Bicycle Riding and Stray Dogs

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Photos by MJ Klein

By now, everyone knows that I have a new recumbent trike.  But I’m no stranger to bicycle riding.  I’ve had a Giant brand MTB for five years and I’ve enjoyed bicycle riding since I was a kid.  But in Taiwan, there is a huge problem with stray dogs and the fact that you cannot go anywhere on the island and escape from them.  While not wanting to deal with the issue of strays itself (I’ll do that in another article) I would like to open a discussion on bicycle riding in Taiwan, and dealing with stray dogs that want to chase, bite or otherwise harm riders.

Stray Dogs

This is a sight that I hate to see on the street – a stray dog.  Undisciplined, wild and unpredictable, this dog is more than likely going to chase and attempt to bite, cyclists.

Asian Trike PR0N

This is my recumbent trike.  One of the main features of the trike it’s low height.  The low height is excellent for aerodynamics but it also makes a trike rider more vulnerable to dog attacks.  When I ride my trike, I basically ride in fear of dog attack and I am constantly on the lookout for strays (or even owned dogs) that roam the streets.  Often, it’s very difficult to just relax and enjoy the ride.

Thai Mountain Bike

This is my Merida MTB that I own and keep in Thailand at my base of operations there.  Although it’s much higher than the trike, one’s legs and feet are always vulnerable to dog attacks.  The stray dog situation is similar in Thailand and my personal opinion is that Taiwan is too sophisticated and modern to have such a huge problem with stray dogs as does Thailand.  But as I said, I will address those issues in a later article on the subject.

On the Bent Rider Online forum, I opened a discussion on the effectiveness of the Air Zound air horn on repeling dogs on the attack.  Several riders responded saying that the AZ horn repelled every single dog.  Recumbent rider Jim has increased his AZ horn air capacity and he talks about using it to repel dogs also.

Asian Trike PR0N

Notice the flag on my trike.  There is another white Fiberglas whip to the right of it.  That is part of a 2-piece flagpole.  The flag is too high using both pieces so I use the single-piece flagpole on the left, and keep the lower part of the whip handy in case I need it for something.  On the very second day that I rode my new trike, 4 stray dogs came after me in a pack and I had to beat them off using that whip. I practice dismounting and re-mounting that whip so I can do it quickly and safely.  If I see a dog coming at me, I can have the whip in my hand in about one second.

Stray Dogs

This is what I hate the most – multiple street dogs hanging in a pack.  By the way, these dogs here were photographed in Tainan, and are part of a pack that is suspected to have killed and eaten an elderly woman, according to my friend in Tainan who warned me that I was in danger by simply photographing these dogs.  The dog closest to me in this photograph was growling aggressively.

So, readers who are bicycle riders:

  1. Do you ride in areas that have stray dogs?
  2. Do the stray dogs pay attention to you?
  3. Do the stray dogs chase you?
  4. Do you feel the dogs chasing you are simply bored, or out to harm you?
  5. How often are you chased?
  6. How do you fend off an attacking dog?
  7. Has the presence of stray dogs affected your outlook on recreational cycling?
  8. Do you vary your preferred route to avoid dogs?
  9. Have you personally been bitten by a stray dog?
  10. What advice would you give cyclists on this subject?

When I was eight years old, I was attacked by a dog that hid under a car in our neighbor’s driveway.  The neighborhood kids were in a big game of “Hide and Seek” and that car was the “base.”  I successfully eluded the person who was “it” and searching for us.  I made it back to base and a few seconds after touching the car, I felt the dog clamp down on my right leg – totally without warning.  Needless to say, it scared the hell out of me.  I went home and my mother called the police.  The dog bite had drawn blood and the police took the dog away and had it destroyed.

To this day I want all dangerously aggressive dogs to meet the same fate.

Please note that a dog being aggressive in the defense of it’s home and family against a bad guy is a different situation.

I invite you to give us your comments, suggestions and personal experiences.

Thanks for reading!

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55 comments

  1. 1. Do you ride in areas that have stray dogs? Could I do otherwise? 😉
    2. Do the stray dogs pay attention to you? Very rarely.
    3. Do the stray dogs chase you? Even more rarely. The dogs are in general frightened of close contact with people, and while the bicycle tends to make you more prey-like, I’ve only been chased by one dog.
    4. Do you feel the dogs chasing you are simply bored, or out to harm you? Mostly bored, sometimes mildly territorial (chasing me away from their storefront)
    5. How often are you chased? Maybe 2-3 times ever.
    6. How do you fend off an attacking dog? I bark at them aggressively. It tends to work.
    7. Has the presence of stray dogs affected your outlook on recreational cycling? not at all.
    8. Do you vary your preferred route to avoid dogs? Once.
    9. Have you personally been bitten by a stray dog? Never.
    10. What advice would you give cyclists on this subject? Think like a dog.

    A-gus last blog post..Saying "yes" to Racism?

      1. MJ, Sorry to post here but in the comment box below will not load for me.

        As you stated stray dogs are also a big problem here in Thailand. Stray dogs are found in virtually every place you go. The governments do not do anything about this and turn a blind eye to the problem.

        What is needed here is a round up, but this won’t happen as Thais are too compassionate.

        1. Do you ride in areas that have stray dogs? There isn’t a place in Thailand that doesn’t have stray dogs.
        2. Do the stray dogs pay attention to you? Only a few do.
        3. Do the stray dogs chase you? I have had to stop maybe 3 times to really threaten a dog.
        4. Do you feel the dogs chasing you are simply bored, or out to harm you? I think bored and stupid as they have been neglected by idiot owners who abandoned them.
        5. How often are you chased? Hardly ever.
        6. How do you fend off an attacking dog? By threat, usually screaming or pretending to throw something.
        7. Has the presence of stray dogs affected your outlook on recreational cycling? No.
        8. Do you vary your preferred route to avoid dogs? No as there are dogs everywhere.
        9. Have you personally been bitten by a stray dog? Never in Thailand, but twice in Australia but these weren’t strays.
        10. What advice would you give cyclists on this subject? Keep cycling. Keep a look out and maybe try and cycle in groups.

        Bruntys last blog post..Isaan Village Temple and Bath, Thailand.

        1. Brunty, i don’t envy you living in Thailand and trying to ride. in the Khonkaen area, i’ve been chased dozens of times, sometimes by small packs of dogs. i made a water bottle treat for them with hot Thai peppers. that seemed to work. the problem is deplorable and IMO, embarrassing for the country.

