My question involves an injury that occurred in the state of: PA
I was walking on a public roadway. A group of medium-sized dogs came running towards me off of someone's property. The dogs came into the public roadway, circled around me, barking. The apparent owners of the dogs were probably 20-30 yards away calling to the dogs, but the dogs weren't responding.
Eventually, some of the dogs returned to the property. One came back out into the road, continued to bark, and touched my hand with its nose or mouth, but it did not bite. The owners made light of the situation and said the dogs would not harm me. I was very uncomfortable with what happened.
1. I want to write a letter to the homeowners stating my frustration with what happened, and reminding them of the various civil and perhaps legal liabilities they are exposed to if their dogs get loose and bite me or any other neighbors. I think they need to be reminded of the serious risk they place themselves in by allowing this to occur. What guidelines should I follow for this? I was also thinking of including a copy of our State's dog laws, which clearly state dogs must be under the owner's "direct control".
2. Self-defense: I sometimes carry defense spray when I walk as its a semi-rural area and there could be any number of animals encountered. I also usually walk with a cane or walking stick. What duty to retreat does someone who is walking on a public roadway have if they are approached by barking (threatening) dogs who do not respond to their owner's commands and are not physically restrained? What self-defense is reasonable in a situation like this? What would be considered excessive?
I hope I never have to encounter these dogs again. However, I walk constantly for health issues and this is not the only time I've had a close call with dog(s). I don't want to hurt any dogs, but I also don't want to be hurt (or worse) myself.