I absolutely hate off-leash dogs in public. Whether their dog is a beagle, weinerdog, poodle or pit bull, many dog owners just know that their lovey little puppy would never hurt a soul. But dogs are intelligent and complex (and not always predictable) animals. You can’t absolutely know how they’ll react to strange dogs or strange people, and a leash is cheap insurance against the possibility that Fido reverts to his pack or hunting instincts when you’re out in public. Justin Doss (featured in the video above, near the scene of this crime) is living proof of this . . .


He may also help prove the theory that there are no bad dogs, just bad dog owners. Luckily for 74 year-old Nancy Ashworth, she was prepared with a ‘Defense In Depth’ of nonlethal and lethal weaponry when a Doss and his dog both went feral on her. Instead of getting bitten and beaten, she pwned the skateboard punk in his own crib.

Courtesy Pendleton Parks And Recreation
The incident happened near Rudy Rada Skateboard Park in Pendleton, Oregon, shown here. According to the Lower Columbia Daily News:

According to police Chief Stuart Roberts, Nancy Ashworth was walking near a skate park when an unleashed dog became aggressive toward her. She used pepper spray to deter the dog, upsetting 23-year-old Justin Doss.

Roberts told the East Oregonian ( http://is.gd/lrJ4a2) that Doss swung his skateboard at Ashworth, striking her in the head. That’s when she pulled out her .38 caliber revolver.

A grand jury indicted Doss this week on charges of [felony] assault, menacing, disorderly conduct and recklessly endangering another person.

The chief says Ashworth has a permit to carry a concealed weapon, and the incident could have been avoided if the dog had been on a leash.

Ms. Ashworth deserves special credit for being prepared with and effectively using a layered defense that responded proportionately to both animal and human predation. She displayed coolness under pressure by pepper-spraying the aggressive dog: this may not be as mall-ninja as shooting it, but OC spray is actually more effective than gunfire at immediately stopping animal attacks.

OC spray isn’t a ‘backup’ weapon to a firearm, but when used (or threatened) properly it can avoid the need for a DGU. Not every threat is a deadly threat, and OC is an effective fight-stopper for situations which do not legally merit the use of deadly force in self-defense.

After pepper-spraying the pooch, Ashworth also displayed admirable restraint when she apparently chose not to put a bullet in Doss’ center mass. On the other hand, maybe she just missed. But she certainly would have been within her rights to shoot him dead when he attacked her with a deadly weapon, and in a common-sense town like Pendleton, Oregon (which I drive through regularly on business) she would never have been charged.

Maybe Doss is glad to be alive and will learn from his lesson. I’m not holding my breath.

51 Responses to Defensive Gun Use Of The Day: Pendleton Skateboard Punk Edition

  1. For some reason, when people say perps always win, seeing a granny react calmly in the face of a crazed mutt and his felonious assault ready owner makes me smile real big aand laugh. If a woman old enough to be the grandparent of her perp (dog notwithstanding, icing on the cake) fends him off…anyone can if they so choose.

        • I wouldn’t blame you. Is real easy to get hurt being smashed across the head. Also pepper has a very limited range of effectiveness even on animals. Have to get the snout/eyes and hope the spray container is working properly if not prepare to get bit.

  2. Ms. Ashworth thought things through and was mentally and physically prepared to act on her preparations. She teaches us a lesson everyone could learn from.

  3. Once I saw a dog growling and barking at the postman. The woman who owned him told the postman, “Don’t worry, he won’t bite.”

    Postman: “He got TEETH, don’t he, Lady? HE BITE!”

  4. I agree with the dogs off the leash 100% Chris. I have dogs that I take hiking with me all the time. They are always on a leash for their own protection. I have come across countless off-leash dogs that harass my very patient, but protective GSDs. The owners always seem so nonchalant about it. The irresponsibility is astounding. They always say “my dog is great off the leash”, yet they never seem to be able to verbally control their dog(s). Last week I had an off leash pitt bull mix approach me and my GSD on a forest trail. I told my dog to go into a sit (which she did) and I stood between her and the approaching pitt, trying to get it to turn around. The approaching dog growled at me, my GSD charged (still attached by a leash to my left hand) and chased the pitt away, but immediately returned to me. The owner (who I later confronted and, of course, took offense) then comes around the bend texting on her phone completely oblivious to her dog or the world around her.

      • I believe a GSD is a German shepherd dog.

        BTW, I watched the whole video, in the expectation of seeing the confrontation between the 74-year-old woman and the skateboard punk and his dog, but all I saw was a bunch of underemployed young men courting orthopedic disaster. I dd find myself hoping that one of them would indeed experience a wipe-out requiring immediate medical intervention.

