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What to do with stray dogs?  RSS feed

 
James Stallman
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I'm moving out into the country soon and I'm fully aware of the stray dog problems we have here in Texas. The neighbors in the area informed me that stray dogs find their way to our street from time to time or are simply dropped off. He has taken so many dogs to the animal shelter that they won't allow him to bring them in anymore. Him and the neighbors have chickens other livestock and he says that though he doesn't like it, they sometimes have to shoot them. I understand that this is often done and in rural areas you can be put in a crappy situation like this, but are there any other feasible options to help these abandoned dogs?

I'll do what I have to do to protect my livestock, my own dogs, and kids, but if this can be resolved without a firearm, I'd love to know.
 
Socrates Raramuri
Posts: 59
Location: The Hague; Morocco asap
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I was just in Morocco for a month and the stray cats and dogs everywhere are annoying. Then, to my amazement, i actually saw people feeding these cats! As if they like having the town filled with them!

I'm saying, it's a people problem and what can one do about people? One might say it's political. Texas and Morocco have similar climates and i'm pretty sure the issue is that as long as these critters can survive there, they will abound as long as there are people that support the situation.
I have one solution as it relates to myself: have a bigger dog (the strays don't tend to be large breeds). As far as helping them is concerned, i fear there's no point in playing Sisyphus.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
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Location: Cache Valley, zone 4b, Irrigated, 9" rain in badlands.
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My family's strategy is to shoot any dog that attacks or harasses the animals... Doesn't matter who's dog. Doesn't matter if it's the first time or the tenth... If they are running in a pack we try to take out the alpha or the biggest first. I really like a 223 scoped rifle for this task. It's somewhat quiet. Range and damage are adequate. It's easy to shoot and handle. Shotguns are highly effective, but range is limited. Handguns are not suitable unless you can walk right up to the dog, and sometimes that seems too scary to contemplate. 22 Long Rifle is not a suitable cartridge: The dogs tend to go home with a flesh wound.

Then for the etiquette of shooting a dog (or cat): Shoot, Shovel, and Shut up. In other words shoot the dog, bury it, and don' t say anything to anyone about what just happened.

It seems like city folks feel like they can release cats, or skunks, or racoons, or whatever at my farm and that it will be a good thing for the animal. Ha! Every available environmental niche is already filled by an animal. So the new creature becomes an invader in some other animals territory. Invaders are repelled by any means possible. And animals from far away haven't learned what plants/animals they can eat without meeting the undertaker.


 
duane hennon
gardener
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Location: western pennsylvania zone 5/a
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He: "thit cho"

you: "Gesundheit"

He: "No, I was ordering lunch"

http://dog-meat.net/
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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I haven't been feeling very brave as late with my posts...so was waiting for another brave soul to suggest the obvious, and the second part is now here...

I love...VERY MUCH LOVE...all animal species (even humans most of the time.) I also love eating many of them as well and see that as part of the "web of life."

Dog's (and cats) that are not under the control of their human partners, not behaving well, and in my (or others) personal space doing what cats and dogs do naturally...are fare game for the dinner table...

Any readers that care to discuss receipts...just ask...most (if one is a meat eater...sorry to disturb those that aren't...apologies) of these animal that are also flesh eaters themselves are very good eating if prepared well and coming from healthy animals...

So...short solution...humanly dispatch...don't talk about it to anyone...and fire up the barbeque...evidence is transformed into dinner and compost...
 
Michael Bushman
Posts: 144
Location: Sacramento, CA
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I grew up on a rural street that was a favorite for people from the City to dump their dogs and cats. We used to piss along our front fence to keep the packs of dogs out, seemed to work okay, not great but you could tell when we forgot.

Bury them under your fruit trees...
 
Jennifer Richardson
Posts: 166
Location: Columbus, Texas, USA (Colorado County). Zone 8b, verging on Zone 9. Humid subtropical, drought prone
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The best dog we ever had on the ranch was an abandoned stray with a lot of Australian Shepherd in him whom we adopted, but it's unusual for that to work out so well. If you do decide to take in a stray, make sure it stays on your property and that you are not just feeding a dog that is still roaming around and making trouble for other people. This avoids you being a jerk and exacerbating the problem and you getting your heart broken when someone else shoots "your" dog.

If it is just a single dog, and not vicious, and easy to catch (usually recently dumped or left behind when someone moves) I usually try to find someone to take them, often someone who does not have livestock or neighbors with livestock (either in town, or far outside of town on one of the non-working "retirement farms" that are being bought by people moving out from the big city. If it is a litter of puppies, I find homes from them (park outside the local Wal Mart with a "Free Puppies" sign).

