plow out your yard. He was good at what he did, and always got the job done no matter the weather.
He lived in town, in a relatively quiet neighborhood. When he got home from work, he would have supper, pop open a beer and watch the boxing match on TV, or else go out and work in the garden. He and his wife were empty-nesters and they rather enjoyed the relative peace and quiet. Then one day, Ralph, the guy across the street, got three German Shepherd dogs. Nice looking, well marked animals, all three of them, but the one thing that Ralph didn't seem to understand was they were rather high-strung, not unlike the majority of the breed. Well, Ralph either read some place, or watched a program on TV that gave instructions on how to train your dog to become an attack dog, a protector of your property and family, and maybe even the neighborhood. For all I know he read it in a Stag magazine, or on the wall in the washroom at the local Chinaman's café/teen hangout. Anyways, he got those three pups and proceeded to train them to be attack dogs.
Well, first of all, he didn't even have proper accommodations for them. To have dogs, especially ones that could be potentially dangerous, the owner absolutely must have a secure kennel. It protects the dogs as well as the neighbors. Apparently Ralph didn't realize that and figured that the three foot fence around his yard was sufficient. He would come home from work, train the dogs to attack then head inside, open a beer and veg out in front of the TV, leaving the young dogs--now grown to adult size--to their own devices in the backyard.
Like anyone or anything else that has learned new skills, people and dogs need to practice what they're taught. Fortunately Ralph used a full-grown sized mannequin and that luckily spared the neighborhood children from the risk of being attacked. Another fortunate thing was that the mannequin was clad in an old ragged pair of gray striped coveralls so that excluded most of the neighborhood adults. The downside of that was Wilbur wore gray striped coveralls so you can see where I'm headed with this story.
Wilbur would come home at the end of a long hard day, pull his pickup into the driveway and proceed to get out and head inside. Unfortunately he would barely be out of his truck when those three rather vicious attack dogs-in-training would converge upon him, biting and tearing at his arms, legs and whatever else they could clamp onto. Wilbur would holler and fend them off as best he could, sometimes managing to latch onto a stick or something that could be used as a weapon. Because of his lack-of-fear attitude, Wilbur could always defeat them and the beaten perpetrators would retreat back across the street where they would conduct an after-action report, regroup and get ready for tomorrow when Wilbur would come home again.
Of course Wilbur, stick at the ready would march across the street, pound on Ralph's door, and jerk Ralph out of his reverie. A dazed and confused (and often intoxicated) Ralph would squint in the early evening sun and listen to Wilbur curse and swear and utter threat after threat about what he'd do if Ralph didn't lock those damned sons-of-bitches up. 'If those sons-a-bitches come after me one more time, I'm gonna come out of that truck with my rifle and kill those bastards dead!'
'Sure-sure,' Ralph would respond, then close the door and head back to his TV set and beer. Knowing that Ralph actually doing something positive was about as probable as winning the lottery twice in a row with the same set of numbers, Wilbur and his wife also complained to the local authorities.
The weeks went by and spring turned into summer, and summer turned into real summer and things got hotter than the proverbial firecracker. It seemed that Wilbur's threats were finally taken seriously. But then, one stifling day Wilbur came home. He slid wearily out of his truck, reached for his lunch pail and thermos and turned around.
The dogs had come in total silence. Before Wilbur knew what was going on, the first dog was already airborne. Instinctively Wilbur put up his arm to fend it off; which is not a good thing to do in a dog attack. Maybe put up your arm if you've got something like a thick newspaper wrapped around it. But due to the heat of the day Wilbur's sleeves were rolled up leaving only his bare arm which the dog clamped down on hard.
Luckily, Wilbur had his beating stick and thumped the dog's head pretty good; it yelped and let go, but not before drawing blood. Before driving over to the hospital to get stitched up (and a tetanus shot), Wilbur stormed over to Ralph's house, and really came unglued, telling Ralph under no uncertain terms that if he ever saw those dogs on his property again, he was going to take serious action.