      • Yep. It’s an acronym for the full name of the breed: German Shepherd Dog (i.e. the breed name isn’t just “German Shepherd”). It’s the literal English translation of the German “Deutscher Schäferhund”.

    • I gotta be honest. I’m one of those people whose dog is always off leash, and I make no apologies for it. The difference between your example and my situation is my dog is very responsive to verbal commands. She’s quite protective and will growl at approaching strangers, but will immediately turn it off and return to me when I tell her to do so. It always amuses me when I tell her to sit, and she does it, right then, even though she’s 30+ feet from me, and the person who was looking at her apprehensively says, “Wow, she really listens to you.” I take a small amount of credit for training her well (about 10%), but the truth is I got really lucky to have a really smart dog who wants to obey me.

      The catch to that is, also unlike your example, I can’t really have my head down in my phone too much. I pay attention to what’s going on around me, so that I can see the things that she might key off of before she does. That way I can point her away, or at least be prepared for her to perk up, so that I can turn her off.

      Note: All that good stuff I wrote above has about a 50% chance of being completely off the table if there are squirrels involved. But only squirrels. She couldn’t give a damn about cats. Oh, and stupid little yappy dogs. She thinks those are squirrels.

      • My American Staffordshire Terriers are great off leash too, they respond very well to commands. Except like your dog, when there are squirrels or small dogs that resemble squirrels. Hillsborough County has a leash law though, so they stay on a leash in public, lest I get a ticket or some guy shoots them because they look scary. I kinda support the leash law for my dogs’ own protection. This way, if I ever have to cap an off leash monster of a dog (this has almost happened three times in my suburban neighborhood), I’ll have a clear conscience. OC spray is something I hadn’t thought about though.

        I’m lucky in the fact that my parents have 15 fenced in acres that they can run around on. It’s like having my own private squirrel rich dog park, where I know no one is going to shoot my dogs.

      • Same with my 15-month-old GSD. She’s nearly always off-leash. People and other dogs generally don’t faze her – and if they do get her attention, she [so far] always responds to me. Squirrels and rabbits are the only things where she even starts to take off – but she’ll stop and return to heel as soon as I call her. It’s really amazing what an hour of training per day will do.

        That said, if I take her to a crowded or unfamiliar area, she’s on a leash. I’m not yet totally confident (and perhaps I never will be) that some unexpected, never-before-seen-or-heard stimulus will so grab her attention that she won’t respond to me. With her size, speed, and jaws, I don’t need the liability risk (nor do I need the risk of injury to her).

        • Yeah, Savannah goes on a leash in unfamiliar locations, too. My example was mainly in regard to around my apartment and other familiar places.

        • Understood. Sounds like we have the same “rules”.

          Anja is off-leash around my neighborhood and if we visit known places. Everywhere else, she’s on a leash – though it’s rare that the leash isn’t hanging slack between her collar and my hand. Actually, part of her training was at the end of a 30-ft lead; basically teaching her that without a short leash, she’s to stay within 30 feet of me. I don’t know how much of her current behavior is due to that training and how much is due to wanting to stay close to the guy with the food, but when we walk around (and I haven’t told her to heel), she constantly looks back at me; if I’m “too far away”, she will, without command, either wait for me to catch up or return on her own. (All bets are off if a ball is thrown or a small mammal shows itself.)

          Regarding smart, well-trained dogs… My previous dogs have all been Labs. Pretty smart in their own right, but I never performed any formal training with them. With the GSD, though, I really thought it necessary to go for the formal training – the breed is too smart, too strong, and too “scary” to some people. After seeing the results for relatively little effort, I really regret not doing it with my Labs – I did myself and my dogs a huge disservice.

      • Well, up until yesterday I would have told you I had never run into an owner with their dog off leash that was responsible and had their dog under their control (or even paying attention to their dog). Yesterday I met one on the trail. I’ll believe you in that you are number two, but I have encountered over a hundred people with similar attitudes and awareness as my above-mentioned story from the previous week. My experiences have admittedly jaded my opinions on off leash owners. My dogs nemeses are doves and pigeons. For some reason, rabbits and squirrels aren’t on their kill list.