If you have a pack of dogs that is after livestock, it's usually shoot them (or wait for your neighbors to shoot them). As another commenter said, get the leader of the pack first. Sometimes the rest will cease to be a problem, but not usually. Usually once they have started killing livestock together it's the point of no return. A bad beating can cure a dog that's killing chickens or chasing cows, if it's your dog, or make it stop coming back, if it's a stray, but a pack that's killing is usually not going to give up, in my experience. Sometimes peppering them with shot will make them stop coming back (may take a couple times before they learn), but you risk injuring them and letting them die slowly, which sucks. And they will usually just go bother someone else, and they can be a danger to kids, which is a way bigger problem.

Letting your dog tangle with them is a mixed bag, we have had dogs that successfully defended the territory against all comers, but you also risk your dog getting hurt or even killed. Again, single strays this may work well, but with packs I don't risk it. Sometimes strays will avoid our place because of our dogs, but sometimes they decide to challenge. You just have to play it by ear in that regard.

I second the advice to never tell if you do have to shoot them. Don't tell your kids, don't tell your neighbors, don't tell the dog's owners (if it's a family dog running wild). That way lies only grief, ostracism, and possible involvement of law enforcement.
 
Seva Tokarev
Posts: 79
Location: Minnesota, zone 4, loamy sand
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I really like a 223 scoped rifle for this task. It's somewhat quiet. Range and damage are adequate. It's easy to shoot and handle. Shotguns are highly effective, but range is limited. Handguns are not suitable unless you can walk right up to the dog, and sometimes that seems too scary to contemplate. 22 Long Rifle is not a suitable cartridge: The dogs tend to go home with a flesh wound.


May I ask your opinion on large caliber pneumatic rifles for that purpose?
 
Jennifer Richardson
Posts: 166
Location: Columbus, Texas, USA (Colorado County). Zone 8b, verging on Zone 9. Humid subtropical, drought prone
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I know you weren't asking me, but I will chime in anyway--I have known people to hunt with air rifles--.45s or .50s--and kill coyotes with them, and have heard of people killing our local wild hogs with them, which are pretty tough to take down (I killed one once that had an arrow embedded in its lung that had clearly been there for some weeks or even months--the lung was almost entirely rotted away, half of its chest cavity was necrotic, and it was happily eating corn and seemed largely unconcerned before its fateful end). However, a lot of what I have observed with air rifles is the same as I've observed with bow hunting--while it is possible to make a clean kill of a sizeable animal, people do so far less often than they do with a regular rifle, and a lot of needless suffering and waste tends to result. I would always advise, especially for someone without a lot of hunting experience, that they just get a plain old rifle of a decently large caliber.

Also, I would note for the original poster that if you haven't lived in rural areas before and/or haven't spent a lot of time hunting, I would be really careful when shooting to think about what's behind the thing you're shooting at; especially if there is brush or woods, grown up fence lines, etc. in between houses it often gives people the illusion that they are shooting toward nothing or that the bullet will be stopped by the intervening vegetation, when, in fact, there are houses, cow pens, etc. not a couple hundred yards away, and the bullet can easily pass through and kill someone, or someone's livestock. We lose a few cows this way every year, and I have had a few close encounters--and it is usually people who are inexperienced or only used to shooting on a range and are fooled by a greater sense of remoteness than actually exists.
 
Alder Burns
pollinator
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Location: northern California
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You can get a large live-trap.....often designed for wild pigs....which will also catch dogs etc. with the right bait. This give both the option of non-lethal disposition, or a sure kill.
 
Tracy Kuykendall
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May I ask your opinion on large caliber pneumatic rifles for that purpose?

I don't have a lot of experience with big bore air rifles but the little that I have has been with the construction of the pellets, most are made of soft lead with not enough alloys, more so with .20, .22, and .25 calibers. The few guys I know that have used the larger calibers, used hand cast pellets to get the performance they needed.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
garden master
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Seva Tokarev wrote:May I ask your opinion on large caliber pneumatic rifles for that purpose?


I consider air-rifles to be like toys: useful for training people how to shoot while minimizing potential for fatal mistakes. I consider them useful for taking small game at close range, for example doves, quail, or squirrels. I consider them useful for pest eradication: gophers, sparrows, grasshoppers, etc. In my family, it was a tradition to receive an air-rifle for the 8th birthday. We were expected to eat everything we killed with it, and to not point the gun at anything we didn't want to kill.



 
Dan Boone
gardener
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Location: Central Oklahoma (zone 7a)
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We see a lot of these dumped country dogs. Cats too, but they don't last long out here and the ones that survive don't come in close where we can see them. Quite honestly we tend to take in dumped dogs, especially when they are in obvious distress from wounds, starvation, or parasites. This typically results in us having "too many" dogs at any one time (currently, six). We do adopt them out when we can, so we tend to wind up with the special-needs cases, the hard-to-adopt ones that are limpy, hard to train, or have attitude problems. Given our constrained financial situation, we wouldn't be able to take in as many as we do (and get them the vet care they need) were it not for a relative who subsidizes our dog rescues.