      2. I can’t seem to comment without “Replying to Comment”. This isn’t meant to reply to any one comment.

        Basically, I’ve found that most stray dogs in Taiwan that I’ve encountered are abandoned housepets, but then I live right in Taipei City. The strays I’ve come across are all friendly, if a bit sad and forlorn, and usually either want you to take them home or give them food. It makes me sad, actually. (Our cat is a rescued stray, as well, but stray cats don’t pose the same threats that stray dogs do). One big fluffy white stray – clearly a stray, it was starving and dirty – looked at me and whimpered with such sadness that it actually made me cry. No joke. I fed her something from Hi-Life. I’d take one in if I could.

        Anyway, your questions, because I do ride a bike in Taipei:

        Do you ride in areas that have stray dogs? – Not really. I usually ride between Jingmei, Wanlong, Gongguan, Shida, CKS, Keelung Road, Renai Road, Dunhua Road, Xinyi, occasionally Ximen areas.
        Do the stray dogs pay attention to you? – Only the friendly ones, it seems.
        Do the stray dogs chase you? – No.
        Do you feel the dogs chasing you are simply bored, or out to harm you? – Dunno.
        How often are you chased? – It’s only happened once, in Pinglin, not on a bike, by a pack of dogs. I ran.
        How do you fend off an attacking dog? – Never had to.
        Has the presence of stray dogs affected your outlook on recreational cycling? – No, because I rarely come across them.
        Do you vary your preferred route to avoid dogs? – No.
        Have you personally been bitten by a stray dog? – No. I was once bitten by a dog on a leash, very lightly. The dog was punished. Another dog on a leash once peed on my bag as I was talking to his owner. The owner paid for the dry cleaning.
        What advice would you give cyclists on this subject? – Stay in Taipei 🙂
        .-= Jenna´s last blog ..Happy Thanksgiving – Do It True, My Sweetie Pie =-.

        1. hi Jenna. thanks for your input in our discussion. sometimes the comments field doesn’t display properly in Internet Explorer. glad you were able to leave a comment by replying. thanks.

  2. MJ, I have little feedback for you on the questions you ask (I’m not a cyclist these days), but I can tell you that when I was a missionary in central and southern Taiwan back in the late 1980’s, I was often chased by stray dogs while riding my bicycle. I was bit by one on a street in Taichung city. Little guy came out of nowhere and sunk his teeth into my calf muscle, right through my trousers.

    Prior to that, when riding out in the fields in some of the more rural areas, I sometimes had to use my umbrella or a board (if one was handy) to fight off attacking dogs. I never seriously hurt a dog, but I certainly gave a few of them a good wack in the sensitive nose area to get them to stop leaping and biting at me.

    If I walk by a stray dog these days I maintain a solid, confident stride, sometimes speaking in a reassuring, low voice. I’m ready to drop kick any of them that fly at me, but over the past several years of walking by stray dogs, I’ve never been attacked.

    Truett Blacks last blog post..Cultural Differences, Part One: Relationships East and West

    1. i was bit once in Taoyuan by a dog that never barked. he sat on the side and waited until i was right in front of him and then snapped at my leg. i felt his teeth graze my angle but he didn’t get a purchase on it. i immediately stopped and ran after him. of course, the dog was a pussy and ran far inside the scooter shop where he lived. i told the owner that i wanted to kill the dog, and of course that didn’t go over too well.

      i wonder what’s going to happen now that Taiwan has an increasing number of cyclists out on the streets and mountain roads? what Taiwan needs is a strictly enforced lease law. if the dog is running free he’ll be taken off the street. most of the so-called modern nations have accomplished this. i’ve often wondered why such a high-tech country like Taiwan has such a basic and stupid problem like wild street dogs.

      i’ve never been attacked while walking by street dogs but i’ve been growled at by quite a few.

      thanks Truett.

  3. 1. Do you ride in areas that have stray dogs? Yes.
    2. Do the stray dogs pay attention to you? Mostly just walk closer and stare.
    3. Do the stray dogs chase you? Just once.
    4. Do you feel the dogs chasing you are simply bored, or out to harm you? The one time I was chased, yes, I believe it was out to harm me.
    5. How often are you chased? I’ve been cycling here for just shy of a year, and that would be the only incident.
    6. How do you fend off an attacking dog? I yelled at the top of my lungs and peddled faster. Don’t think this would have worked if I was trying to go uphill (unless I turned around).
    7. Has the presence of stray dogs affected your outlook on recreational cycling? The presence of so many stray dogs in Taiwan affect my outlook of Taiwan as a WHOLE, not just recreational cycling.
    8. Do you vary your preferred route to avoid dogs? I don’t when I’m riding by myself, but there is one route I enjoy taking that I won’t bring my wife on because of the number of strays.
    9. Have you personally been bitten by a stray dog? Nope.
    10. What advice would you give cyclists on this subject? Don’t let the fear of strays get in your way of personal fitness goals and enjoying Taiwan’s beautiful countryside. At the same time, have some kind of defense for if a sleepy-looking stray on the corner decides to lunge at you.

    I’ll be purchasing an airhorn in the next week or so. The reason I’ve taken so long to buy one is I haven’t done any cycling outside of my short commute because of an ankle sprain I suffered 2 weeks ago.

    Todds last blog post..Daily Photo – No Sonk

    1. Todd, i never actually thought that readers would cut/paste the questions and answer them, but i’m glad that people are doing that! your experiences sound like you are able to enjoy biking but you have to keep an eye out. let’s hope you can continue to enjoy recreational cycling without become a victim of a dog attack.

  4. I’ve only been chased maybe 2 or 3 times in my life by dogs when riding here on the North Shore (MJ knows the area I’m talking about and he knows how long I’ve been riding).

    In the past when a dog is chasing me… if its going faster then me… I’ll stop peddling and let the dog get close to me. Then I’ll take my foot off the peddle and kick the dog (mouth… head… body… where ever I can). That usually brings an end to any dog chasing me. In fact… there use to be a dog at the end of my street that would chase me when riiding by. After kicking at that dog once… it stopped chasing me whenever I rode by.

    I know… something like this would be a lot harder for you to do when on a recumbent trike. Having the second fiberglass whip is a good thing to use as a weapon to fend off the dogs.

    1. Mike, with your biking history those are great stats. i used to do the “kick it in the face” thing too, but as you pointed out that’s impossible on a recumbent trike. once when i was about 16, i kicked a dog like that, right in front of the owner’s house. he was out in the yard and he got a really strange look of bewilderment on his face when i kicked his little angel right in the snout.

