Was I wrong?

Beanie

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#21
I don't exactly think the particulars (dog park or human park where dogs can play off leash) are important. If I had a dog that I was concerned would do real physical damage to another dog, reacting to poor behavior or not, I would not take it to a location where I can reasonably expect other dogs will be off leash. And if I did, I would expect the onus to be on me to control my dog who would like to eat another person's dog... not that everybody else should leash up their dogs because here I am with the fun-sucker so LEASH UP!

Similarly, I wouldn't take my dogs to a park with a large children's playground and then tell people they should come get their kids because my dog might bite a rude child. I can reasonably expect there to be children there, running around and potentially being rude and rowdy... so I wouldn't put my dog in that situation.

I think the serval lady is kind of dumb for putting her animal into a situation that was not appropriate, and the dog lady probably should have just taken her dog off elsewhere to play rather than getting into an argument about it.
 
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#22
Ditto Shai dittoing Linds. lol

Okay, the problem I have with this is when I let my dog off leash in not really nay or yay leash areas, I would not expect to run into someone walking a serval, nor is that normal enough that I feel I should have to expect a wild cat in an area where dogs do go off leash? That would make Feist's eyes pop out of her head. It just seems ridiculous to take your serval to a park where dogs are offleash and expect it to go over well? WAY too much risk to dogs, me, and the cat. It would be lovely if everyone was a responsible owner who only let their dog offleash if they had excellent control over them, but that's not the way things work.
I disagree. Should you not take a dog out to the park for a nice walk because there MIGHT be someone there that lets their dog off-lead when they don't have control over them? Just because someone might ruin things for everyone doesn't mean your dog/cat/whatever shouldn't be able to get out and about.
Yes, it's odd. But, assuming it's legal, it's their right to take their serval out as long as they have it under control.
 

Oko

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#23
Ditto Shai dittoing Linds. lol



I disagree. Should you not take a dog out to the park for a nice walk because there MIGHT be someone there that lets their dog off-lead when they don't have control over them? Just because someone might ruin things for everyone doesn't mean your dog/cat/whatever shouldn't be able to get out and about.
Yes, it's odd. But, assuming it's legal, it's their right to take their serval out as long as they have it under control.
I run into a lot of people with offleash dogs that aren't horribly behaved but let them run ahead/have to recall multiple times. It's not a one off experience, it's more like every time I go to an off leash area, YMMV.
 
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#24
I don't exactly think the particulars (dog park or human park where dogs can play off leash) are important. If I had a dog that I was concerned would do real physical damage to another dog, reacting to poor behavior or not, I would not take it to a location where I can reasonably expect other dogs will be off leash. And if I did, I would expect the onus to be on me to control my dog who would like to eat another person's dog... not that everybody else should leash up their dogs because here I am with the fun-sucker so LEASH UP!

Similarly, I wouldn't take my dogs to a park with a large children's playground and then tell people they should come get their kids because my dog might bite a rude child. I can reasonably expect there to be children there, running around and potentially being rude and rowdy... so I wouldn't put my dog in that situation.

I think the serval lady is kind of dumb for putting her animal into a situation that was not appropriate, and the dog lady probably should have just taken her dog off elsewhere to play rather than getting into an argument about it.
I do think the particulars are important. If this park doesn't say, "Yay! Bring all your dogs here and let them run around loose!" but also doesn't say "NO DOGS OR FUN ALLOWED," I don't think it's necessarily an assumption I'd make that there will be off-lead dogs there. Maybe this person was taking advantage of a non-existent law and it's actually uncommon for people to be there with dogs off-lead. If that's the case, you would really fault this person for taking her cat? Without being there and just going off what was said here, I think she handled it fine. It sounds like she had the cat under control and was keeping to herself, someone with a dog approached, and she took the precaution of warning the person so no accident had the chance to occur.
 

Shai

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#25
I guess I think of it as, there are big parks here where it's not really stated one way or another and people (including me) do bring (some of our) dogs there to walk. Off lead.

And sometimes people ride their horses through because even though it's not exactly a horse park, there are bridle trails on both sides (but off a ways) and people cut across the park or ride from home to one of the trails. But again, not stated.

Now my dogs, and a lot of dogs, are not used to horses. And not all of those horses are used to dogs and I have no doubt that if our dogs ran at some of those horses they would get stomped. So we (all) keep our dogs at a distance if there is any doubt.