A week went by and all was calm but halfway through the following week, Wilbur drove into his driveway. He opened the door of his pickup and those vicious canines were rushing across the street. Wilbur slammed the door just as the dogs gathered around, snarling and pawing at the side window. It took five minutes before they finally determined that Wilbur was going to stay in his truck so the unwelcome trio gave up and started back across the street.
Upon hearing the latch mechanism and the squeak of the hinges they turned around to see Wilbur launch himself out of the cab. What they didn't realize or understand was that Wilbur had a rifle in his hands. Wilbur shot the first one out of the air; it landed, dead and harmless at Wilbur's feet. The second one hesitated for a second them came charging; it too fell victim to a .30 caliber round. The third one sniffed at his fallen comrades, whimpered and appeared confused until Wilbur moved.
It suddenly snarled and barked, and darted from side to side between the two carcasses. Maybe Wilbur should've called it a day but he was so fed up that he decided that he'd eliminate the threat once and for all. He took aim and squeezed the trigger.
Unfortunately the dog spun around at that very second, the round ripping through its spine just ahead of its tail. The dog yelped and collapsed on the ground, finally making its way across the street, its front paws dragging its paralyzed hind legs behind him, and leaving a bloody streak as a grim reminder.
Of course it wasn't very long before the local deputation was summoned, the second in command being the one who was dispatched. He pulled up behind Wilbur's pickup, got out, glanced at the two dead dogs, and the bloody streak that led across the street to Ralph's house then turned and glared at Wilbur who was seated on the truck seat, facing out, the rifle across his lap. Before the officer could utter a word, Wilbur took his rifle, barrel down in a safe position and began to operate the action and eject the rounds.
'There's a third one over at Ralph's,' Wilbur began. 'I talked to that son-of-a-bitch; and I talked to him; and I talked to him again! I went over to his place and asked him nicely; I pleaded with him, then I went over there and yelled at him--more than once--and told him that I was going to take action if he didn't keep those bastards under control!' He showed his right forearm with the stitched up bite marks then he indicated the first dog. 'That son-of-a-bitch bit me, and I had to get a tetanus shot. I told Ralph that if he didn't keep his dogs under control I'd take care of it myself!'
'Why didn't you call us?' Officer asked, still incredulous at the scene in front of him. Wilbur finished ejecting the bullets then left the breech open and ensured the rifle was empty and offered the weapon to Officer Leith. 'I've left at least a dozen messages on your goddamned phone, and my wife has left at least a dozen more! Someone was too damned busy...'
Leith ignored Wilbur's rifle. He took a couple steps backward and glanced across the street before facing Wilbur again. 'I'll go talk to him; and I'll have to deal with the third one anyways...' He pointed a finger at Wilbur. 'Don't you ever discharge a firearm within town limits again!' And with that, he turned and headed across the street.
Wilbur wasn't charged with anything although Ralph and his wife have threatened to sue him more than once. As the years passed by the story was largely forgotten; relegated to the vast pages of coffee row lore. At any rate Wilbur's neighborhood was once again safe and quiet.
The problem with dangerous dogs isn't over. About ten years ago one of JC's co-workers was helping his ten year old son deliver newspapers. They walked up to a house on the boy's route and without warning a pit bull jumped right through a screen door and attacked the boy. The boy's father got between the dog and the boy thus taking the brunt of the attack. The result was the man spending many weeks in the hospital getting his torn arms and neck put back together and then having to find some other kind of work because he could no longer function as a mechanic. He still suffers ill effects from that attack. The dog was destroyed but its owners packed up a few belongings and left town, leaving everything else they owned inside the house.
Police are still looking for them.
A dog is usually only as dangerous as its owner(s) allow it to be. Most dogs are a combination of unconditional love and loyalty. It is unfortunate that a few irresponsible owners make it bad for all dog owners.