People who are passionate about dogs understand that each breed is different, from agility to behavior to temperament. It would stand to reason that their needs would vary, as well.
But some people still shy away from the use of a muzzle or harness, no matter the reason, admitted the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Boring-Exit9303 discovered just how intensely some people dislike these devices, leading them to want to press charges.
But when they were criticized for wanting to legally retaliate, the Original Poster (OP) wondered if they were taking the situation too far.
They asked the sub:
“AITA for [pressing charges against] a girl who stole my dog because she thought I was mistreating him?”
The OP trained his dog with a muzzle.
“My dog, Maximo Tiberio, is a rescue dog. He has a lot of aggression problems.”
“As a result, his vet recommended training him with a muzzle.”
“The muzzle that my dog wears is totally comfortable for him, it doesn’t hurt him or anything. So far we have had very good results.”
“I take my dog to a dog park every Monday, along with my 11-year-old daughter.”
The OP recently ran into trouble at the dog park.
“I took my dog to the dog park like I normally do, and he was wearing the muzzle. I kept an eye on him, checking for signs of trouble.”
“Suddenly, I heard a girl cry, and my daughter was out of my field of vision, so I got worried.”
“I tied Maximo up in an area specifically designated for that purpose, and I moved no more than 15m away from him to search for my daughter.”
“I found her (it was not her who was crying), and when I returned for Maximo, I saw this girl running towards him.”
“She took him in her arms and ran back to her car.”
“Max was visibly stressed but because of the muzzle, he couldn’t do anything.”
“The park was almost empty, so there was no one around her to stop her and I couldn’t reach her, but I took a picture of her from her license plate.”
“I went to the police station, and there, they identified the owner of the car and sent a patrol to look for my dog.”
The OP confronted the girl.
“A day later, the police returned with the girl and Maximo, who was in a deplorable state, very nervous and anxious.”
“There, the girl explained to me that she took Maximo because she thinks I am abusing him and that she watches every Monday how he uses a muzzle against his will.”
“Regardless of her reasoning, no matter how noble she is, I decided that I would [press charges against] her anyway. The stress I felt, along with the state Maximo returned, is reason enough to [press charges].”
Not everyone agreed with the OP.
“My sister has another opinion. She says that I am being a horrible person for suing someone that thought she was doing the right thing. That the girl took a risk to save a dog that she believed he was being abused, and that’s admirable.”
“Some of my friends agree with her.”
“I still want to sue her, but I would like another perspective to see if I am in the wrong.”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some said the OP was absolutely in the right to press charges.
“She left with just Maximo Tiberio, so clearly she was not at the dog park with her own dog. It really seems like she was watching the park every week to take a dog at the flimsiest excuse. This is wrong.”
“NTA. I would press charges, especially given that your dog was not in good shape when he was returned.” – GrizeldaLovesCats
“Not to mention, if she’s there every week, she could have at any point went over and TALKED to OP to actually at least TRY to sus out the situation. Not saying that would have made things better, but at least it would have been an attempt to find out if she was even right about her concerns.” – Imdelint
“Charge that woman, if she wants to help animals she should volunteer with shelters or rescue programs. There is a reason vigilantism is frowned upon, this is a prime example.” – Chaserbaser
“NTA. There are plenty of dogs out there in need of a loving home – yours isn’t one of them. No matter how well-intentioned her reasoning was, she tried to steal your dog. If I were you I would pursue criminal charges if possible.”
“Epic dog name, BTW.” – hailbeavis
Others agreed and were grateful the dog didn’t get injured.
“I’m just imagining how easy it would have been for her or Maximo or both to get badly hurt. Scaring a dog with aggression issues is a nightmare of mine, and kudos to the OP for working with both dog and vet to find a safe way to help him!” – Stormdanc3
“I imagined her taking off his muzzle in her car and him going ape s**t. Still not OP’s fault or the poor dog.”
“NTA, she stole your dog, dude.” – FishingWorth3068
Some were also concerned about the girl’s view of muzzles.
“A dog that is rehomed (even when done properly) would be anxious for the first weeks/months. So IMO (in my opinion), the dog being in a bad shape is normal.”
‘But someone thinking using a muzzle is abuse, is not a good fit for a dog owner.”
“You should use muzzles if your dog can get aggressive, and it is an excellent idea to use it when your dog is easily scared or doesn’t like being approached by strangers (dog and human), as 50% of the humans don’t (want to) understand, Stay away from my dog,’ but suddenly do when he is wearing a muzzle.”
“NTA. Press charges. That person was either stealing your dog and used an excuse to cover it up, or will be harming dogs by ‘helping’ them. What she did will probably set your dog back a few steps in his training.” – trichocarpa
“Having worked at a vet clinic, there are people who absolutely think you’re being cruel and abusive to their dog when you put a muzzle on. They’re wrong, of course, but she could legitimately have felt the dog was being abused. But that means you contact animal control, you don’t steal someone’s dog. What if the dog needs diabetes medication or something along those lines?” – MyFaceSaysItsSugar
The OP may have felt some guilt at the thought of pressing charges against someone, but the subReddit did not think they needed to. Rather, the girl likely did not have the best intentions for the dog, and her approach was completely unethical. Perhaps pressing charges will discourage her from acting so rashly in the future.