Cat bias on iNat?

I luckily haven’t had a close encounter like that myself, but a person from a local hiking group I was on several hikes with was mauled by 3 dogs 2 weeks ago - some other people driving past managed to rescue her and she was flown to the hospital in serious condition, with part of her leg amputated since. She was walking along a road, so probably not the exact trail I’d be on, but still in the same state park I often go to. The dog owners live nearby and were home but just let the dogs run free. Keeping dangerous free roaming dogs just seems to be a thing in rural Ohio :disappointed:

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I had three unpleasant encounters with dogs this year in Dagestan. And since I have fear of dogs, it was a terrible experience that I don’t want to repeat.
The first time we walked near the farm and there were a lot of dogs behind the fence (Alabai mixes and mongrels). They began to bark at us, but we kept walking and they ran along the fence. There was a hole somewhere in the fence and a whole crowd of dogs eventually ran out on us. Luckily they didn’t dare to go through the thistles, so we managed to get away.
On the way back we were walking along the crest of the hill and the dogs (20 or more) at the other farm saw us like 300 meters away. They ran out of the gate and rushed towards us. But we went down behind the hill, the dogs lost sight of us and calmed down.
The third encounter was at the camp site. There were several dogs there. During the day, they are quite calm, approaching visitors in a friendly manner and begging for food. We stayed there and went for herping in the evening. But when we returned at night, the dogs met us with barking and growling, they surrounded us and began to walk in circles, trying to come up from behind. And only the camp worker drove them away.
Of course, the dogs did what they were supposed to do, and it is pointless to blame them. But the practice of keeping dogs unleashed and free-roaming makes visiting some places rather dangerous.


I always remember of the story when the old lady who was feeding dogs for years one day was mauled and eaten by them.

Given the possibility of mauling, is it worth adding pepper spray/bear spray or those loud electronic ringing devices to one’s outdoor kit? I’m sure attacks like this are rare, but would this be a practical solution?


It would be extremely important though, to know when the use would be appropriate.

Working dogs barking to alert are doing what they are trained to do. A large size may feel intimidating but should not be held against a dog in and of itself; small dogs can and do bite as well. (As can cats, for that matter.)

Some geographic areas may have more feral dogs or issues with loose dog packs which can be aggressive. Certainly one would develop a healthy concern in those areas. Here within this city we unfortunately have many homeless dogs but they are not typically feral, so I am not scared of them but rather sad for them.


I am the owner of a dog (by I, I mean family), but my profile pic is clearly not one (in case you didn’t know)


I like your duck @robotpie! What type of dog? (Brown, black, small, big, sleepy, active?)

I’ve just added a profile picture at last, our household favorite, the Double Sploot, shown below in larger glory.

(If anyone really wants to see me, I am my own iNaturalist profile photo.)


We often recommend if worried having gelled peperspray to be honest…it is legal here and wont have blowback. As it works at a distance you can ward off a charging dog before it gets close (and likely not actually have to hit it) I now have my partner carry it while hiking. Also because once we ran into a man who was wandering around with a knife slashing branches and throwing rocks at trees seeming very…not right in the head. That was scarrier than the charging dog trying to attack my dog tbh! Look no one wants to injure a dog, but my safety and my dogs safety before a random unknown dog.

Honestly…a charging barking dog is NOT being friendly no matter what the owner behind them is screaming. It is not even canine-canine friendly behavior to rush the front like that. Sure that dog may just not have appropriate greeting behaviour but still it is up to the person to know that and make sure their dog cannot be rude (aka leash!!)

Fact: If they want to bite they will - before you can react. Dogs can bite literally faster than human response time is - by quite a bit (almost 7x faster - even dog behaviourists extremely well trained to canine body language wear bite protection typically when dealing with true aggression cases.) if a dog misses you while snapping at you - it intended to miss - it does not want to bite and did not on purpose. Thats not something most people realise. You didnt outmaneuver it, that is physically impossible.

If peper spray makes you feel safter have it if legal. Umbrellas work nice often too. Pop it open at them as they run up to you. Umbrellas legal everywhere. It can also function as a break stick in a pinch if its handle is shaped right (a way to force a bite release).

Definitely like Lucy said be aware but i dont think anyone here is thinking Peper All The Dogs. But honestly we carry it for years, have pulled it on 2 occasions when dogs rushed barking ears pinned back then started to circle and growl owners nowhere in sight, but never had to actually spray it. Owners finally bimble around the corner oblivious and get serious when ya scream “get your dog now or i am defending myself with pepper spray”. All of a sudden they care…and get their dog under control ;)


When I lived in an area with lits of feral dogs, I carried a small bottle of water prepped with some holes in the lit. I did not have to use it often (actually, neber against a feral dog… the cases I jad tonuse them was against dogs that where free roaming but belonged to somewhere), because usually they are impressed enough by very secure behaviour… but the times I had to use it it always worked.

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I don’t like dogs much. They’re too similar to children, which I also avoid. Very loud, always jumping around and breaking stuff, tend to smell bad if you don’t constantly bathe them, and always want attention.

Also, dogs just seem dangerous and unpredictable to me. I’ve been bitten by them twice, and growled at / threatened several times as well. I had to pepper spray a couple of them once. And when I was little my dad got very badly injured by a neighbor’s dog that attacked him while he was riding his bike.

