Moving into a new neighborhood can be an exciting occasion, full of opportunities to meet the neighbors and make new friends.
But first impressions are incredibly important among those same people, stressed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor mydoghatesyou917 felt the need to remind her new neighborhood that it’s not polite to grab at someone else’s dog, especially when they’ve been told not to.
But when she was then criticized for having an unnecessarily aggressive dog, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure how to proceed.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for ‘threatening’ my new neighbors with my dog?”
The OP had just moved into a new home.
“I (28 Female) just moved from my city to my first house in a suburban neighborhood about six months ago.”
“Just me and my dog Oaken, a Dutch Shepherd. My dog is trained as a Personal Protection Dog (PPD).”
“I’m a runner and Oaken runs with me. We were running in our neighborhood’s park and pond area, I had my AirPods in, it was just getting dark.”
A guy tried to stop her on one of her first runs through the park.
“I’d noticed in passing a guy on his bike on the same trails, and as we were coming around the pond he was stopped on our path.”
“He waved us down and said he had dropped his keys, asked if I had seen them on the path, asked if I had a light on me because he thinks he dropped them in the grass, wanted to know if I lived in the neighborhood, which house was mine, if I was nearby because he didn’t see any cars in the parking area that he didn’t recognize, basically anything to keep us there and keep talking.”
“Not scary, but annoying with a definite hint of creepy.”
“After he forgot his initial story and said, ‘I’m gonna be so p**sed at myself if I lost another earbud, that’s my third pair and they’re nearly 300 bucks a pop,’ I moved to leave and he stood in the path and started asking about Oaken.”
“Oaken wasn’t doing anything aggressive at this point, no hair raised no growling or barking, he was doing exactly what he was trained to do and every time the guy would move to get closer to us he would just stand between me and him.”
“The guy asked if he was friendly, asked to pet him, and I said I’d rather he not. He kept saying dogs loved him, blah blah, I again said no and we started to walk around the guy to go.”
“That’s when he decided it would be a good idea to try to grab Oaken’s leash. (I have no idea why, your guess is as good as mine.)”
“Oaken backed us up, low growl, showed his teeth. Didn’t snap, didn’t bite. We left.”
The OP posted about the incident on the Neighborhood app.
“The encounter was strange enough I posted in the Neighborhood app.”
“Nothing accusing the guy of attacking us or anything over the top like that, just that my dog and I had gotten stopped by a stranger out running and a reminder not to grab at a person’s dog or dog leash without permission.”
The guy’s wife tried to make trouble.
“Apparently, Park Guy’s wife read the post and recognized her husband immediately, because since then she’s been telling every neighbor who will listen about my ‘aggressive attack dog.'”
“I’ve now gotten a letter from the HOA and apparently the next homeowner’s meeting has breed-specific bans on the agenda.”
“While I believe Oaken’s response was appropriate and controlled, I’m feeling sad and disappointed that my new community has the wrong impression. I’m not out to terrify people.”
“AITA for posting what I posted to the Neighborhood app and apparently starting a feud with my new neighbor?”
“Was I wrong for calling out Park Guy publicly?”
The OP clarified a few points about her new home after getting questions in the comments.
“Yes, I have a home security system and cameras. The previous homeowners had a couple of collectible cars in the detached garage/apartment and put in an extensive system.”
“Park Guy’s questions about where I lived, etc. didn’t immediately set off crazy red flags because I’ve been asked very similar questions by multiple women multiple times in the neighborhood too.”
“I’m getting the impression I’m the youngest person in the area by a good 20 or more years because people have asked me who my parents are, who I’m visiting etc. It seems like the only ‘young people’ hanging around are ones who drive in from other places to get to the park and this neighborhood seems weirdly territorial about their park.”
“I will definitely talk to an officer about a report.”
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 husband needed to be reported, not the dog.
“NTA. Make sure to tell everyone about her ‘aggressive predator husband.'” – Sparkling_Clover
“Remember she chose to out her creepy husband, not you. Without her outing him he could have been a non-resident, but she decided that defending him when she had plausible deniability was the best choice.”
