When the need for closure is great.
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02-01-2014, 07:33 PM
When the need for closure is great.
In January of 2013, I got mauled by a dog when I was out for a run. My working dogs were with me, but are trained not to react to threats.

It mauled me in the middle of the street completely unprovoked due to the negligence of the owners not fixing their invisible fence and ignoring the increasing aggression problems over the years. Luckily, there was another jogger running toward me that saw the entire thing. She stopped to help me after I got the dog off me.(she provided her eye witness account to the police and their insurance investigator) He had bitten my hand, wrist, breast and bit me on the ass for good measure. Long story short, it tore ligaments in my dominant hand and I was out of work for 6 months. Couldn't type the long reports I usually do.

I also lost another pregnancy because of the attack. It was super early, as I had just peed on the stick that morning of the attack and started bleeding 8 days later.

The owners of the dog were horrible. They victim blamed. The wife's first words to me were to yell at me for my dogs being off leash as if that had anything to do with it. My dogs are service k9s and are exempt from leash laws. I filed a dangerous dog complaint and she flipped. They didn't ask me how I was, they didn't know I was pregnant or that I had to have surgery to fix the wrist.

I sued them to cover the Lost wages and out of pocket medical expenses and eventually settled with their insurance for the majority of their liability policy limits.

They kept their dog (but built a fence they repeatedly leave open), and also got a GS puppy, that is now showing signs of aggression by hurling itself at the fence in attempts to get at me.

Don't worry - I now run with my firearm.

I'm angry. I'm so very angry. Because I settled, I didn't get my day in court to look at them and tell them what they did and what it cost me.

So I wrote them a letter instead. It doesn't threaten, or otherwise insult. It just says that I don't want to fight with them anymore, that we must coexist in the neighborhood, that their behavior is unacceptable and that this is what they cost me, emotionally, physically and financially. Then I also include photos of the unlatched gate, and inform them in writing that their other dog is showing signs of aggression. I would need this if anything ever happens again to me or another community resident.

To send (certified of course) or not to send? I am not sure I can move on without having my say. I don't need them to apologize, or even acknowledge it. It provably won't even make them feel badly. It's not for them. It's for me to say what I need to say and tell them what they did is not ok.

Thoughts?

A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day - Bill Watterson
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02-01-2014, 07:41 PM
RE: When the need for closure is great.
If you feel the need to send the letter, send it.

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02-01-2014, 08:03 PM
RE: When the need for closure is great.
After all that, a non threatening letter of information to them would be fine. That way, it could possibly help them understand and if it doesn't you know you've said what you needed to. Keep a copy for your records should anything happen again.

Sorry you went through all that, wow! What a preventable ordeal. I hope things smooth out now. My parents had a horrible situation with their neighbour's dogs attacking as well. Now the neighbours must keep the dogs confined or leashed at all times, and they had to get rid of (not euthanize) one of their aggressive ones. I'm not sure what the laws are where you are, but keep a close eye and document anything you see.
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02-01-2014, 08:09 PM
RE: When the need for closure is great.
You may want to get some legal advice before sending that.

If you settled, it's settled. The last thing you want is them to turn around an claim harassment. They may well have legal grounds to do so.

I'm not anti-social. I'm pro-solitude. Sleepy
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02-01-2014, 08:38 PM
RE: When the need for closure is great.
I did consult an attorney. As long as I don't publish the letter it's not libel or slander, and as long as I don't threaten or send multiple letters it's not harassment.

A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day - Bill Watterson
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02-01-2014, 08:50 PM
RE: When the need for closure is great.
I'm sorry for your troubles and I don't blame you a bit for wanting to take some personal power back. You want them to know you've suffered because of their negligence.. If it helps by all means write the letter, maybe ask someone impartial read it, to be sure it doesn't cross unintentional lines and then wait before sending.

Later if you still feel the same (sometimes the act of going through the other motions is enough), by all means send it. But also, be clear with yourself about your own expectations -- preferably before mailing it.