The big flaw in this plan is that it pre-dates my interest in permaculture or even in serious gardening. Now -- even though I typically don't eat meat for health reasons -- I am feeling the serious need for some livestock to eat surplus vegetation or bugs and turn them into fertilizer, which I badly need. But our rescue dogs put a big crimp in any livestock plan; we don't have the kind of fencing and structures we'd need to keep livestock and dogs apart (whichever of them we would want to fence in) or the resources to make that kind of serious investment in infrastructure. The rescue dogs were here first, but they aren't trustworthy around small critters and I'm not sure they wouldn't harass anything smaller than a cow. (They ignore cows and horses.) It's a problem.

I am thinking about a Fort-Knox hutch for some rabbits, and (longer term) some junkpole fencing around a couple of small fowl paddocks. I also have just enough old salvaged sheet steel (I think) to make one decent dog-resistant coop or animal shed, maybe this winter if everything comes together. We'll see. But the bottom line is, rescue dogs and livestock don't mix well. I've even considered trying to add one more dog, but making it a really skilled and professional livestock guardian dog that would beat up my motly crew of rescues if they went after my animals. But there are too many failure modes in that plan for my comfort, and we already have too many dogs.
 
Michael Cox
Posts: 1659
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
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Air rifles are usually far too underpowered for an animal the size of a dog. Here in the UK they are limited by law to a certain strength which is just about adequate for taking down pigeons and squirrels - and only with some skill as you need to stalk into pretty close range. Elsewhere in the world you can get heavy duty air rifles - they work on the same principals but can take down large animals. They are a totally different beast than most people are thinking of when air rifles are mentioned.

I would hate for someone with a conventional air rifle to try to kill something like a dog based on a misunderstanding!
 
Seva Tokarev
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Location: Minnesota, zone 4, loamy sand
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:
I consider air-rifles to be like toys: useful for training people how to shoot while minimizing potential for fatal mistakes.


Thank you (and also Jennifer and Tracy) for reply!
When mentioning "large caliber pneumatics" I was considering likes of this: Sam Yang 0.50, which delivers 310 Joules.
That's more powerful than 22LR, which, according to Wikipedia, has muzzle energy ranging from 140 to 260 Joules,
and comparable with less powerful pistol cartridges.

In contrast, my .177 Izh Baikal gives measly 7 Joules, which is not uncommon in that caliber.

Now I see that, if you consider .22 underpowered, than probably so are most air rifles.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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I kind'a perked up again when I read..."air rifle"...and I am glad several clarified that.

In this case we are discussing large bore "hunting air rifles,"...and nothing else. These are more than strong enough to kill a dog or even a 1000 boar...and are NOT TOYS or anything like what most folks think of...Some even have tactical SWAT team application now...
 
R Scott
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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For hunting air rifles, they are much like muzzle loader rifles. Big slow bullets that work very well at close range. Fine for a couple acre homestead or woody homestead that will seldom get a shot past 50 yards. For me, I will never get a shot less than 200 yards so a 223 is a much better choice.

As for avoiding the problem in the first place, we have had good luck with guard animals keeping out feral dogs. LGD, llama, and horses have all worked.
 
duane hennon
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perhaps you could try "rotational grazing" them

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s9NIpG3S24&feature=youtu.be
 
Bryant RedHawk
garden master
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Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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In the country it is "Normal" for city folks to dump their no longer wanted "pets" to fend for themselves.
This is not only an indicator of how society is falling apart but it also shows just how inhumane most folks are.

We have had "wild dog packs" running in our area many times and they can be very destructive to farm animals that are part of our lively hood.
It has become necessary to take absolute destructive action on a few occasions, but I prefer to let them live as long as they pose no threat to our animals.
We do encourage a few cats to stick around since they help with rodent control.
Our County Sheriff, when asked what to do stated "shoot the wild dogs".

I like the large caliber air gun idea but they are far to expensive for me to invest in since I already own other rifles that are very suitable.
I always have a 9mm on my hip or small of back, depending on what tasks I am performing that day. There is always a rifle close to hand when we know a new pack is about.
We have fencing that so far has kept all our animals safe from the odd visit by a wild dog pack, and our own LGD's have chased them away.

It is always a matter of doing what has to be done in wild dog/cat/ animal situations this includes true "wild animals like bear, bobcat, puma.
My preference is to live and let live, but if they become a threat, then they go to the great spirit post haste.

 
Ferne Reid
Posts: 122
Location: SW Tennessee Zone 7a average rainfall 52"
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We handle it as Bryant does ... if the dogs aren't bothering us, we leave them be. If they are, then it's shoot, shovel, and shut up.

The one dog that caused a problem had a collar on, so I'm guessing it escaped rather than being dropped off. He never went home. On the other hand, there's a pair of dogs that have been living at the intersection of two local roads for at least a year, and although I'm amazed they haven't been hit by now, they don't seem to be bothering anyone. I'm not going to kill them just to kill them.
 
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