Monday, April 21, 2008

Canis lupis

Canis familiaris was once the Latin description for the domesticated dog. Awhile back it was changed back to Canis lupis, the Latin description for the Wolf. Why? Because they are so genetically similar, there is essentially no difference between them other than looks.

Where am I going with this? In short I think people that abandon their dog, especially with so many shelters around, should be shot. Why? Dogs abandoned who don't wander into somebodies yard to be brought to a shelter or adopted go wild. Essentially they revert back to their natural instincts, those of wolves...but without the respect of humans.

There has NEVER been an attack of a healthy, wild wolf on a human in the United States. Despite all the hype about them they keep to themselves, and only out of curiosity have they approached humans, and never in aggression. Has there been dog killings by wolves, and livestock slaughter? Yes. Another dog is a threat to a wolf. It is called species competition. Livestock, especially sheep and calves are no different to a wolf than a rabbit, young wild sheep or goat...except easier to get at. It's their instinct. They kill to survive.

Dogs that have been abandoned often 'pack' together. There is survival in numbers, and it's their instinct. I've watched Dixie and Maverick 'pack' together to hunt rabbits and gophers. It's amazing to watch their silent communication to be successful, and I have no doubt they would be able to survive without me. However this instinct, combined with their familiarity with humans, could make them dangerous if they were ever abandoned.

We had a pack running in the area. Running our livestock, bold with our dogs, harassing anything else on the property...We've shot off all but one. The one that has cornered my landlord in the grain storage, growling, the one that has bit our calves in the nose along with a yak so they can't breathe and die, the one that ran 100 head of yearlings in a pen that ran over each other, breaking two of their necks...the one that ran a prize bull and horse through a bard wire fence and cut them up...

I've had little feeling for this dog, other than to curse him for his cunning ever time we try to shoot him. If I had children I doubt I'd let them be in the yard unless my dogs were around since they keep the wild dog out. As it is I doubt I'll let any of the poultry run until I know he's dead. He's sneaky and quick, and he shows no fear of humans and has been caught in the yard when my dogs have been inside.

This morning though, when I let my dogs out he was standing in the kennels, drinking from their water bucket. Maverick went after him like a shot, but as he turned to run from my dogs he looked up at me standing in the doorway, trying to call off Maverick least a fight occur. As our eyes met, I had the strangest feeling. He didn't look aggressive, he just gave me that hangdog look like, 'How can I help this? What more can I do?'. And granted we will eventually shoot that dog because every time he kills something it costs a few hundred dollars, and he has shown aggression towards humans, but at that moment our eyes met, I thought how whoever abandoned this dog to the elements should be shot instead. He's trying to survive. He's doing what nature has told him to do. He's a carnivore. Dogs eat meat. The dog food we feed our dogs, mixed with corn and other grains is not natural. For a working dog this is not enough, as those who use dogs for work well know. Corn can rip up a dog's intestines as it swells when a dog works hard. Hard working dogs eat meat. Raw meat. Yet we call these dogs pets. Well, this guy was a pet once too, and now he's a hated killer.

Don't abandon your dogs! Find them homes, or let a shelter take them. Something other than forcing them into something that could possibly hurts other's livelihood, or kill their pet.


Andrea said...

Oh how this is sooooo true. I took a really skinny pointer to the shelter the other day. I had been feeding it for 2 weeks and as I was driving down the road a nieghbor stopped me and said, "That is the man's dog at the corner. He came here looking for it." Well, he obviously didn't look hard enough being I am one yard away from the house. So, off to the shelter we went. We have coyote problems here. They are a mix of wild dogs and domestic dogs. I think the coyotes are getting bigger!! Good post!

mel_fitz said...

I think a lot of people view getting a dog as just a trial type of thing. Too bad.

jr_michels said...

Dog killings happen in the UP all the time due to wolves. A lot of my family lives up there and friends have had their dogs killed. A pack watches my grandma's house. They can't let the dogs out at night becasue they come in close.