Let me, first of all, place on record that I am a ‘dog-liker.’ I have loved a dog or two in my time and I am an advocate of animal welfare.
Owning a dog entails a responsibility not only to the dog, but to your family, neighbours, friends and to the community in which you reside. Not all dogs are the same; and just as there are bad people, so too are there bad dogs. And like easily influenced people, when your dog falls in with bad canine company, it will do horrible deeds that he would never do on his own.
Just like the lynch mentality in a mob, or gang members in most of our cities; so too will the collective badness in a pack of dogs be greater than the sum total of the individuals. Dogs are predatory creatures by nature and a pack of dogs on the prowl is a frightening sight. They revert to their primal killer behaviour of the wild. Just look at the savaging that domestic dogs will do when they run amok among a flock of sheep.
You must have seen those images on TV – and indeed every year during the lambing season, of fields littered with dead and dying sheep, ripped to pieces by wandering dogs. And when the owners of rambling dogs are confronted – just as ‘my Johnny doesn’t misbehave in the playground’, it is similar with, ‘my Rover wouldn’t harm a fly’. You are wrong, Sir; your Rover will ramble and do harm unless you make certain he doesn’t.
The problem of out-of-control dogs is worse in rural Ireland than ever before. During the Celtic Boom, housing developments sprung up across the country and became populated by thousands of townsfolk who had sold their city dwellings for large balls of cash. Moving to the country meant ‘a good place to keep a dog’. A lot of these same dogs are being given the run of the parish
Dogs fouling the footpath, or barking all night is bad enough, but these are the least of the problems caused by the increased canine convergence. Around our towns and villages there are now an awful lot of feral dogs with no home to go to and these animals will become a significant threat to human health and safety.
We are all sickened to the core at the cruelty inflicted on defenceless lambs – not to mention the financial losses, but how would you feel if those images are of men, women and children lying bloodied and dead? Perhaps you believe that a pack of dogs would ever only go after sheep and never kill a human?
In Mexico, the problem of stray dogs was allowed to go unchecked and has gotten totally out of control. Stray dogs became feral dogs and feral dogs reverted to the law of the jungle. In one horrific incident, four people were fatally mauled by packs of dogs in Mexico City.
These tragedies occurred in a poor, over-populated part of the city and at least ten dogs were involved in each killing. You won’t believe what I am going to tell you next. Four people are dead; torn to shreds – the same as you see the sheep on the nine o’clock news and there are ‘animal-lovers’ coming out on the side of the dogs!
The Mexican authorities had reacted to the slaughter by rounding up twenty-five dogs near where the attacks took place. But photos in the newspapers of the forlorn, innocent-looking dogs peering out from behind bars brought a wave of sympathy; not for the victims, but for the dogs!!
Doubts were voiced as to the guilt of the particular animals being penned and a campaign was launched not to have them euthanized. Nutters posted images of the dogs staring innocently into the camera from behind bars and objections were raised in relation to checking the stomachs for human remains.
In Ireland more households are acquiring guard dogs to protect themselves and their property from criminals. The people are absolutely right and correct in this sort of thinking – particularly at this time when the garda force is being stretched; but dogs must be kept under control and not allowed run onto the road. Cyclists and pedestrians have a right to travel the roads without having the fear of being bitten by a dog. I have had a couple of bad experiences in this regard.
Finally, whilst they are not doing anybody any harm; I find it more than a little pathetic to see little squeaks of dogs dressed like babies and even being pushed along in a pram. As Confucius say, “people who like animals too much; like people too little!”
If dogs can think, how can we account for their love of some men?!