  5. I’m slightly dog-phobic so I’m always more on edge when we go cycling, which is most often along the Shen-Kang bike trail. We go at the weekend so there are lots of people around and that seems to help – dogs don’t seem interested when there are too many potential targets! I’ve never been chased on my bike by a dog but I think it’s only a question of time.

    Along that bike trail there are signs at various points with a list of suggestions for a better biking experience; one of them states that dogs may chase bicyclists and that squirting water from a bottle seems to work quite well. I’d rather have a stick though, or the air horn you suggest. I’m going to get one next time. Thanks for the tip!

    Naruwans last blog post..Naruwan: Just discovered the Adam Carolla podcast. Great stuff. Just listened to the one with Jimmy Kimmel. http://carollaradio.com/

  6. 1. Do you ride in areas that have stray dogs? Yes

    2. Do the stray dogs pay attention to you? Not especially.

    3. Do the stray dogs chase you? Not really, I’m usually going too fast.

    4. Do you feel the dogs chasing you are simply bored, or out to harm you? Bored mostly. Although if I were a dog that’d been dumped ,I’d probably be out to harm people – can’t say I blame the dogs that do that.

    5. How often are you chased? Barked at but only chased once or twice, and then only for 10-20m or so.

    6. How do you fend off an attacking dog? Never had to, but I’ve read on cycling forums that pepper spray works well.

    7. Has the presence of stray dogs affected your outlook on recreational cycling? Like Todd said, Taiwan as a whole. It’ll only be through education that the problem is solved and there is something in the works now that will go a long way to easing the problem.

    8. Do you vary your preferred route to avoid dogs? No.

    9. Have you personally been bitten by a stray dog? No.

    10. What advice would you give cyclists on this subject? While riding, carry pepper spray. A sprayed full water bottle works too, but if you’ve been drinking while you ride you may not have enough water left. In general – donate money to and get involved with Animals Taiwan and the other similar groups in Taiwan. Help out with CNR programs and most of all encourage responsible pet ownership through education programs (not necessarily formal education). An SPCA is in the process of being formed which, once up and running, will do a lot to solve this and other problems. If anyone wants to be involved with this, let me know and I’ll put you in touch with the relevant people. Remember that the problem is caused wholly by irresponsible and/or ignorant people – it’s not the fault of the dogs.

    cfimagess last blog post..Five For Friday – Taroko Gorge

    1. thanks for the participation Craig. while i can appreciate that the animal rights activists want to C&R, i contend that this is not the way to solve the problem. it’s the “R” aspect that i have a problem with. are we supposed to just wait until that last generation of neutered strays dies out? no. i say “catch and destroy.” sure it’s not the dog’s fault, but they are a feral species and don’t really have any business being wild in the streets. lately a lot of effort has been spent on sending stray dogs to the US. IMO, this is another monumental waste of resources. it’s my personal view that as long as there are humans that need assistance, those people come first.

      thanks Craig.

      1. The education part is arguably more important. If strays are caught and killed, without education, people will continue dumping unwanted pets. And those new strays will then need to be caught and killed. CNR (catch, neuter, release) stops the current strays breeding, and education should stop future strays being created (in theory). Microchipping all pet dogs would also help – that way any strays caught in the future can be traced back to their owners who can then be prosecuted. It’s a mix of approaches that needs to be undertaken – no single approach will work.

        cfimagess last blog post..Five For Friday – Taroko Gorge

        1. Craig, except that education doesn’t work. you see, no one teaches morality because of fear of being “judgemental” etc. so no educator will actually teach someone that some course of action is wrong. all they can do is teach both sides of the issue and “hope” for the best. of course it never works out for the best because of the base nature of humankind.

          1. Education does work, and is working in certain areas in Taiwan, spreading all the time. People are being taught that dumping animals is wrong and are taking notice of it. There just needs to be coordinated national efforts to do this, as at the moment it’s only happening in certain locations – mostly parts of Taipei and certain parts of Kaohsiung and Taichung. There is something in the works now that may be what’s needed, but it’s in the very early stages. The people putting it together however have had a lot of success in the past with smaller operations so there’s hope that good will come of it. It just won’t happen overnight.

          2. Craig, this all sounds rather secretive. it also sounds very under-funded. i wish them well, but in the meantime we have a serious problem here in Hukou. not only have i personally seen people dump off dogs and drive away (yes, dogs plural) for the last 3 years most of those dumped dogs are still here and there is a doggy turf war going on every night as they jostle for leadership. i can’t tell you how much i hate seeing those bastard dogs sleeping on the sidewalk on the next block, when they kept me awake the night before with their incessant fighting and barking at one another. it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep here. believe it or not, those dogs are so dumb that they actually chase cars. all together we have about 15 dogs between this block and the next.

  7. Hi, there is a small stray dog problem here in Singapore too. The good thing is that they tend to be cowardly — I just point my trike at them and ride full blast. The sight of 56 teeth on the chainring whirring around is enough to scare them to death. You might try this too. The bad thing is that here we have a lot of extremely rabid animal lovers who would not hesitate to call the cops if they saw anyone maltreating a dog. Recently a cyclist got bitten by a dog on a trail here, and when he reported this on a local discussion group he was persecuted by the dog lovers — he should not have trespassed on the dog’s territory! The poor dog might have been injured while he was biting the guy! No, I’m not making this up. So look on the bright side, in Taiwan you have more dogs but fewer excessively stupid humans!

    1. Serenus, i believe it. people don’t have common sense anymore. but i will tell you this: when the SHTF really bad (economically speaking), those dogs are going to be directly competing with humans on the street for food. eventually people will be killing them for food. not a pleasant prospect if you ask me.

      i want a paintball gun that shoots ethylene glycol paint balls. it hits the stray dog, he licks it off, and 24 hours later – problem solved.

  8. Very good! And in Taiwan you could probably organise that!
    In Australia once I saw someone dealing with a dog using a high-powered slingshot. Very effective indeed, and maybe the most practical alternative. The guy told me that he could have killed the dog but that would have been too much trouble. You would need to practise though!

    1. Serenus, so far i have been unable to find that substance here. the car shops don’t use the anti-freezing coolant as it’s not needed here. i’ve done the slingshot routine. it takes awhile to get it out and get it loaded, so i doubt it’s effective in an attack. if you want to chase a nuisance dog from your neighborhood, then a slingshot works fine.

      i was kept up most of last night (again!) by the 2 main culprit dogs that were dropped off about 2 years ago.

  9. I don’t have a bicycle, but I do a lot of hiking/walking, so I’ve had many similar experiences.

    1. Do you walk in areas that have stray dogs? I can’t think of anywhere that doesn’t have any (maybe if I lived in a city of “superior mainlanders” like Taipei things might be different!).