Doesn't mean the horse people are irresponsible or that the dog people are irresponsible. We're just all trying to use public space without killing one another and whether you have the animal that would do the killing or the one that would be killed, we humans are supposed to be the brains of the operation so it seems best to avoid or ask (from a distance) if uncertain.
 

JessLough

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#26
As long as it wasn't at a dog park, that serval had as much right to be there as any dog. Quite frankly, just because dogs are ALLOWED off leash, doesn't mean they have the right to be running up to every leashed animal (or every person) that is also there.

Basically, unless it is a dog park, a dog has no more right than any other legal animal.
 
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#28
But Fran, I don't think this is an off leash park. I just think it's a public people park without stringent leash laws (Like the ones you hear about that allow off leash dogs as long as they are under voice control because it's assumed that is the leash. But they aren't dog parks or anything of the sort which is why the under voice control is the key).

If it was a dog park I would totally agree with you. But in public, people parks I think the responsibility lies with the people who choose to let their dog off leash knowing they need to be 100% in control of the dog.

Like, if someone brought a Serval to my dog park I would pretty much have a fit. But if I was at a public park with my dog off leash (assuming it wasn't illegal) and someone brought a Serval I better be able to keep my dog under control and away from them the same way I would have to do if the dog was on a leash.

But, it's hard to tell not knowing what the park is like.
This is pretty much how I feel about it, too. If it's a multi-use park where ONE of the allowed uses is off-leash dogs under the owner's control, then you need to have your dog under voice control. It wouldn't be ok for someone's out of control off-leash dog knock over a toddler or jump on strangers in a multi-use park, would it? I don't think this is really any different.

I do think the particulars are important.
Me, too. If it is a designated off leash dog park, then the serval lady was out of line IMO. But if it is a multi-use park that happens to also allow dogs to be off leash, then I think the onus is on dog owners to have their dogs under voice control or be willing to leash up in certain circumstances if they're not confident their dog will respond.
 

milos_mommy

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#29
I kind of think they're both wrong. First off, I find it hard to believe this person was legally walking the serval. And if it was legal, I'd still dumb to bring a wild, predatory animal to a public park where people legally walk their dogs off leash.


But, you shouldn't be walking your dog off leash if they aren't under voice control. That said, I think it's reasonable for people to walk a dog with a reliable but not bomb-proof recall, and a dog with a good recall to break that for a serval (which, in a Dog's mind, is a giant cat).

They should both rethink their responsibilities as pet owners to keep their animals both safe and from harming other people's pets.
 

Pops2

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#30
I guess I think of it as, there are big parks here where it's not really stated one way or another and people (including me) do bring (some of our) dogs there to walk. Off lead.

And sometimes people ride their horses through because even though it's not exactly a horse park, there are bridle trails on both sides (but off a ways) and people cut across the park or ride from home to one of the trails. But again, not stated.

Now my dogs, and a lot of dogs, are not used to horses. And not all of those horses are used to dogs and I have no doubt that if our dogs ran at some of those horses they would get stomped. So we (all) keep our dogs at a distance if there is any doubt.

Doesn't mean the horse people are irresponsible or that the dog people are irresponsible. We're just all trying to use public space without killing one another and whether you have the animal that would do the killing or the one that would be killed, we humans are supposed to be the brains of the operation so it seems best to avoid or ask (from a distance) if uncertain.
this is pretty much how i was thinking
 

Pops2

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#31
as for walking a serval being legal, the federal requirement on exotics is SUPPOSED to be that they be kept for an educational purpose to include exhibition. most people fail to meet that requirement. but if this person is trying to follow through on that requirement, this may be one way they prepare (socialize) the cat for public education exhibitions.
 

Fran101

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#32
I would honestly hate to run into this situation, at ANY park.

I consider Merlin's recall pretty good, I trust him at off-leash parks to come back from other dogs, horses, squirrels, toys, food, kids...things we are used to seeing and have trained for.

Big cat on a leash? not happening.

I'm not saying either side is at fault...I'm just saying, if I had a serval, I wouldn't risk it. Not many dogs are prepared for that situation.
 

crazedACD

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#33
I think it all depends on if this was an 'Off leash dog park' or a people park where under voice control dogs are allowed off leash.
Yeah, this. There is a park I frequent that has 'dog under voice control' rules. I take it as if I'm walking my dog on leash, an off leash dog runs up to us, my dog hurts that dog... I am NOT liable. If their dog hurts mine, they ARE liable.

