I am walking near York Road in Govans when I see it: this gray thing with four paws and a massive skull coming toward me, on a chain that looks like something you'd use to pull a car out of a snowbank.
It's a pit bull, and there is a young guy walking him who appears to weigh no more than 120 pounds.
I give the dog a wide berth. Look, if you have to walk your dog on a chain and you yourself look like you couldn't hold back a toy poodle, I don't want to be around you.
In fact, I will walk in traffic to avoid you. Which is basically what I did, stepping off the sidewalk and into the street as the two passed, which caused the kid to smile and probably the dog, too.
Me, I needed a drink at Swallow at the Hollow, and it was 10 in the morning.
But it got me thinking again about why people buy these crazy, dangerous dogs, and when I say this, I am not talking about all those beagles going around mauling schoolchildren, or the golden retrievers you always read about who leap chain-link fences and rip into the mailman.
You know what I'm talking about: pit bulls and Rottweilers, mainly. And if there are any other dogs whose owners have to walk them on chains so they don't eat people, we can include them, too.
The point is, I'm tired of being jittery around these dogs.
I'm tired of hearing about them getting loose and attacking people and sending them to the hospital to get stitched up and have reconstructive surgery.
Here is an account published in The Sun last week of a pit bull that attacked a 7-year-old here in Baltimore. It's presented with no setup, so you can jump right into the madness:
"When Carter and Mitchell arrived, they found a pit bull clamped on Mitchell's lower right leg and a man beating the dog with a stick in an attempt to free her. Carter attempted to pull the dog off, but when it would not release the girl, he shot the dog twice in the head ...
"The dog then turned on the man with the stick, forcing Carter to shoot it a third time. The dog then turned toward Carter. Miller stepped in and shot the dog, hitting it for the fourth time in the head area.
"When the pit bull turned on Miller, Carter fired the fifth and fatal shot at the dog's head."
And five shots?!
Five shots to get the dog to stop attacking?
That's not a dog. That's a timber wolf with a collar.
Why do we need dogs like that in the city, or the suburbs, or anywhere else?
The pit bull owners, the Rottweiler owners, they say you're picking on the breeds when you say something like that.
It's not the dog, it's the owner, it's how they're mistreated, blah, blah, blah.
I'm tired of hearing their nonsense, too.
All I know is, these dogs are bred to be aggressive, and they have jaws like steel clamps, and they can kill someone.
And some of their owners are total idiots who raise the dogs in crowded neighborhoods where children play and old people like to sit outside in the sunshine, and they don't keep the dogs behind big, strong fences, which is where they belong.
Look, do this: Go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site, which will put you to sleep most of the time, but do it anyway. There you'll find the results of a recent 20-year study that looked at 238 fatal dog attacks.
Pit bulls were blamed for killing 76 people. Rottweilers were blamed for killing 44, which makes them No. 2 on the killer-dog hit parade.
Most of the fatalities were children.
It would be nice if, as a society, we do something about this, wouldn't it?
Around the country, some cities have banned pit bulls altogether. Others have passed legislation requiring that if you have a pit bull, you have to keep the thing in a locked enclosure that can withstand a Category 5 hurricane, and don't walk the beast unless it's muzzled. (I read Baltimore County Councilman Vince Gardina has proposed similar legislation.)
Others are considering having pit bull owners register their dogs and posting the registration online, like a sex-offender list, so people in a neighborhood would know if one of these crazy dogs were in their midst.
I don't know what the answer is, although I'd sure want to know if there was a pit bull living near my house.
When it was time to go back to my car on York Road, I looked up and down the street for several minutes before stepping out of the store.
But the coast was clear.
I figured the guy walking the pit bull was blocks away by then, terrorizing people in another part of town, the little creep.