    2. Do the stray dogs pay attention to you? Most run away as I approach. As for dogs guarding their homes, I’ve found that if I stick to the opposite side of the lane/path and avoid eye contact, they usually don’t do anything.

    3. Do the stray dogs chase you? Never. I’m more likely to chase them, armed with a rock or stick.

    4. Do you feel the dogs chasing you are simply bored, or out to harm you? A little bit of both perhaps.

    5. How often are you chased? Very rarely. Once in a while, a dog will wait until I’ve walked past, then try to nip at my heels. In that case, I turn, yell and charge at the dog. They always run off!

    6. How do you fend off an attacking dog? I wouldn’t hesitate to throw rocks or use a stick.

    7. Has the presence of stray dogs affected your outlook on recreational walking? The presence of barking dogs in general means that I don’t like walking down country lanes (what a contrast with Japan!). There is one walking route that I’ve given up using because the barking, snarling dogs were ruining what should have been a pleasant experience (and where are the owners while all of this is going on?).

    8. Do you vary your preferred route to avoid dogs? Yes, sometimes.

    9. Have you personally been bitten by a stray dog? No, but I was once surrounded by no less than seven on a small mountain road. I had a stick in my hand, had already identified which one was the alpha male and was getting ready to yell and charge at him with my weapon in an attempt to break through when an old woman emerged from a rundown shack about a 100 meters away, yelled something at the dogs, and they all run off towards her (not to attack, in case you were wondering).

    10. What advice would you give walkers on this subject? Avoid areas where you know the dogs are aggressive. Keep a safe distance and avoid direct eye contact. Keep a large stick and/or rock(s) handy (many times, dogs have run off when they saw me bend down to pick up a rock or stick). Do not show fear. If all else fails, charge the dog(s) while yelling as loudly as you can, and don’t be afraid to inflict pain – better them than you.

    I’ve been chased a few times on my scooter. I actually keep a bag filled with small stones in what would be the equivalent of the glove compartment, and several times I’ve stopped the scooter, grabbed a handful of stones and ran off after the pursuing dogs. Once or twice, I’ve ridden my scooter right into a pack in an attempt to scare them off.

    Kaminoges last blog post..Silence is Golden

    1. Kamingoe, thanks for your participation in my little informal survey. you mention Japan being a contrast. with so much influence on Taiwan from Japan you’d think the Taiwanese would take a hint about their stupid dogs. It’s a shame that Taiwanese dog ownership means to put a collar on the dog and then let it run wild. as i’ve said before, Taiwan should be more sophisticated than that. thanks.

    1. no, Dennis, but i’ve entertained fantasies of throwing sausages with firecrackers inside! seriously i don’t see any solution. we’ve talked with the mayor who sent out the dogcatcher, but between his lack of commitment to the problem, and local people lying about someone owning the dogs, it’s never going to get solved.

      a couple of days ago i was riding my bike when returning to my home, and one of those strays actually sized me up to take a bite out of my foot as i passed by. i’m afraid that someone is going to have to be seriously injured before anyone does anything about it. in NH, i just would have taken out my 9mm and shot it dead, right there. while i type this, that big black dog is barking and it’s after midnight.

      1. even if they are really “owned”, they are likely just some stray dogs that the locals have decided to feed scraps to occasionally. I can see that this really is a big problem in Kaohsiung. From childhood (20 years ago) memory, stray dogs (and poo!) were even more abundant in Kaohsiung.

        1. Dennis, that is very true. the big dark nuisance dog in my neighborhood has a collar that someone put on him to keep the dogcatcher from getting him. it is a big problem and as the ongoing discussion would indicate, not an easy one to solve.

          believe it or not, Kaohsiung seems to be a place where the stray dog situation isn’t as bad (according to my observations). HC and i are considering moving there.

  10. Not secretive at all, it’s just in the early stages only – I put some info in my first reply. With 15 dogs on your block, CNR is perfect. Studies have shown that aggression, roaming and territoriality decrease markedly after neutering – you’d probably have a peaceful night if all those dogs were neutered. And when you see people dumping dogs, it’s simple to snap a couple of photos of the action and send them to Apple Daily and other media and the police. Out the people as dumpers and shame them for their actions. It may not change that particular person but it will make others think twice.

    cfimagess last blog post..April Desktop Calendar

    1. well Craig, it all sounds great on paper – but i put no trust in any organization that doesn’t understand that 15 stray dogs competing for food isn’t a good thing in any neighborhood. these are a feral species not native, and they need to be put down not operated on and released! get rid of them. they don’t belong here!

      i chased the last car that i saw dumping dogs. the driver knew i was chasing and nearly killed herself trying to get away from me. eventually they did get away.

      sooner or later, someone is going to poison the lot of them. people are getting sick and tired of this bullcrap and the government isn’t doing anything about it.

      1. But killing them off doesn’t work. People continue to dump unwanted pets, the strays that haven’t been caught continue to breed and the population continues to increase. Studies have shown that if 67% of strays are CNR’d, the population decreases naturally. It is also the only humane method, and is significantly cheaper than killing. Strays breed faster than they can be caught and killed – CNR is the only way to stop the increase. It’s no point killing 10 if 20 breed to replace them. Desexing 10 however stops the 20 being born. And when widespread enough, the population goes down.

        If you killed the 15 strays in your area, the only thing that would happen would be 15 more from other areas would take over the territory in search of food. And you’d have the same problem.

        10 years ago, there were an estimated 670 000 strays in Taiwan. Today it’s somewhere between 170 000 and 300 000. Methods used today are a lot more humane than were used in the 1980s and 1990s, coupled with increased education and awareness, it shows that it’s working.

        cfimagess last blog post..April Desktop Calendar

        1. Craig, interesting discussion. this is getting into some of the fundamentals of the issue. i have found that people who don’t have local dog problems aren’t as passionate about solving the problems as people like me are. very few animal rights activists have to live with the consequences of their actions and influence, as is the case with Taiwan’s stray dogs.

          is putting down a stray dog “humane?” i think that’s the central core issue. i say “yes” and i have plenty of photographs to back up my statements. these animals are in a deplorable state – absolutely filthy and ridden with parasites and disease. they live in constant fear and lack proper food and medical condition. they are abused by other dogs and usually end up dead from either being run over, killed in a dogfight or disease. they are untrainable and therefore undesirable as pets. yet people still insist that putting them in shelters is the answer – then they are baffled by why no one takes them home.