Dogs also generally hate my partner, for reasons unknown. On one of our first dates, a dog saw him from 50 yards away, tore itself free of its leash, and charged over to attack him. Fortunately he had a thick jacket on, and its teeth only barely scratched him.

I’ve met some very nice dogs as well, but I still don’t think I’d ever want to own one.

Cats are the perfect introvert pet - they’re usually happy to just hang out in the same room as you while you both do your own thing.

We are currently cat-less, since we lost ours to cancer this spring. But she was a delight. She was elderly, toothless, and I found her starving in an orchard where she’d been dumped. She was the most affectionate creature I’ve ever met, and understood an astonishing number of human words. The most interesting commend she knew was “Show me”, which was her indication to lead the human to whatever thing she was upset and meowing about.

Common causes of her consternation included: someone left the oven on, and it needed to be turned off; the curtains were open when she wanted them closed; the food / water needed refilling; a pillow had toppled onto her heating pad and rendered it inaccessible; the skunk who lived under our house was rummaging around too close to the window and she didn’t like it; there was clutter left on the floor somewhere; or it was raining outside (she never went outside except to sleep under the wisteria on our enclosed patio occasionally, but rain was still an event she objected to in principle).

It was fascinating to have a glimpse into her mind and what she thought of as important.
Here she is before and after, final pic taken about 6 months after the first 2:

Other species of pets I’ve had were rabbits, chickens, a scrub jay, and a mallard. The scrub jay was a fallen nestling I found when I was a kid and raised. He was a very interesting animal, but I always felt a bit bad about depriving him of his “natural” existence. He was free to come and go, and eventually just started coming by less often, and found himself a territory elsewhere. Hope he did OK in the end.

The mallard was great, although he had a tendency to attempt to bully any other animal around. The cats despised him, because he’d shoulder them aside and go eat their food. I had to make a leash for him for when we went on walks, after he tried to dive under the fence to attack my neighbor’s donkeys. And it was lucky our house was very far from the road, because he would try to chase cars if he saw them. He also terrorized my brothers relentlessly, which I considered to be a major bonus.


Those cat and cucumber meme / jokes? It’s not the bleddie cucumber the cat cares about. They are very eloquent when saying - what is THAT?! It doesn’t belong here (channeling dowager duchess from Downton Abbey?) They notice immediately if something is new. Or moved from its proper place.

We have a heat and motion detector outside our front door, which clicks the light on. Thomas is straight to the windowsill to see who is trespassing on his patch (if himself and Zoe are, tick, accounted for)


My local nature reserve put up signs saying you can get a £1000 fine if your dog is off the lead and another £1000 if you don’t clear up after them. Sadly it’s never enforced so there’s still people letting their dogs chase the birds and jump in the water. Hardly any dog owners know how badly their pet’s flea treatment can affect water quality.


Jumping in the water for water quality really is quite negligible; and zero if using most of the modern flea and tick solutions; most of which work more internally.

The water quality can have issues with domestic dog feces - for some of the same reason. If you have a lot of domestic dog poo that no one is picking up that is what can cause an actual problem.

As for water quality from antibug stuff - dont get me started on how lawn treatments ruined our cave habitats when homes built and some of the long term termite treatment installed in ground has horrible runnoff. All that is likely what destroyed the shelta cave crayfish and shrimp populations which are endangered and one endemic to that site only. Its about high quantity, and duration over time leaching that does your damage.

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It’s only really a problem for a few days after application but the usual flea treatments used in the UK contain banned pesticides that are terrible for aquatic insects. Testing has shown the stuff to be present in most water courses now and people let their dogs swim to cool off at our nature reserve in the summer when the water flow through the ponds is reduced and insect levels are highest.

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We rarely use or see people use topical products here anymore (edit: well at least the ones who would take their dog places; in the country with roaming dogs farm life type that never leave those tend to stick to bare minimum cheap old style stuff/ yes this is broad general lumping). They dont work near as well as systemic ones. But here ticks are an issue and none that topical typical stuff is effective. We also deal with heartworm so thats another tab or injectable preventative treatment. However this can all shed in feces which is why here feces pick up is the major issue. Especially the heartworm preventative treatment tends to.

As an aside there are biodegradable poo bags which i recommend :) they are not plastic! So you dont have to feel bad about using more plastic to pick up something degradable.

All the waste here gets incinerated in the waste to energy plant so I use bags made of degradable plastic. I used the compostable starch ones for years but the price is now too high to justify not using plastic when it just gets burned anyway. The ones I use now are made with sea shell waste to reduce the amount of plastic and they’re about half the price of compostable bags.


brown, fluffy, and adorable

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Honestly tbf I often just reuse grocery bags - unlike there, here bags are thin and break easily (and free) - but really if you reuse them they are better than paper bags net effects! So…I often save myself the cash of buying poo bags…and use the grocery bags. xD

“Something cooler”:

  • guinea pigs (2)
  • rabbits (4)
  • chickens (like 30, useful for recording under iNatted lice)
  • tortoises (2)

I always used the botanical with mine. It really did work.

My quick Google search tells me that the dog was domesticated 15,000 years ago, and the first known use of leash law was 1966, that is, less than 100 years ago. So the question is, have dogs in the last 100 years changed to become more problematic, or have human environments in the last 100 years changed to become hostile to dogs? That’s a rhetorical question.

Every dog training blog I’ve come across reads like it was written by a control freak.