      • This entire article is complete ignorance. My yellow lab went over to say hello to ms.ashworth waging her tail like she always does, then she pulled out bear mace for no reason. Then I went over and confronted her about it, filled with rage, like any other pet owner would have been. Where she reached into her pocket, which I thought she was grabbing the mace. So I hid my face behind behind my board like a shield. Then saw my dog crossing the busy road to reunite with me, so I turned and when I turned my board brushed her neck on accident, and when I was in the middle of the road trying to protect my dog from getting hit by a car, back faced to ms ashworth, she fired a shot at me. Anyone with half a brain could tell you if you get bashed with a skateboard in the back of the head, that your going to be knocked out, be bleeding, or atleast have a bruise. Which she had neither of. I still take my yellow lab Shelby everywhere with me, off lease. When I go into stores, she’s waits at the door, even if it’s a side open door like they have a Walmart. Everyone except ms ashworth loves my dog, and everyone that has met my dog knows she would never become aggressive or threatening in any way shape or form. I don’t believe in gun control laws but maybe I should after reading these statements. Have a nice day everyone, and thank you for the 400 something views I know have on that skate video of my friends and I.?

  5. I love OC spray as a part of a layered defense. It’s legal use is very permissive, at least here, and I like to say there are two kinds of people when it comes to OC, those who have been sprayed and don’t want it again, and those who haven’t and think they can take it. It’s lighter and easier to use with more range than a baton, and can’t be mistaken on the street or in court for a lethal weapon.

    That said not all OC is created equally; I personally prefer FOX 5.2 because of it’s range, minimal stream dispersion and lava like heat (you can easily clear an average size bar with a 10 second blast of it). Not everyone reacts the same way to OC, but it certainly slows even the toughest hombre down a bit, and either way, you’ve ruined their day and taught an object lesson in the cost of posing a threat to others.

    • I’ve been sprayed a half dozen times. It hurts like a beyotch when its hot and sunny outside, but wouldn’t even come close to taking the fight out of me in winter conditions. I’m not saying that I’m Jason Bourne, but pepper spray is not effective on a number of people. I can muddle my way through a good amount of tear gas as well. A good Taser hit, on the other hand, will knock me on my a$$.

      Know that your less lethal weapons may require an immediate transition to a lethal option. Off duty, I don’t bother with OC spray. My wife an I will occasionally carry a Taser C2. The choice is yours, just know the limitations of your equipment.

      • I want to second Accur81’s comments. I watched some police spray a guy at an NFL football game. (To this day I don’t know why the police sprayed him because he didn’t seem to be acting out.) At any rate the guy simply looked at the police and in a fairly polite tone asked matter-of-factly, “why did you do that?”. The spray clearly had no effect on him. Even more interesting, the police suddenly dialed way back — perhaps fearing the fairly large guy who was not affected or quickly assuming massive respect for the large guy and his polite response in the face of a very unfriendly event.

        Furthermore, the over-spray had no effect on me. Everyone around was coughing and sputtering except for the guy that the police sprayed and me.

        That experience taught me that oleoresin capsicum spray can deter mildly obnoxious people … but don’t count on it to have any effect on any given person who is really intent on causing harm.

  6. I guess I’m confused. Why didn’t she give him a shot of the pepper spray–whether or not she pulled out her pistol? He certainly deserved it!

    • It could have been empty, and regardless, the punk had a .38 coming his way after violently attacking her with a weapon.

      • She exhibited commendable restraint by not emptying the .38 into his punk ass and pistol whipping his bleeding corpse. If I had been there, and saw some doofus hit an old lady with a skateboard, I probably would have shoved it so far up his ass he’d be crapping grip tape for a week.

  7. I have had people shrink back at my leashed hounds because they appear to be showing aggression toward a person close by. What they are doing is alerting to some other creature in the general vicinity. I always try to tell them that the dogs aren’t barking at them. I’d be really pissed off if someone sprayed them.

    About a month ago someone with their leashed GSD barged in on my guys when they had something treed. My Plott didn’t appreciate it and got right in the 100 lb dog’s face and him cowering in seconds. Dogs, like people, don’t always make the right choice.

  8. My Yorkie runs about unleashed anytime I’m outside and literally grew up in a park full of dogs and kids. He’s so well socialized that he actually teaches other dogs better manners just by example. He’s also physically incapable of inflicting anything like a serious injury on anyone much over 4 years old, and constitutionally incapable of hurting anyone in the first place. He’s just a very social, very friendly little dog with no hang ups.

    I did once see a woman kick him down the last few of a flight of steps and became pretty heated. Given that he’s under 10 pounds and stands less than 10 inches tall, is well known to be friendly and submissive with all humans great and small, AND he was going down the stairs away from her when she kicked him it was clear that she had a vicious streak and he wasn’t the cause.

