The story is from Livingston, Montana. A man faces a charge of misdemeanor assault after seeing another man attempting to give a biscuit (or bone?) to his dog. The dog owner apparently saw the other man reach over a fence to offer the dog a biscuit (or bone). The dog owner allegedly grabbed the treat giver and “threw him up against a garage.” The Police Chief of Livingston, Montana, one Darren Raney, reportedly has stated that the dog owner feared the other man was attempting to poison the dog, but that this wasn’t the case. The treat giver was reportedly uninjured, but presumably is pressing charges at this time.
I’m no fierce advocate of using violence to settle neighborly disputes, but I have some sympathy for the dog owner in this case. I don’t like people giving treats to my dog, even when I have no reason to think the treats may be poisoned, and it absolutely incenses me on those occasions (rare, thank heavens) when someone tries to do it without first seeking my approval.
If I am asked first, I’ll generally reply, “No, thank you — certain things make her sick and I’d just prefer not to risk it.” Which is true: I believe based on experience that my dog will throw up, or experience diarrhea, after consuming chicken or turkey, so we don’t feed her those things. Many processed dog treats contain chicken fat or other poultry by-products. If she throws up later, it won’t be on the treat-giver’s carpet. Of-course, nine times out of ten (especially living in New York City) the would-be biscuit giver will respond, “Oh, but these are very healthy treats! They’re Ultra-Organic-Free-Range-Omega-Five-Munchies!” Or some such absurdity. Why are some people so eager to feed other people’s dogs, to the extent that they even insist on making an argument about it? If I’m in a good mood, I’ll just smile and repeat, “No, thank you, really.”
There is a second reason I don’t want people who we meet while out walking to give my dog treats; it is no less important than the first, but in the interests of breath conservation I generally don’t invoke it verbally. It is simply that for every treat someone else gives my dog, it means I must feed her less that day — which means, for instance, eliminating my own treat-giving — in order that she not gain weight. All around town, the over-fed, over-treated pets waddle their way from the doorway to the curb and back, in many cases no doubt receiving dog-biscuit rewards for doing what comes naturally to them. Obesity must surely be the biggest enemy of pets these days. They are even worse off than humans; we at least are gifted with a nominal amount of self-control. Dogs, on the other hand, instinctively seek to binge while the food is available. When treats are being handed out with abandon, they simply can’t help themselves. Owners are literally killing their pets with kindness. Well, not me, buddy. So every treat she gets from someone else for no reason at all means my inability to give her one for a good and legitimate reason.
I’ve never had the opportunity to throw someone up against a garage for offering my pooch a cookie, but I’ve probably gotten most annoyed on certain occasions in the local dog-run, when some stranger (and I have to say, it’s always been a woman, for whatever reason) has hauled out a bag of goodies and started giving them out, starting with her own dog, and then to the others that run over to see what’s happening. If you ask me, just bringing treats to the dog-run should be considered a legally punishable misdemeanor of some kind; after all, you bring your dog to the dog-run to burn calories, not to consume them. And nothing can start a fight between otherwise friendly dogs as quickly as the competition for stray scraps of food. So, I’ve had words in instances such as this, but have so far stuck to my fairly solid rule of “Never hit a lady.”
As far as the man in Montana goes, we can have no idea of why he may have assumed the other gentleman was poisoning his dog. Our ignorance of the full facts of the case restricts any real judgment as regards guilt or innocence. But if a man’s home is his castle, then perhaps we can extrapolate from this that his dog, in his yard, should also be presumed to be protected from interference.
It’s an interesting case.
And don’t ever even think of feeding my dog.