“NTA.” – F**kUGalen
“Not to mention his story of losing his keys changed. Something isn’t right here. If you end up responding, it would be good to mention that.”
“Earbuds. Keys. Totally different items.” – CJsopinion
“Legal definition: ‘Predatory behavior means any conduct evidencing egregious, habitual or continuing attempt to misuse power, authority, position or situation to abuse or exploit others, as well as deliberate attempts to entrap or entice.'”
“You are absolutely right that his behavior was predatory even in trying to keep her there, but especially when he grabbed the leash.”
“OP: please watch out for this guy and stay safe. Don’t be afraid to file a restraining order if he crops up again!” – BeatrixKiddowski
“This story is riddled with red flags right from the beginning:”
“- Men who understand women, safety, and power dynamics do not stop a woman running by herself, especially at dusk, regardless of the reason.”
“- Asked inappropriately detailed information of her, including specifics about where she lives”
“- Literally blocked her from leaving the situation”
“- Changed his story about what he lost”
“- Ignored and pushed against an explicitly stated boundary (not petting the dog)”
“- Grabbed for the dog’s leash. There is absolutely no benign reason for him to have done this. Zero. There is no “benefit of the doubt” explanation that would be sufficient; this is an outright aggressive move”
“This guy is not safe and not a ‘good guy.’ His wife is in denial about what happened here at a bare minimum. You did nothing wrong, OP.” – Einsteinnobeach
Others urged the OP to put protective measures in place for her dog.
“As OP described the encounter, the man was intrusive, creepy, and he obviously lied about the pretext he stopped her for (first it was keys, then it was buds).”
“OP should have been far more suspicious of him (women may have asked the same questions, but a man peppering you with questions at dusk, then obviously changing his story is more creepy and threatening) peppering her with intrusive, personal questions, and frankly should have included that mention in the post if she was going to post a warning about anything.”
“That the dog didn’t alert about him being suspicious may be proper training, but this guy was giving off every indication he was trying to get private information from OP and to get closer to her physically. That’s a sign of a creeper.”
“Chances are he will be cool for a bit, but will be back trying to get too close to women or children in places in that neighborhood that are ‘private.’ As for what to do about HOA, if it gets pushed, take your dog’s training certificates and even offer to bring the dog to show he’s protective, not aggressive.”
“Dutch shepherds aren’t that common (at least in my state), but if the HOA is trying to get ‘breed-specific’ (which is not fair or a good idea), then bring AKC or some other well-known dog organization’s Dutch Shepherd description/breed specs.” – farsical111
“Don’t tell anyone the breed of your dog if you haven’t already. Dutch Shepherds are not a common breed, and most people wouldn’t know it.”
“So let them do their stupid archaic breed ban on German shepherds or even Malinois or something and be like, ‘Sweet, my dog isn’t a GSD, glad I’m unaffected.'”
“Also clearly NTA, super creep alert, f**k that guy.” – albusdumbledoreable
“I would absolutely CYA (cover your a**). He’s already on the aggressive path. He is spreading a counter-narrative, and is trying to go after your dog.”
“Could be that he is just covering his rear, could be he wants revenge for your dog preventing an incident.”
“Playing nice is not a good idea. Talk to a lawyer and get a consult. The lawyer will probably have you file an affidavit. Which in and out of itself will do nothing, but will come in handy if anything happens in the future. Getting a lawyer is an extremely good idea, and delaying could be bad.”
“Get cameras. If he or his wife approaches, start recording and retreat. Don’t let either into your home. Record and log any interactions, screenshot the online posts.”
“Record the HOA meeting. Ask your lawyer to walk you through your statement for the meeting, don’t wing it. If it’s not in writing, it doesn’t exist. And be careful of attempts to poison your dog. I apologize if this sounds like overkill. Had a friend who had a bad experience.” – CSCasper
While the OP was concerned because of the rumors being spread around the neighborhood, the subReddit insisted the OP and her dog were not the guilty party. What happened with the guy was concerning, and grabbing at the leash was anything but acceptable.