    Sometimes its the dog, sometimes its the people, either can be at fault when they disagree. In her case she was called out by many onlookers who saw what she did and gave her a piece of their mind ( in my neighborhood and park everyone knows my dog by name and he’s well loved).

    All that being said, I generally agree with leash laws, because some people are such poor dog owners, and so stupid, you could never trust their judgment on what they set loose. I have the dubious advantage of being the park warden, I get to enforce the leash law hypocritically if I so choose. However, with the animals I know I don’t do so, it’s not that hard to figure out which ones are socialized properly and which ones don’t belong in public.

    • So in all reality you just think the law doesn’t apply to you and, luckily for you, you have the power to prove it by ignoring the law but enforcing it on someone else? This sort of hypocritical b.s. is the reason people hate people with enforcement powers, because all to often they think they are above the law and have no problem with showing exactly that on a regular basis.
      Did you ever think that maybe the reason no one complains about your dog is that there is no one to complain to since you’re the person charged with enforcement? What are they supposed to do, tell you to keep your dog on a leash, drawing your attention to them so for the rest of their time at the park you’re just looking for a reason to enforce some other random law on them? SUre makes for a fun day at the park.

  9. I used to be a dog trainer and all my dogs were exceptionally well-trained to work off-lead. People used to do a double take when they realized that the dog or dogs heeling perfectly by my side weren’t on a lead. At any distance, my dogs were completely responsive to commands, whether verbal or by hand signal. It took uncounted hours to train them to that level, but it was worth it. Besides, I enjoyed it, and so did they.

    People who choose to let their pups off lead would be doing the dogs and themselves a favor by training them to a T. It could save the dogs’ lives.

    • A smart, well-trained dog is a beautiful thing, isn’t it? I firmly believe Savannah has spoiled me for any other dog I’ll ever own.

  10. I would never have a dog without training him to be reliable off-leash. It takes a lot of work, but your dog deserves nothing less.

  11. Someone with a skateboard committed a crime with their skateboard, now all skateboarders are just as bad as that one. Someone with a gun did something terrible with their gun, now all gun owners are just as bad as that one.

    See what I’m saying? Seriously, some of you need to pull your heads out of your asses. You sound just like they do.

  12. I am going to go ahead and play devil’s advocate here for a second.

    Do we have any proof, other than the woman’s word, that the dog actually was aggressive toward her? People do some seriously horrible things to dogs for no reason. It’s quite possible the dog came up to her with absolutely no aggression and she maced it anyway. I know that would have seriously pissed me off if that had been my dog (not that I would have had my dog off a leash in public). Obviously him swinging at her is both an overreaction and an incorrect reaction, but that still doesn’t prove her story is legit.

    If a cop had sprayed the dog, half of you would be screaming for his badge right now.

    • I don’t hang out there (stupid people/stupid places/stupid things), but I can’t recall ever passing by or seeing a skate park with only one person in attendance. The whole point of those stupid and dangerous tricks is to impress other people with how recklessly brave you are, so what’s the point of doing it without an audience?

      That said, I’m pretty sure the local 5-0 found plenty of witnesses to back up granny’s side of the story.

      • There were plenty of people in my defense, but their statements were discarded because they were labeled stupid skateboard punks, just as this ignorant website has done. Maybe we should think that all gun owners are murderers because of all the shootings in this great country of ours.

    • Pwned as in Owned. Interwebz thingy that caught on back in the early days of tubgirl and goatse. A typo, pwned became popular like o’rly.

  13. Pepper spray MAY be be an effective deterrent… As somone who has been sprayed and used pepper spray multiple times, all people are not effected equally.

    There are some for whom it is entirely ineffective when they are 100% sober, let alome when drungs and alcohol are in the mix.

    If you carry spray, be prepared to rock and roll when it doesn’t work.

  14. So because one skateboarder is a “punk” therefore they are all punks? Brilliant logic, works for the anti 2A media machine as well. Or how about one scumbag cop, so all cops are scumbags, however, I have found that not to be true either. Can we use this formula on races too?

  15. I’m not overly concerned with dogs being on or off leash as long as they are under control.

    I used was born in Pendleton, OR and lived in Umatilla county (where Pendleton is) for the first 28 years of my life. Sheriff’s department really drug their feet getting my permit out. It’s a pretty small department but the law is the law and they were not the slightest bit apologetic about breaking it by going over the 45 day limit to issue my permit. I guess they finally got a new sheriff in the last couple years though.

    BTW: Pendlton whiskey is good stuff.

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