          i realize that you’re only stating the information given to you, but i’d like for you to stop and think about this statement: “It is also the only humane method, and is significantly cheaper than killing.” how can simply killing a stray dog be significantly more expensive than a medical procedure requiring a licensed veterinary doctor to perform? if that is truly the case, then someone is fudging the numbers for their own agenda. a shot of poison is cheap and it doesn’t require a doctor to administer it. do the math.

          i’ll tell you what would happen if all 15 dogs in my area were suddenly gone: people could sleep. the sidewalks would be cleaner. the corner 7-11 wouldn’t smell anymore. cars, cyclists and pedestrians could go about their business without fear of dog attack. i think that the comfort, safety and tranquility of the neighborhood for the humans outweighs feral animal “rights” to roam the streets as wild animals. what would happen if a bear came down from the mountains and started trashing things? just because people think dogs are cute they let them get away with unacceptable behavior.

          if a group comes to my neighborhood and takes dogs away, performs medical procedures on them and returns them, i will sue them for giving medical care to the animals, and returning them to my neighborhood, thereby making the bad situation worse. what’s wrong with your education plan, plus removal of the animals altogether? this is a point i cannot get anyone to clearly answer.

          170,000 to 300,000 is proof positive that whatever is being done isn’t enough. yeah i agree that proper education can help but what is stopping the government from rounding these animals up and disposing of them? (actually, i do know what ended the dog euthanasia program in Taiwan).

          here is my solution to the stray dog problem: let the Taiwanese deal with it directly. i propose a NT100 bounty on each stray carcass. i’ll park the truck at the end of the block and you can come by and throw your catch up on the truck and i’ll give you your money. i’ll sell the meat to Vietnam (like Thailand does) and turn a profit in the process. in 20 days the problem would be solved.

          1. It is becoming an interesting discussion. Just to hit a couple of points quickly.

            Firstly your solution at the end – do this and you may get rid of the strays in 20 days. But then what happens? There may be no strays for a while, but the local mafias will still want the money made from selling the meat and you’ll start to see pets being stolen and killed.

            Rehoming does work and so-called “untrainable” strays have been given medical care, trained and adopted as pets to responsible owners. http://animalstaiwan.org/rescues.htm

            If those 15 dogs in your area disappeared overnight, the only thing that would happen would be strays from another overcrowded area would find their way there. You wouldn’t get rid of the problem.

            I can put you in touch with someone who can better answer the other questions than I can, plus he has the facts and figures to back it up. Let me know if you want his email address to answer those other questions – I’m sure he’d be happy to help.

            cfimagess last blog post..April Desktop Calendar

          2. Craig, yes i should open the forum back up again! good points as usual. i would like to get in touch with your friend, perhaps for an interview on the blog – after we get back from China.

            btw, great April Desktop Calender!

  11. Wow, good conversation. Tough topic, but good conversation. I’ve got a lot of experience in encounters with dogs gained over 20 years of riding and racing, during which much of my training has occurred on gravel roads of the Midwestern US.

    1. Do you ride in areas that have stray dogs? Absolutely
    2. Do the stray dogs pay attention to you? Yes, often
    3. Do the stray dogs chase you? Sometimes… not often.
    4. Do you feel the dogs chasing you are simply bored, or out to harm you? Most are simply bored. In 20 years, I’ve only had one instance where I’m convinced the dog was out to harm me.
    5. How often are you chased? Once a month.
    6. How do you fend off an attacking dog? First stage: show them you’re human. Second stage: yell “STOP!” or “NO!” or “GET BACK!” Third stage: swerve at them, show them your teeth and start growling at them while pulling your water bottle out of your cage and getting it ready to squirt in their face. Fourth stage: (and I’ve only had to use this once in 20 years) the point of a Shimano M225 shoe to the right side of the head. Placed accurately, this will get a 100lb rotweiller off of you.
    7. Has the presence of stray dogs affected your outlook on recreational cycling? Not in the least.
    8. Do you vary your preferred route to avoid dogs? Nope.
    9. Have you personally been bitten by a stray dog? Nope.
    10. What advice would you give cyclists on this subject? Don’t be afraid. Most dogs are only afraid of bikes until they hear your voice and realize you’re just a human in weird clothes. If you give most dogs a “good dog” or a “hey buddy!” they are super cool. The tell-tale sign, as it were, is a wagging tail. If a dog’s tail is wagging, they’re in a pretty good mood, from my experience. And if you have cheer in your voice, most dogs pick up on that and get a little cheer too. If you have fear in your voice, dogs understand that too…

    MGs last blog post..Return of allergy season… and a new WTB drop bar on the Fargo.

    1. MG, thanks for sharing your experiences and insights into this issue. let’s hope that you continue onto another 20 years without a bad incident!

  12. Hi there.

    My name’s Sean McCormack, and I’m the founder of Animals Taiwan, and am now in the process of starting up the Taiwan SPCA. In my spare time, I also help to rehabilitate dogs, including those who are aggressive, fearful, nervous, obsessive, or in other ways in need of calm, assertive leadership. Craig asked me to join in this discussion, as he felt he couldn’t provide the answers to some of your excellent questions and opinions about the stray dog problem.

    When I go and train someone with a ‘problem’ dog, what I’m actually looking for is how the person is contributing to, supporting, rewarding the unwanted behaviour – and I always find it. For dogs who I’m told are aggressive toward people or other dogs, I find that the dog is actually following the human’s lead. When the owner changes the picture in his or her head about what the dog is thinking or how the dog is expected to react, we have an instantaneous and seemingly miraculous change in that dog’s behaviour.

    A couple of the more notable rehabilitations of late: a dog who was stuck on a rooftop for eight years because of a developed fear of the stairs (he came down and after about 20 minutes and enjoyed a neighbourhood stroll; he now goes up and down with the owner every day, no problem). Another was a dog who was, according to the owner, fearful and aggressive towards other dogs and wanted to attack cats (we had him ignoring cats within five minutes and accepting other dogs within the hour; the next week I had him living with me for a few days, in a room with 11 other dogs, with no problem at all). I also demonstrate that aggressive dogs are usually nothing more than unsure of your intentions, and I have demonstrated this by entering ‘aggressive’ dogs’ cages and sitting calmly with them, allowing chained ‘aggressive’ dogs’ to smell me before letting me walk them; and I’m currently caring for a feral dog with skin disease, who, despite fearful aggressiveness, comes for walks on leash and lets me give her a bath.

    How did we achieve that so quickly? We stopped projecting anything but calm assertiveness to the dog. When the owners demonstrated calm assertiveness and were able to keep their own fears and fixations in check, the dogs became calm submissive and followed their owner’s lead. It really is as simple as not projecting your own fears and obsessions onto the dog.