But, I am aware that not everyone has a perfect recall. If I had a dog (or, serval...) that I knew was severely dog aggressive, that was out to kill another dog under most circumstances, I would muzzle the dog (or serval) out on a walk/hike like that. I might not muzzle walking down the street, but on a hike..yeah. I guess it wouldn't be legally required for me to do so, but I would assume that responsibility to keep others safe.
 
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#34
I don't know... I used to have a retired racing greyhound and even out on walks where she was on leash and other dogs were on leash, if someone had little dogs I would warn them not to let their dogs approach/greet her because it wasn't safe. And it really wasn't. But it never would have occurred to me to muzzle her on a walk.
 

Southpaw

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#35
My brain is still trying to process that this conversation is, indeed, actually happening. "Oh hey, just out walking my serval today...." :rofl1:

Without getting into the specifics of the legalities of walking a serval in the first place, my initial reaction is that off-leash dog lady is in the "wrong". Just like I could walk a dog-aggressive dog through a park, and it would be polite of me to warn you that my dog will eat yours if it comes close.... basically.
 

GipsyQueen

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#36
I would honestly hate to run into this situation, at ANY park.

I consider Merlin's recall pretty good, I trust him at off-leash parks to come back from other dogs, horses, squirrels, toys, food, kids...things we are used to seeing and have trained for.

Big cat on a leash? not happening.

I'm not saying either side is at fault...I'm just saying, if I had a serval, I wouldn't risk it. Not many dogs are prepared for that situation.
This. Zora has a solid recall. She doesn't run up to dogs, she doesn't chase deer - I can call her off fox poop (this is indeed a big issue. :p) but that is because we've practised these situations. She DOES like to chase the cats out of our yard and we don't stop her... because we don't want them there. So big cat on a leash in a park (not something I would expect going into a park btw. because BIG CAT ON A LEASH!) not a chance. Zoras eyes would POP and she would because in heaven because big chasable cat.

So while everyone has the right to walk their animal, I think cat lady shouldn't put her cat in a bad situation. If she knows theres a park with no leash laws and there is a great chance that there will be off-leash dog and she KNOWS her cat will have a problem, she shouldn't go there. Just like someone with a a dog reactive dog on a leash shouldn't go there. Yes, people should have their dogs under control, BUT there will always be irresponsible people. Always. So why put myself, and my dog/cat in such a situation?
Of course there is always a chance that some idiot has their not under control dog off-leash in an on-leash area, but there is much less of a risk.

And honestly? If I have a big exotic cat on a leash, I'm going to have to expect there be some curiosity not just from other dogs, but from adults and children alike.
 

*blackrose

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#37
I wonder if the cat itself was friendly, but would retaliate if threatened. For example, I don't know *how* many times my dogs would be approached by off leash dogs with their owner yelling, "They're friendly!" and I woud have to say, "Mine are NOT and will eat yours!" A social dog approaching would trigger growls and posturing from mine, but if another dog approached in a threatening manner, even if it was "friendly", my dogs wouldn't hesitate to go on the offensive. And it always really peeved me off when I would have other people let their loose or leashed dogs approach mine (who were under control and ignoring said dog) under the implication that THEIR dog was friendly. It's so ingrained in me, that even though I currently have social animals, I make sure they don't go near ANY dog in public unless I have a specific request that it is okay, because I don't want to be that person whose "friendly dog" ruins the day of someone with their leashed DR dog. Michael let Cynder approach a dog sitting with his owner on a bench one day and I just about had a fit. LOL

The Serval could have been the sweetest cat in the world and Dog Lady's loose dog could have been socially rude, which prompted Serval Lady to say something to get the Dog Lady to actually grab her dog, not just spout out that he's friendly.

I mean, yes, it is a large cat instead of a dog, which will cause other dogs to react differentally than if it were a common animal...but still. I don't think Dog Lady was correct. I also don't think that Serval Lady should walk her cat in an off leash park, if dogs being off lead are a common occurance. I never would have taken Blackie or Rose to the hiking trails on campus because they have an unspoken off leash rule. I had no issues taking them to a state park, however, because their was a leash law and 9/10 dogs followed it, and we had minimal issues.

