(Opinion teaser)

Don’t set your dog up to fail

This week a local rancher reported a small calf in his herd of young momma cows had been badly mauled by a dog sometime during the night of May 15. The pasture is within walking distance of a number of homes in the area.

Not a coyote, but a dog. There is no question that the calf was attacked by a dog, the evidence, including tracks and the mauling of the calf, is unquestionable.

Sadly for the calf, there was no hope. It passed away as a result of the terror and stress inflicted on it by the attack.

For the dog there is hope – but only if its owner or caregiver gets some smarts and takes responsibility for keeping their wandering canine at home.

Coyotes and wolves are predators, a courtesy of Mother Nature who made sure they are able to feed themselves and their pups. Predators create a natural balance in the world because a predator is also a scavenger, a cog in a wheel helping Mother Nature to balance out her kingdom.

Dogs are also predators. Although they have lived for centuries with humans, they still retain the inherent ability to stalk, chase, and in some instances, kill.

When something runs dogs run after it, be it a ball, a frisbee, or in this instance a young calf. The excitement of the chase, the bawling of the calf, the panic in the herd, and disaster are the result.

A dog who has chased, mauled or killed livestock will return and the attacks will get worse and worse. The inevitable end is destroyed and stressed livestock, an angry livestock owner, and a dog that has to be put down. Not to mention the dog owner who will be paying for the damages, and/or find themselves in court.

Turning dogs loose for a neighbourhood run, or worse yet letting them run free after dark may seem like a good idea with no one seeing what you are doing, but it can mean tragedy for others (both human and animal), especially in rural areas where livestock of all shapes and sizes are housed.

Social media is full of lost or found dog postings, and as the sheer number of wandering dog reports grows daily one might wonder if it is because winter temperatures are over and folks are now leaving Fido outside all day when they are off to work or attending other destinations.

When you are away your dog will get bored (especially if no one else is home) and he or she will start looking for something to do or amuse themselves with. If a dog has the ability to leave the yard there is a 95 per cent chance that it will, and in many instances, that same dog will be waiting for you on the porch when you return.

A man who left his dog outside every day when he went to work said his dog was always there when he returned in the evening. He quickly retracted that statement when a neighbour provided a trail cam video that showed the dog leaving the property for at least four hours every day, but always returning before the man did. Yes, dogs are smart, but humans have to be smarter.

Please don’t set your dog up to fail. Be responsible and keep your pet contained in a fenced yard, a kennel, or provide frequent walks with you or a friend.

The dog that mauled the calf made a mistake, now it’s on the owner to make sure it doesn’t get a chance to make the same mistake twice!



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dog attackDogsNorth Thompson ValleyRural Canada