    When I read your posts, I could instantly see where the problem lies. As is so often the case, the aggression was unwittingly started by a fearful or aggressive human. Here is how you enter these dogs’ perceived territory, MJ; this is your perception of how things will go (and is what you’re projecting onto these dogs, who can read your body language and smells very well):

    “Undisciplined, wild and unpredictable, this dog is more than likely going to chase and attempt to bite, cyclists.”

    “The low height is excellent for aerodynamics but it also makes a trike rider more vulnerable to dog attacks.”

    “When I ride my trike, I basically ride in fear of dog attack and I am constantly on the lookout for strays (or even owned dogs) that roam the streets. Often, it’s very difficult to just relax and enjoy the ride.”

    “Although it’s much higher than the trike, one’s legs and feet are always vulnerable to dog attacks.”

    “On the very second day that I rode my new trike, 4 stray dogs came after me in a pack and I had to beat them off using that whip.”

    “If I see a dog coming at me, I can have the whip in my hand in about one second.”

    “This is what I hate the most – multiple street dogs hanging in a pack.”

    “Naruwan, i feel that edgy sensation too. as i said sometimes it’s hard to just relax because i feel like there is a war going on.”

    “a couple of days ago i was riding my bike when returning to my home, and one of those strays actually sized me up to take a bite out of my foot as i passed by.”

    Can you see what’s happening? You are taking the fear/aggression to these dogs. As any other animal would (including humans) they are responding to your fear and readiness to commit an aggressive act with a clear warning. If you walk into a bar with a weapon and a strong readiness to use it, you will make yourself, by your attitude and body language, a target. If you can control your own fears, MJ, your riding experience will be much more enjoyable. You need to stop seeing these dogs as out to get you. They are giving you clear signals because it’s in their nature to do so, and they will attack if you respond the wrong way (according to their natural protocol, not yours). I can help with that.

    “What advice would you give cyclists on this subject?”

    Firstly, I am on the side of the cyclist. You should not be attacked or frightened by stray dogs, and they should not be free to act the way they sometimes do. The dogs are doing what they do naturally, defending what they feel is theirs, and the cyclist needs to know how to show the dog, naturally, that he or she has no intent of either harming or being harmed.

    Dogs will chase cars and cyclists (and runners) not because they are stupid, but because, like people, they respond to reward. When those cars, scooters, runners, and cyclists race away, they are showing the dog that they are fearful and potential prey. This can send a dominant dog (and his pack) into chase mode, as he will believe that he has the upper hand and the ‘target’ is weak and fleeing. If the target indeed flees, the dog’s behaviour will have been rewarded, and he will do it again.

    So how can you stop the chase and potential nip at the heel (a warning; if the dog meant business, he would do far more than this)? This isn’t easy for a fearful or aggressive person to accept, but you need to do nothing. That’s right. Nothing. Stand your ground. Put the bike between yourself and the dog, stand confidently but calmly, and don’t look the dogs in the eyes. Look at the horizon, and tell yourself that you mean no harm but you are claiming this space around you as your own. Project calm assertiveness, and dogs will instantly understand that you are neither threat nor prey. Some may come to sniff you, and this is OK if you can handle it (but don’t let any go behind you). Once they have lost interest, you can slowly and calmly go on your way. If they become interested again, simply stop the bike. Try it in a car first if you want to see the effect not running has.

    As you have a low bike, MJ, and it’s difficult to get in and out, I would suggest carrying a stick, but only using it to present as a barrier in front of the calm, assertive, non-confrontational you. If you keep the level of aggression down, you will be doing yourself and the next cyclist a big favour.

    I believe that carrying a air horn is a great idea, but make sure the sound is deep and you make any soundings brief (in nature, the deeper, shorter sound is that of the dominant animal – long, high-pitched sounds show weakness and submission).

    When dogs are approached slowly and calmly (and assertively) they have no reason to attack. The following comment of yours reinforces this:

    “i’ve never been attacked while walking by street dogs but i’ve been growled at by quite a few.”

    I was interested to read this:

    “When I was eight years old, I was attacked by a dog that hid under a car in our neighbor’s driveway. The neighborhood kids were in a big game of “Hide and Seek” and that car was the “base.” I successfully eluded the person who was “it” and searching for us. I made it back to base and a few seconds after touching the car, I felt the dog clamp down on my right leg – totally without warning. Needless to say, it scared the hell out of me. I went home and my mother called the police. The dog bite had drawn blood and the police took the dog away and had it destroyed.

    To this day I want all dangerously aggressive dogs to meet the same fate.

    Please note that a dog being aggressive in the defense of it’s home and family against a bad guy is a different situation.”

    Now I can see where your fear comes from, and your disliking dogs. If I explained to you that the dog was probably frightened and giving you a warning nip, I don’t know if that would help you to see the situation differently. A real dog attack is very different (there are different levels of dog bites, and a nip is one of the lowest, though still scary and painful, and you have my sympathy). She was probably trying to scare you away as she was scared herself. Ironically, you now have the same fear that she had, and have been dealing with it in a very similar fashion. Luckily, no one is calling for your extermination because of it.

    I hope this information helps, and I am very happy to answer any questions and even demonstrate these techniques for you. This is the best advice I can give you, as there will always be dogs out there, so you may as well learn how to deal with them.

    Now we get onto the subject of the stray problem as a whole:

    “while i can appreciate that the animal rights activists want to C&R, i contend that this is not the way to solve the problem. it’s the “R” aspect that i have a problem with. are we supposed to just wait until that last generation of neutered strays dies out? no. i say “catch and destroy.” sure it’s not the dog’s fault, but they are a feral species and don’t really have any business being wild in the streets. lately a lot of effort has been spent on sending stray dogs to the US. IMO, this is another monumental waste of resources. it’s my personal view that as long as there are humans that need assistance, those people come first.”

    I support and promote CNR both as someone who respects animal rights/welfare and as a member of the community. Like you, I don’t want to see dogs in the street. And, like you, I once believed that the only way to achieve that was through the ‘catch and kill’ method. I was wrong. Catch and kill does nothing to solve the problem, for exactly the reasons Craig gave.

    We Brits went into India with the same mistaken belief that so many people still carry, that killing strays will eradicate the problem. In India, we shot, poisoned, trapped, and netted stray dogs in an attempt to bring down their numbers and eradicate rabies. We were very good at it. But it didn’t help. In fact, over the next hundred years of aggressive catch-and-kill methods, the number of stray dogs in India increased, as did the number of humans killed by rabid animals (mostly dogs).

