Fargo man stresses importance of having pets on leashes after 2 scary incidents

Rod Heit's pet Rocky had two close calls with dogs off their leashes in two days.

WDAY News crews captured this video during their interview with Rod Heit where his pet Rocky was approached by an off-the-leash dog.
Steve Elwell / WDAY News

FARGO — A Fargo man is in disbelief after his dog's dangerous encounter with off-leash dogs in back-to-back days.

The second incident happened while WDAY crews were interviewing him.

Rod Heit's dog Rocky was just sitting in his yard when he was approached by two dogs on Monday, May 16, and attacked.

The second time Rocky was able to defend himself, scaring the other dog off.

"If a dog comes up off leash, it doesn't have to be the fact that my dog is tied up on my property. I could be walking anywhere, and another dog off leash coming up. I can't really stop it," Heit said.


Rocky was left bloodied but is OK. It's something he says is avoidable by just putting your dog on a leash.

"Having your dog off-leash is just not an option in the city. You can't predict how your dog is gonna interact with a complete stranger, dog or someone else," Heit said.

One person who understands that is Natalie Gruchow, a veterinary practice manager at Animal Health Clinic in Fargo.

This past weekend, she said, 80% of cases at the vet clinic were because of dog fights.

Gruchow and her dog were attacked twice by an unleashed dog in her previous neighborhood.

"He used to be able to go to the dog park, he used to be able to, you know, walk with other dogs, but now he's, he doesn't trust them," Gruchow said.

Police say Heit's incident is under investigation. They said if a dog is deemed dangerous, it will cost $500 a year to register it, it must be kept in an enclosure and it must be muzzled when on a leash.

If it happens again, the consequences escalate.


"Disobedience to court orders, up to and including, we are able to impound the animal and either hold it until its current on all of its requirements, or it can possibly be put down at that point," said Fargo Community Service Officer Erik Harmon.

After speaking to police after the recent incident, Heit said they're likely going to put down both dogs that attacked Rocky. He said he won't be pressing charges and feels bad for the dogs involved.

His main goal is to spread awareness, he said, because it can happen to anyone.

Ben Morris joined WDAY in June of 2021 as a news reporter. He grew up in southern New Hampshire, before he moved to Fargo. He majored in media communications and minored in marketing at the University of Toledo in Ohio.
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