At some point during the race, the kids got bored and so they went outside to play. A little while later, they came running in yelling that there were dogs in the backyard. That is not something that we deal with here very often, so I was immediately concerned. I went outside, not knowing what to expect. Sure enough, there were 3 rather large dogs running loose - 2 big black ones and a slightly smaller white one. They didn't appear to be aggressive, but I didn't want to take any chances. A quick glance at all of them showed me that they did have collars on, and they appeared to be clean and well-fed, so I didn't think that they were strays. With that assumption made, I started calling to them. The black ones came to me after a few minutes, and I was able to see that they had tags too - one had a tag from Alabama along with a tag with some in-state (but not local) phone numbers and one had a local phone number. I told Emily to go grab my phone while I held the dogs. I tried calling all of the numbers and couldn't get through to anyone.
In the meantime, the white dog started getting a little agitated. I don't know if he was just ticked off that I had his buddies or what, but I wasn't happy. I called 911 and was told that they don't have animal control officers working on the weekend, so unless the dogs were posing a threat, they wouldn't do anything about it. I informed them that I wasn't comfortable with them running around the neighborhood and the dispatcher sent an officer over. I stayed on the porch steps with the two black ones until he got here.
As soon as he stepped into my yard, the white dog lunged after him and started growling and barking at him. The officer immediately pulled his tazer out and aimed and yelled at the dog. The dog backed up but kept growling and snapping. The officer called for the animal control truck to get here NOW and just held the tazer there, ready to fire if necessary. He stood there like that until his backup arrived. I told the kids to get inside just in case things got ugly, but of course they were all standing in the front window watching.
The second officer pulled up in the truck and the white dog did the same thing to him. The black dogs - I was still holding them by their collars - started getting a little feistier but they didn't get aggressive so I just kept a hold of them. The officers tried to coax the white dog with treats and tried to get him with the catch pole, and it just wasn't working. It was really kind of funny - at one point they looked at me, still sitting on the steps holding these other 2 dogs, and asked if I was ok to just stay there. I just said that I was fine but if attacks started, I was out of there and they could fend for themselves! The one officer admitted that dogs just don't like him, so he was letting the other guy do all of the work, rather than making the situation worse.
The white dog finally ran over to me, and somehow I managed to shift both of the black dogs' collars into one hand and I snatched the white dog's collar with my other hand - so I now had 3 dogs by their collars, and two police officers looking at me like I was insane. They came over and got the white dog, since he was the one being difficult and they got him coaxed into the truck with minimal snapping and growling. I walked over to the truck with a black dog on each hand. The officer tried to get the first one into the truck and he didn't want to go, so he ended up just picking him up in his arms and putting him inside. The third dog - the one with 3 legs - just couldn't make the jump up into the truck and looked at the officers like he was saying "dude, you want me to get up there?" so the officer sighed, leaned over, and picked him up and put him in the truck too.
You can tell from the pictures that the dogs really weren't terribly ferocious - but that white dog did make me nervous. He was too jumpy and edgy and I just had visions of one of the kids moving the wrong way and having him attack - I questioned myself pretty hard before calling them in, but when I saw the white one's aggression toward the officers, I knew that I made the right call. And yes, the black ones had tags, but they were expired - and the white one had no tags whatsoever. The officers felt that there was enough information on the black dogs to track down the owners so I am confident that they will be returned to their home soon.
Is it too much to ask for a drama-free day???