ETA: I just woke up and I don't think I'm making sense. LOL
Two basic points: 1.) Serval could have been friendly, just defending itself from an idiot dog. Aka, if an off leash Pom approach an on leash 180lb dog that didn't like said nosey, posturing Pom, I imagine a similar warning would have been stated. And that doesn't mean the dog shouldn't be in public. 2.) If Serval Lady knows that her pet has issues with off lead dogs, then Serval Lady needs to not walk her cat where there is a high chance of off leash dogs.
 

Ozfozz

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#38
I don't think there's much more I can say that hasn't already been said.

Legalities aside - if I have my dog's off leash somewhere and I see someone with an on-leash pet approaching, I call my dogs back and ensure that they don't cause any distraction/issues for the other pet and owner.

Unless it was specifically designated as a leash-free dog park, I don't see too much issue with the woman walking the serval. In this situation I am taking it to mean it wasn't that kind of park. Just because there's no ordinance dictating whether or not the dog has to be leashed does NOT give the owner the right to allow the dog to approach and harass anyone who comes within the vicinity.

And really, I think the fact that she gave warning that the dog should not approach was great.
 

GoingNowhere

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#39
Provided both people were acting in accordance of the laws, I honestly don't think that I could blame either. Provided that the sequence of events happened as I imagine it to have happened, the only exception that I'd need to think on is the fact that the cat woman was walking a wild animal on a leash. How that changes the scenario, I'm not sure, but something in me tells me that it does. That aside, here's my thought process.

With regard to the cat lady

I think it's bizarre to own a serval (not to mention possibly morally wrong - I'd need to do research), but that aside, it sounds as though the cat was accustomed to walking in public on a leash and as if the owner was taking the primary precautions (namely, keeping it on a leash) of walking a potentially aggressive animal without a reliable recall. I would expect no more of an owner walking a DA (or cat aggressive) dog. A muzzle might be ideal, but to me a leash is the primary tool necessary to ensure that the animal is under control (provided that the animal can be physically overpowered if need be). Walking a tiger through the local park? - a much bigger problem because you can't physically restrain a tiger by yourself. It sounds as though a serval is small enough to be restrained solely via a leash.

With regard to the dog lady

I tend to think that a dog with a reliable recall is a dog that has shown itself to be reliable in those scenarios which are likely to present themselves. For example, just because you have not tested your dog's recall in a situation in which a dozen nuns in full garb each carrying a squirrel parade across your dog's path, doesn't mean that your dog cannot be considered to have a reliable recall. A serval on a leash is hardly a "likely" scenario. Dogs are living beings capable of thinking for themselves. Therefore, I cannot blame the owner if her dog decides to break its pattern of being "reliable" when an extreme novel situation presents itself. Before the situation ensued, provided that the dog did have what was thought to be a reliable recall, I cannot blame the dog owner for legally letting her dog off leash.


Once the situation occurred, I think that it was handled in an emotionally charged way, but I still don't think that either party was in the wrong. The cat lady yelled at the dog lady, the dog lady grabbed her dog. Nobody was harmed.
 

Romy

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#40
I think a lot of people's responses are being colored by a lack of experience/education with servals.

Servals are not giant. They're maybe cocker spaniel sized. They're also very non aggressive, by that I mean non confrontational. They're not going to posture and hiss and swipe at passing animals and try to instigate problems.

They're also incredibly social with people. They are much, much more dog-like than a domestic house cat. They LOVE going on leash walks, love swimming, water retrieves, playing fetch in general, etc.

And like any other animal, they are inclined to escape or defend themselves when attacked by another animal. Since a leashed animal has no means of escape, they are forced to defend. This is true of dogs and cats.

If anybody takes their dog off leash to any public area, they are risking that pretty much anything can happen. Great recall or not, YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN.

Is your dog proofed against horses? Squirrels? Wild bobcats? Coyotes? Ferrets on leashes? Cars under any and all circumstances? Children running in circles with hot dogs in their hands? Kites crashing on top of them?

Since I have sight hounds there's an added risk off leash in public, so I never take them off leash.

Owners of other breeds need to realize those risks extend to all breeds. In a public place you can never ever guarantee what your dog will encounter in their environment or whether they will be safe, or how they will react to things even if it's something you've proofed for. In the end it's the owner's responsibility to weigh the risks vs. benefits and make a decision, but I fully believe that once you unsnap that leash the outcome is 100% your responsibility.
 

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