The Problems of Feral Dogs in a Major Disaster

In any kind of a large-scale emergency, whether financial, EMP or some something else that causes large scale disruptions, a lot of people will turn their pets lose.  Now I know that many of you will suggest that they should eat them and I am with you.  However many of the animal loving liberals will turn their pets lose because they won’t have the heart to kill them.  In addition it there are wide spread deaths many animals will escape.

Now most animals don’t present too much of a problem, except maybe around zoos or exotic animal farms, but dogs can easily go feral.  Feral dog packs are already a problem in areas of the U.S. and Mexico.  Look at the following from just a few news items I checked.

Mexico City killings are blamed on pack of wild dogs.  The pack of marauding wild dogs is blamed for deaths of five people found with horrific flesh injuries.

St. LOUIS, Mo. – Ten years after a fourth-grade boy was attacked and nearly eaten alive by wild dogs in north St. Louis, city leaders are scrambling to make sure it doesn’t happen again.  Aldermanic President Lewis Reed is sounding the alarm. “I’ve witnessed packs of dogs, 10 and 15 dogs running together, and I’ve seen all these dogs I’m talking about they don’t have collars, they don’t have tags, these are truly wild dogs,” he said.

Detroit, City of Strays  an epidemic of 50,000 abandoned dogs – In Detroit, packs of free-roaming dogs have posed such a danger that a postal service spokesman said they considered stopping mail delivery to some areas last year because carriers were “constantly being bitten” or injured eluding vicious animals.

Maryland – Pack of vicious wild dogs in Md. killing other dogs

Canada – Volunteers struggle to reduce wild dog population plaguing native reserves

In appearance, most feral dogs are difficult to distinguish from domestic dogs.  Like domestic dogs, feral dogs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and even breeds.  German shepherds, Doberman pinschers, and collies are breeds that often become feral.  It is not just pit bulls as most people think.

Feral dogs are usually secretive and wary of people.  They are active during dawn, dusk, and at night much like other wild members of the canine family.  They often travel in packs and may have rendezvous sites like wolves.  Travel routes to and from the gathering or den sites may be well defined.  Food scraps and other evidence of concentrated activity may be observed at gathering sites.

A survey by the National Agricultural Statistics Service in 1999 found that feral dogs were partly responsible for killing cows, sheep, and goats worth about U.S. 37 million dollars.

Farms aren’t the only place where these animals may be found.  Low-income, high-crime neighborhoods in cities like Los Angeles, St. Louis, New York, Santa Fe, Pittsburgh, and Cleveland, are being overrun by tens of thousands of unwanted dogs, says Randy Grim, founder of Stray Rescue in St. Louis, a nonprofit organization that saves street dogs.

Packs of feral dogs can be a danger to your family and animals, in particular young children.  If they are hungry, they will stalk and hunt you.  I strongly suggest that you have adequate fencing for animals and the means to defend yourself and your property from packs of feral dogs.  Methods of controlling feral dogs include shooting, trapping, fencing, baiting and livestock guardian dogs combined with land management.

In another article, I will post some fencing ideas on how to protect your animals from feral dogs.


4 thoughts on “The Problems of Feral Dogs in a Major Disaster”

  1. Great topic. Before I retired from Public Works we frequently had to deal with uncontrolled domestic and feral dogs in debris cleanups. They were also a hazard to collection crews. Pitchfork and Mace “sticky foam” OC spray are best deterrants, but if all else fails, red pepper, vinegar and corriander make the most tasty biltong, and curry the best barbeque.

  2. Sunnie Mitchell

    When I lived on Kodiak Island (Alaska) in the mid-70s the feral dog pack problem was so bad the island newspaper printed dog recipes. I don’t eat dog but I well understood the reasoning behind the encouragement to shoot and eat.

    When I lived in the American South (1980-2010) the feral dog pack problem was ramping up so profoundly that the last five years I was there the main reason I kept my concealed-carry license active was to be legally armed in case I had to shoot a dog whilst walking mine. Even though I was a ‘woman alone’ my biggest worry was the pack of ferals living in the woods behind my semi-rural home; I always made sure I had the gun handy when outside even in my own yard.

    Now I live in the UK, and yes, feral dog packs are becoming a problem here as well. Unfortunately a weapons permit in the UK is next to impossible to acquire. I walk with a stout stick with a very-very-very hard softball sized knob on the end to get around the ludicrous law here prohibiting carrying ANY sort of potentially lethal weapon. If questioned I can always claim the knob is the grip of my cane. (That law is the one thing I do not like about living in the land of my ancestors-I miss my guns!)

    Feral dog packs are NOW, not a coming possibility in a ‘major disaster’. As more people abandon dogs to the streets when they can’t afford to feed them, the dogs are banding together to feed themselves. I am horrified to read of the woman jogger recently killed by a pack of ferals in LA County (another place where it’s hard to have a weapons permit). US, UK, other countries, this is happening all over and is presenting a real safety concern for anyone who wants to get out and about.

  3. I’ve had my share of dog problems. The area dogs were escaping from yards, lots and warehouses. Maybe “escape” isn’t the right word when many of the fences had holes large enough for any dog to pass through without touching the sides. They packed, scattered garbage, killed pets and chased people at night. Post-calamity, this will be the norm. I’ve been learning how to build dog traps and also how to bait them away from my block. I wasn’t allowed to trap but the baiting away helped. Eventually the dogs bothered someone that City Hall couldn’t brush off. CH had a sweep done and fined a dozen or so owners. These dogs weren’t starved, but were still killing pets and chasing people on foot and bicycle. Imagine ten times, twenty times the dogs, starving.

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