    What did work? CNR. You see, no matter how many dogs you kill in any given area, the surrounding ones will move in to take advantage of the newly available resources. A new, healthier gene pool opens up, and pup litters become larger with more of the pups surviving. You now have more dogs on the street than before, as well as any that you may have put in a shelter.

    But if you neutered the animals (the N that you were missing when you called it ‘C&R’), you will have a static number of animals guarding the available resources, but unable to reproduce. In effect, you have finally controlled the stray population.

    You need to desex at least 70 percent of any given population for it to be effective (anything less and you actually cause an artificial population explosion). That means public education is key, as Taiwan’s owned dogs are simply not being neutered at anywhere near desirable levels (about 15 percent compared to about 75 percent in the US and 85 percent in the UK). Get the owned and stray dogs neutered, then the problem is on its way to being solved.
    Once the US got past the 70 percent mark, the number of dogs killed in shelters dropped from 5 million per year to 3 million, in just three years. Neutering works.

    As Merritt Clifton of Animal People points out: “In truth, the U.S.—which was never very tolerant of dogs at large—really only began to reduce the numbers of dogs and feral cats who were running at large after abandoning almost a century of concerted effort to kill homeless dogs and cats by any means possible, and turning instead to high-volume low-cost and free sterilization. ”

    “Craig, except that education doesn’t work.”

    Funding for animal welfare orgs is hugely biased toward education, as non-profits, grant-giving bodies, social groups, and sponsoring corporations disagree with you and know full well that education makes all the difference; it stops the leak.

    “i can’t tell you how much i hate seeing those bastard dogs sleeping on the sidewalk on the next block, when they kept me awake the night before with their incessant fighting and barking at one another. it’s hard to get a good night’s sleep here.”

    Then read more on CNR. Remove/poison/shoot the dogs, and more feral surrounding dogs will move in. They will display exactly the same natural but antisocial behaviours, but will also likely be more aggressive or more difficult to catch. Now, if you neuter those dogs outside your home, within six weeks or so you will notice a marked drop in the kind of behaviours that communities shouldn’t have to suffer: less aggression, less barking, less territoriality, and less smell.

    “i want a paintball gun that shoots ethylene glycol paint balls. it hits the stray dog, he licks it off, and 24 hours later – problem solved.”

    Ask the Brits about that. It made matters worse in India. I can’t see that it would be any different here. And it would be completely pointless without education, because people would still be buying dogs without thinking, then dumping the unneutered animal to repopulate the area that you so efficiently (in theory) just cleared of dogs.

    “well Craig, it all sounds great on paper – but i put no trust in any organization that doesn’t understand that 15 stray dogs competing for food isn’t a good thing in any neighborhood. these are a feral species not native, and they need to be put down not operated on and released! get rid of them. they don’t belong here!”

    It does sound good on paper, and proves great in practice.

    Feral dogs are indeed offsprings of domestic dogs, which are of course offspring of ‘wild’ dogs. Even that poodle or German Shepherd is a descendent of non-breed, original dogs. Just as you and I aren’t Taiwanese but still have a right to make a life for ourselves on this land, so do they. We’re all trying to survive, and none of us should be living on the street. How we tackle that problem though – whether through emotional reaction or logical thinking – will make all the difference if we are to end the stray problem once and for all. Like all things worth achieving, it will take time, efficient management, and perseverance.

    Here’s some very enlightening info from Clifton again: :The New York City animal control statistics offer an excellent long-term illustration. From 1895, when records first were kept, until 1962, no U.S. city more vigorously exterminated stray dogs and cats. Yet the number of dogs and cats killed rose every year, topping 100,000 for the first time in 1908 (after approximately 75 years of killing strays and 13 years of record-keeping). The New York City numbers continued to rise each and every year, peaking at 250,000 in 1962 and remaining at that level until 1966.

    Every year, no matter how many animals were killed the year before, more were found at large to kill.

    . . . In 1957, Friends of Animals started the first low-cost dog and cat sterilization project in the U.S. in the New York City area. After 10 years of effort, it was fixing enough animals per year to stop the growth of the stray population, and started branch programs in other parts of the country.

    . . . Other organizations including the American SPCA, Fund for Animals, and North Shore Animal League America meanwhile also began doing high-volume sterilization surgery in and around New York City.

    Thus, from 1967 through 1995 the number of strays killed in New York City dropped every year, hitting a low of 40,000.”

    I hope you can see how it works now.

    “very few animal rights activists have to live with the consequences of their actions and influence, as is the case with Taiwan’s stray dogs.”

    I live in a community that responsibly manages the strays in our area, through CNR and education. It works beautifully (if we educate the otherwise ignorant ones who might try scupper the plans through some badly thought out knee-jerk reaction).

    “these animals are in a deplorable state – absolutely filthy and ridden with parasites and disease. they live in constant fear and lack proper food and medical condition. they are abused by other dogs and usually end up dead from either being run over, killed in a dogfight or disease. they are untrainable and therefore undesirable as pets. yet people still insist that putting them in shelters is the answer – then they are baffled by why no one takes them home.”

    Those animals not getting proper nutrition and care are of course susceptible to disease. The ones that are undesirable as pets are not the ones walking into the dogcatchers’ nets, though. By removing those friendlier ones, you are in fact artificially speeding up the feral process, as it’s the more wary ones that evade capture and therefore reproduce (they would be part of the less-than-thirty percent who wouldn’t be neutered in a CNR campaign, though we are more persistent and have more methods and time at our disposal than the dogcatcher, so we can get more of these more feral dogs for neutering).

    “i realize that you’re only stating the information given to you, but i’d like for you to stop and think about this statement: “It is also the only humane method, and is significantly cheaper than killing.” how can simply killing a stray dog be significantly more expensive than a medical procedure requiring a licensed veterinary doctor to perform? if that is truly the case, then someone is fudging the numbers for their own agenda. a shot of poison is cheap and it doesn’t require a doctor to administer it. do the math.”

    No fudging. Just as with the solution to strays’ aggression towards cyclists and to reducing the stray population, the answer isn’t obvious, and seems to go against common sense.

    Merritt Clifton: “There will always be those who think killing animals is cheaper than sterilizing animals, and therefore more appropriate for developing nations. On a 1-to-1 basis, if you only consider the cost of killing one animal versus the cost of sterilizing one animal, they will be right—but killing animals just creates habitat vacancies, which enables the survivors to successfully raise more puppies and kittens. Accordingly, one must look at the big picture: not just the cost per animal handled, but also at the possible gain to be had if that animal is never born.

