Recently, reading through the threads about issues with staffies and the fact that just about everything in rescue these days at least looks like it has some staffy in it made me think about my own feelings towards the breed. I am scared I'll get flamed for making this post, but I guess I was just curious to find out whether other people were also dealing with breed phobias and whether they had been able to do anything about it.
Honestly, I can say that I am petrified of staffies and staffy crosses if I have Sammy with me. I go to the off-lead dog park a couple of times a week but only if there are no staffies there. If one arrives, I grab Sammy and leave. I absolutely hate it when I see people walking down the street with one staffy or worse, multiple staffies and they let their dogs pull them over towards Sammy and these days I have started telling them that Sammy is not friendly towards other dogs to try and make them pull their dogs away.
I wasn't always this way, I still think that the amstaff is a beautiful dog and I love watching youtube videos about people who have trained their dogs to do amazing things which you could only do with that breed. But Sammy has only ever been attacked by one type of dog and every time there's a male staffy, I don't know whether it's because Sammy is a big dog, because he holds his tail high, because he's entire, because he looks like he'd be a good fun fight or what but they always seem to attack him. And I find that once they make that decision to attack him, they don't want to stop.
We went on a bush walk a couple of months ago and in the distance I see a woman with a staffy type dog but it's on a lead so I don't panic. I call Sammy and put him on the lead and prepare to just walk past and ignore the dog. When we're about 5m away from each other, she reaches down and unleashes her dog. It runs straight towards Sammy, adopts a dominant position with hackles and tail up and begins to growl. Sammy looks at me, his ears are back, he's deferring to me because he knows I will take care of him and he doesn't want to fight and he's been hurt by staffies so many times before. But I'm petrified because this dog, whilst much shorter than him, is built like a tank and it's not responding at all to its owner, who hasn't made any move to come closer to collect her dog. I try to knee the dog away, but it ignores me and remains completely fixated on my dog. I have to do something, I take Sammy's lead off and with the help of my partner, we loop it around in a choke collar around the staffy. I tell Sammy to sit, which he does, and my partner drags the staffy away back to its owner. It's choking, but it is desperate to get back to Sammy and is now snarling. All this took place in about 20 seconds.
Now that the danger has passed, I am furious. I ask her why she let her dog off the lead. She responds, oh he's not good with other dogs but usually he's better if he's off lead. She also said that her vet had told her that desexing the dog would eliminate his same sex aggression.
Sammy has a scar and white fur above his left eye where a purebred amstaff (a show dog with papers) nearly removed his eye when he was just over 6 months old. The vet told me that luckily he's a long nosed dog and so the eyes go into the skull when you press down on them. Sammy had run all the way back to my legs to try get away from this dog and it pursued him. He wouldn't run behind me and when he stopped running, the dog attacked. I've watched a man lie on his English staffy to try and stop it from getting back to Sammy, even after Sammy had just walked away. And I'll never forget the one that tried to kill him at 9 weeks of age.
I would never support BSL and I have no problem with staffies when I don't have Sammy with me. But I am petrified of them when he is.
I do feel bad about it, but my mind won't accept that all these attacks have been a coincidence.