I love dogs, they are simply awesome. They are exactly what people strive to be–loyal, friendly, funny, and good-natured. So when I have to deal with an abandoned dog, I get irate pretty darn fast. Sorry about the soapbox I’m about to stand on, but it’s past time for us to get after the people who think it’s okay to dump their dog.
Because our ranch is a fairly remote location for northeast Nebraska, people think it is the perfect spot to dump their unwanted dogs. They drive down the road past our house, let the dog out, and drive back towards the highway, going right past our house again. Then ten to twenty minutes later a dog comes down the road and up our driveway. Really people, dropping it off on an empty gravel road is going to solve problems? The dog is going to do just fine “living in the wild”?
Do these people realize what problems they are causing? First and foremost, they are taking a pet that has never had to find its own food, never had to find shelter, never had to find water, and dumping him somewhere new and expecting him to suddenly discover all these survival skills. I wonder how many have starved to death out there that we’ve never seen. Makes me sick to think about it.
Then for the ones that can survive, they either do one of two things–find their way to our house and hang around it looking for people to care for them or start running the countryside terrorizing livestock. Stray dogs form packs and attack lambs. They don’t eat the lambs but simply kill a dozen of them for fun. The packs run horses through fences so the horses get cut up badly, sometimes so bad you have to put a horse down. They breed with coyotes and dilute the natural coyote genetics.
This past week one dog picked the first option. She was dumped somewhere along the road. She came into our yard and hung around. She’s very sweet and looks to be a one year old Corgi/border cross. We’ve taken her in and are going to spay her and find a home for her. She will at least be one success story.
The dogs that get dumped always have certain characteristics in common. They are 1) young, but past the “cute puppy” stage, 2) intact males or females, and 3) energetic breeds. It seems like they were obtained as puppies, then the owners found they were a lot of work. When they were no longer “cute” they dumped them.
Sometimes I wonder if they were tired of caring for them as they got older or if the owners had money issues and couldn’t afford the dogs. This doesn’t matter to me–running low on cash is a poor excuse for abandoning an animal. I’ve dealt with rehoming multiple dogs for different issues; it can be done. Local humane societies are great resources that help people without judging you for giving up your pet. If hard times fall on you, it doesn’t excuse you from the basic decency that you owe that animal.
In short–if you get a dog, it is your responsibility to make sure it has a good home. Dumping it out in a rural area is a form of animal neglect (hint: it is a crime punishable by law). If you cannot keep your pet due to any circumstance, contact your local humane society about rehoming options.
When looking for a new home for this dog, someone told Mom she could just shoot it. She responded, “If I had the inclination to shoot, it wouldn’t be the dog I was aiming for!”. And with that statement I agree 100%.