I began reading a Survivalist Boards Thread that posed the question as to whether or not you could (or would) shoot stray dogs after a collapse situation. As I didn’t know about the conversation until late, I didn’t chime in but I thought it was an interesting question to pose to you here.
In fact, it was something that I hadn’t contemplated whatsoever, but the more I think about it the more I’m beginning to agree with the original poster. In essence, he suggested “taking out” any stray dogs he sees because they will become a significant problem for us. Here’s what he had to say (edited a bit to clarify sentence structure):
“That’s right, I said it. I love dogs. I hate animal cruelty. But in shtf situation, you need to realize those dogs are gonna breed and form a pack. That pack is gonna grow and directly compete with you for food and possibly attack you or your livestock. So if shtf more than a week or two, I’m gonna start pickin off strays before they become a problem. I’ll feel bad about it but not as bad as I would if my niece or nephew gets attacked by a pack of dogs that I had in my site a week earlier.”
Others chimed in with varying responses and opinions. The fact is that as much as we like to believe our beloved Fido would never harm a fly–let alone a person–we also need to realize that dogs, as with any pack animal, can and will go feral given the right circumstances; a collapse or other long term situation could easily provide that opportunity. Moreover, it is our responsibility as pet owners to properly care for our pets and that includes ensuring they don’t get loose or, worse yet, willfully set them loose to wreck havoc on the neighborhood.
It’s just in a dog’s nature to be part of a pack. And, obviously, they’re going to want to survive. This could include a number of actions, from getting int your trash and food supplies to attacking wild game that could have been meant for your dinner plate and even attacking you or your family. Yes, Fido can and will turn on you if he joins the local pack “gang”.
Someone on the thread mentioned another possibility, and that is to take some stray dogs on as a part of your family. I believe this is possible to do early on as dogs have been bred to be tamed and so will allow themselves to be tamed rather quickly. Although an interesting solution, this can only go so far (you can’t take them all in) and I would suspect it is difficult to actually pull off given that dogs must be cared for every bit as much as a human family member.
And don’t for one minute think that this can’t be a real problem. There are tens of millions of pet dogs in this country (one poster stated it’s 78 million) which works out to be about one dog for every four people… that’s a sizeable population. Looking at history as an example, even a fairly localized event such as Hurricane Katrina killed 600,000 pets (that’s more than just dogs). But think what these pets would have been doing if they had been let loose instead of having perished?
I certainly won’t start picking off strays immediately, but they will be in my cross-hairs if things get real bad. It’s something to think about!