    “In fact, no extermination program directed at any fast-breeding mammal species such as dogs, cats, coyotes, deer, rabbits, pigs, rats or mice has ever achieved more than short-term results in a mainland habitat.”

    Clifton goes on to explain how catch-and-kill, or even just poisoning or shooting, is far more expensive (and ineffective) an approach as it increases the size of the stray population over time. CNR decreases it. While neutering is indeed more expensive than shooting when it comes to individual animals, neutering is far cheaper in the long term, when considering the stray population as a whole.

    “if a group comes to my neighborhood and takes dogs away, performs medical procedures on them and returns them, i will sue them for giving medical care to the animals, and returning them to my neighborhood, thereby making the bad situation worse. what’s wrong with your education plan, plus removal of the animals altogether? this is a point i cannot get anyone to clearly answer.”

    (Merritt Clifton is an investigative journalist and has been collecting data on animal-welfare issues for more than thirty years; while he indeed sympathises with the rights of the animals, he knows very well through his work that the facts need to speak for themselves.)

    I hope you may adjust your thinking in light of the argument I’ve presented above. If you have any more questions, please let me know.

    Best regards,

    Sean McCormack
    seanXXX@XXXtaiwanspca.org (remove the Xs)

    1. yeah Sean, a dog comes up to me without me even seeing it, and it chases and tries to bite me, and its my fault. brilliant logic.

      “Just as you and I aren’t Taiwanese but still have a right to make a life for ourselves on this land, so do they.”

      Sean, i contribute millions of NT dollars to Taiwan’s economy each year through exports from my company. i’ve earned the right to be here and i’m in Taiwan with the support and blessing of the government (and i might add, in the process of becoming a Taiwanese citizen). who says that feral street dogs have a right to live here? they don’t. they serve no purpose, and the food that is wasted feeding them already belongs to Taiwan’s farm animals in the recycling program. personally i’d rather see the food feed needy humans but nobody asked me for my opinion.

      i wonder if anyone has done a study on how much money these street dogs cost society.

      thanks for your contribution Sean, but i’m not so easily sold on CNR or street dog’s rights. i’m big on human rights instead. street dogs are trash animals and need to be gone.
      edit: (i forgot to mention this)
      i need to get something straight. i do not dislike dogs. i dislike street dogs. i also dislike dirty or undisciplined dogs (and children for that matter). the dogs i owned were all trained by me with hand signals. i could tell my dog to sit outside a store and wait for me with a simple hand gesture. so this isn’t some dog-hater going on a rant. this is a law-abiding person who has had enough complications brought on by a species that doesn’t even belong here.

      1. Hi, MJ.

        We can go through life proclaiming how we are victims, or we can accept responsibility for that which affects us and thereby take control of it. If a dog is chasing you, it’s because you’re running away. If you don’t want to be chased, stop running or cycling away. That’s the best advice I can give you, but of course you are free to take it or leave it.

        If an animals has been dumped by a human, you need to again look at where you are directing blame. So far, you’ve blamed the dogs, but I know from reading some of your other post that you do know the real cause of the stray problem.

        The vast majority of food that goes into dog food is actually food that is unfit for human consumption. But I agree with you that we need to cut down the amount of food available to strays in order to naturally keep their numbers down (we also agree that the stray numbers need to come down, so actually we are more on the same side than you may think).

        I can understand that you’re not sold on my arguments. It’s not easy to get your head round, and most people would rather go along with their long-held but ineffective beliefs about how the problem should be handled.

        And, as I said, from your other posts I can tell that you’re not a dog hater. But you do have a fear and hatred of free-roaming animals, and you also seem to be the kind of person who wants things done his way, now. But there is no ‘now’ when it comes to fixing this problem. You can go the way of those who know better, or you can stick to your guns (and poison) for a while and then reach the same conclusion they did. Perhaps in a hundred years time you’ll be enlightened by your own mistakes if you can’t learn from others’.

        If you really want to bicycle around without fear of seeing a stray dog, you may want to start supporting the work of groups that are working hard using tried and tested (and very effective) methods for controlling the stray population.

        However you proceed, I wish you safe and hassle-free riding.

        Best regards,

        Sean

  13. 1. Do you ride in areas that have stray dogs? Yes, but not too many.
    2. Do the stray dogs pay attention to you? Mostly, no.
    3. Do the stray dogs chase you? Occasionally.
    4. Do you feel the dogs chasing you are simply bored, or out to harm you? Mostly bored, but occasionally I feel threatened.
    5. How often are you chased? On new road routes, maybe 1 in 50. Regular routes it’s predictable. Two routes in particular around Shijhr.
    6. How do you fend off an attacking dog? Ride like the wind, get in some of that sprintwork, they stop before I run out of steam.
    7. Has the presence of stray dogs affected your outlook on recreational cycling? Nope.
    8. Do you vary your preferred route to avoid dogs? I’ve thought about it, but not yet. I would if there were an immediate threat that I knew was always there.
    9. Have you personally been bitten by a stray dog? Not in Taiwan.
    10. What advice would you give cyclists on this subject? Avoid them if possible. Have a plan of attack.

    I don’t have a plan of attack, but in general I feel the strays here are rather harmless mostly. There remember more dogs bites in South Africa, and those were all dogs that had gotten out of the property.

    Sidenote: I’d imagine a traditional bike, mountain or road, is easier to pick up speed with sprinting. I would be more concerned if my face was at dog level, much more concerned.

    Peter Stewarts last blog post..Toilet Maker ventures into PC Biz

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  15. Do you ride in areas that have stray dogs? Yes. There are packs in our area and a number of feeding stations. Every house has at least one dog.

    Do the stray dogs pay attention to you? Generally, no. Or they run away. A few might accept a treat.

    Do the stray dogs chase you? Seldom. The dogs that cause the most problems are those that have an owner. Fear based and territorial aggression are very common in our neighborhood.

    Do you feel the dogs chasing you are simply bored, or out to harm you? On the occasion it’s for fun or to defend territory.

    How often are you chased? A few times.

    How do you fend off an attacking dog? Been chased. Simply stopped and all 12 of them stopped and looked disappointed. How can they chase me if I stop and stand still? An attacking dog and a chasing dog are very different.

    Has the presence of stray dogs affected your outlook on recreational cycling? No
    Do you vary your preferred route to avoid dogs? No. It’s my road not theirs. I do avoid areas where home owners have a pack of guard dogs. I see no point in conflict, especially ones I would lose.

    Have you personally been bitten by a stray dog? Never. Been bitten by my own during a fight.

    What advice would you give cyclists on this subject? Keep calm.

    I seldom have problems with stray dogs, it’s the dogs with owners that cause the most problems.
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