Sophie is our 3 year old German Shepherd that suffers from severe anxiety. Her anxiety used to come out as loud barking and can appear threatening. Her vet diagnosed her with fear aggression and the behavior specialist confirmed her breed is abnormally inclined to suffer from it. Although it looked scary it was actually her trying to feel safe.
She is not a bad dog. She had incompetent owners. We didn't train her well early and she grew to be even more fearful of people, especially near our home.
Honestly, we were, and only one side of the story is being told. The pressing problem is she will be put down if the whole story isn't considered.
As her owners we acknowledge we didn't take the necessary actions soon enough. There was an incident where we left our fence open while working near it. She ran out and scared one our neighbors as he was running by our driveway. Thankfully no one was hurt, but he decided to file a petition to classify Sophie as a "Dangerous Animal" because he felt attacked. In his defense he does have small children and I think was considering their safety.
A lot, but it isn't being considered right now.
- Sophie has attended a 4 week intensive behavior therapy school.
- More importantly we went through our own course to become responsible owners and reinforce her new skills.
- We are moving our gate 75 feet back from the road and installing automatic gate controls.
- We are using daily training so Sophie knows how to behave around new people, and she is starting to enjoy it.
- We also attempted to discuss our mistakes and changes with the other party. Unfortunately, he did not respond.
- We have also met many times with Animal Control to discuss the best way to proceed and have followed all their recommendations.
When our neighbor refused to discuss the situation, Leon County made an
initial decision to label Sophie as dangerous. If this ruling stands on appeal Sophie will be put down.
This will be without considering the changes in her behavior, the updates we've made, and even though now during our regular walks in the neighborhood she will let strangers come up, feed her, and then waits patiently by our feet until it is time to go.
You can be her hero:
We are trying to give Sophie a voice and ask the County to meet with her in person, talk with medical and professional experts that have worked with her, and listen to YOU, the rest of our community that sees and interacts with her regularly.
Will you help?