Again Hug and you can always vent here.


God is a concept by which we measure our pain -- John Lennon

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02-01-2014, 09:12 PM
RE: When the need for closure is great.
Send it, too many times bad things happen because good people keep quiet. Let them be offended, let them scream and complain, but they are in the wrong and they caused damage for it. Make them feel the guilt they have

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02-01-2014, 09:32 PM (This post was last modified: 02-01-2014 09:35 PM by The Germans are coming.)
RE: When the need for closure is great.
You certainly have more guts than I have. I was viciously abused as a child by various people in my surroundings. At the age of 12-13 I was almoust castrated by a group of classmates who had tied me to a chair and repeatedly kept beating me between the legs with their feet and objects. At the age of 14 I was almoust murdered by the same people during gymclass. Throughout my childhood I had to live with beatings and humiliations by my family and their friends and with an enormous amount of vicious bullying that was made worse by the fact that teacher, parents and people of authority ignored my situation up to the point at which I was almoust murdered.

I suffer from nightmares, even though they have become less in recent years. And I have a weird agression and depression problem. The phases of depression or agression come very sudden and unexpected, I can go from normal to savagly angry or utterly sad within seconds.

Yet I could never forgive the people who shoved me into this situation. I managed to somewhat forgive my parents because they came to me and wanted to appologise but still feel uncomfortable near them. The other abusers I cant forgive, and I also cannot forgive the neglegence of some who could have helped me but didnt. One of the main reasons why I left my country and moved to Germany was because living in that community surrounded by these people who caused my suffering drove me mad.

I hope you will be spared of that expirience.

Some people want to appologise, but I simply am to angry to in anyway forgive and dont want to help them out of feeling guilty. And some people are just savage sociopaths who ignore the suffering they cause or even take pleasure out of what they did. A even after forgiving someone, there will never be trust. You will always be suspicious of them and at occasions even hatefull.

Maybe I shouldt adress this post towards you since these are my expiriences.

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02-01-2014, 10:17 PM
RE: When the need for closure is great.
Wow! So much to take in here.

I really don't know what to say (to the OP and Germans) so please forgive me for ignoring the emotional / psychological side to this and offering only practical advice...

From a strategic perspective, you have to decide what you want.

If it is simply about closure, i.e. you getting to have your say, then writing the letter might be all the catharsis you need. You've got it out even if there is no audience.

Receiving the letter would be like receiving an Audit Report. These are usually received defensively ... no one likes being audited even if one knows deep down it's for one's own benefit.

The next step after Audit needs to be the Business Case.
A Business Case will usually receive a mixed reaction unless it is sold well... no one likes to change but if the benefits (the returns on investment) are clear, it will be accepted and even embraced.

I recommend that you write the letter as a Business Case (costs, benefits, risks, risk mitigation, timeline, ownership etc.) and use the Audit (what happened to you) as the background.

In other words, sell the benefits of change - tangible (no further damages if the incident repeats) and intangible (improved relationships with neighbours).

Avoid the words 'but' and 'however' e.g. "this happened and a way of improving... etc." is received more positively than "this happened but a way of improving... etc."

Before you send it, turn your empathy-dial up to 11 and have someone read it to you as though you had received it.

Just my 2-penny worth. I hope it works out.

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02-01-2014, 11:11 PM
RE: When the need for closure is great.
What Anjele said. Don't send it without legal advise. You've already had legal dealings with these people, so they may very well use anything you send to them against you.

If you must send it, make no comment other than the safety concern about the unlatched fence and aggressive behavior that concerns you. I wouldn't comment on anything that might relate to any events that led to the first lawsuit.

Do you expect these people to even read a letter you send them? If your goal is to get them to change their behavior and do something about their new dog, you will probably get more action from them if the letter arrives on your lawyers' letterhead.

You have every right to be concerned and take action about that concern. I would have to think that your local police or animal control should be able to address concerns like this as well.
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