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Could You Shoot Stray Dogs Very Soon After a Collapse?

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!

20 comments to Could You Shoot Stray Dogs Very Soon After a Collapse?

  • Morris

    I hate to disagree with TR rearding the probable benefits of stray cats
    (catching vermin and all). Although that would be true, it wouldn’t stop there. In a SHTF situation those feral cats would be out eating rabbits
    and other small game we might be hunting for. So, maybe they shouldn’t get
    a free pass.

  • Aussie Mick

    Think feral dogs are not going to be a problem? Think again..they are already a problem. I awoke at 1 am to our dog stirring ….a look outside with a torch revealed six sets of eyes reflecting back light…hidden in scrub 25 metres from our camp..that was 2 weeks ago…they have taken up residence in the valley. They are hunting..and are not scared of humans..your attitude will change once you have been the prey..underestimate them at your peril.

  • T.R.

    question ? wont all the stray animals have plenty of food around because of all the people dyeing ? we listen to some folks talk about their Idea of SHTF ….and they think its going to be a road warrior situation with combat every day and bodies everywhere , and hand crank electricity for ever more . If thats the case ….plenty of “meat” around for pets on their own to eat ;)

    • Just make sure you’re not on the dinner plate!

      • T.R.

        Aye that !

      • Aussie Mick

        Feral dog tails attract a $100 bounty…I have the freezer ready to store them….

        • sounds like a good price for something that was going to get shot anyway. :)

          • Aussie Mick

            Price is something that needs to be considered with prepping..I picked up the freezer free of cost..owner replaced it with a brand new freezer…because it needed a new rubber seal!! So..free freezer…free dog tails..(only cost, time..and a bullet). Good investment. Better investment…invest a bullet in venison..or pork..even better investment..fruit trees..things like dragon fruit..crop every year..and bigger crop every year..also “BELE”..a green leaf shrub that throws a continual supply of awesome greens..I eat them straight from the tree..and they grow EASILY from cuttings..plant a cutting..new shoots appear within 2-3 days. I have planted over 100 in the last 2 weeks..some on my properties..some on neighbour’s properties..(I want my neighbours to be self sufficient). Remember..a neighbour in need ..can be a bludger indeed (litle humour).

  • T.R.

    Hard question , dont get me wrong because I’m an animal lover …..but stray dogs will be agressive , dogs in general will run up and bite somebody for no reason ……….cats dont do that without a reason . Stray Cats provide a service in the fact that the get rid of rodents and bugs , stray dogs provide nothing . Stray dogs run around in packs and attack things like cowardly street gangs , stray cats are solitary . I would feel more justified in shooting a dog than a cat . just sayin

  • Betty

    I am all for being again cruelty to animals in a normal situation—but when TSHF—none of us will be in a normal situation including the animals. Most people are not even prepping to feed their kids let alone their pets—they will be hungry and will do what they have to do to survive—just as I will do what I have to do to survive and defend my family.

  • jean

    I would only kill a stray dog if it puts my loved ones in danger. I would not kill them for food as it is unfit to eat as food since it’s considered an unclean food source from the Bible. Learn about native plants to eat instead many weeds that we consider obnoxious can be food sources and many plants as well. If you start eating right now and cleanse your body of toxins you will require less food to be healthy. Meat is not a great food source anyhow considering it is a dead food and not alive like plants are

  • Anne Ollamha

    Yes, absolutely. Even in good economic times, packs of “family pets” are an issue for farmers where I used to live, harrassing cows/goats/sheep in the fields, killing chickens and domestic rabbits, etc. Unfortunately, current laws regarding “cruelty” to animals requires that the local animal control officer be called to capture the animal, if found.

    I’d feel bad about it, but… In a SHTF situation, I would not hesitate because it is a dog’s instinct to run in packs. If you see one hungry not-afraid-of-humans starveling, he probably has friends, so be vigilant.

    • T.R.

      I lived out in the sticks when I was a kid , same problem …….our solution ? shotgun full of rock salt ……..they remember it well and most of the time , dont come back .

  • Suni

    Lets face it, as hard as it would be, your right it would be necessary to kill off packs of Farrell animals. When food and water will be at a premium every thing must be taken into consideration. Example: our son just gave us a dog a few months ago, this dog was around 8 months old and of mixed breed, the vet thinks 1/2 Lab and 1/2 Pit. He is friendly loves to play but I saw something in him recently that lets me know he could turn if the right circumstance presents itself. We (the dog and I) were playing tug with an old rope. When we had played for awhile and he was getting serious he did something that caught me completely off guard. He growled low a couple of times and then lunged at me and bit me, not real hard but to let me know he is very capable of doing serious harm. This was after we have had the dog for several months. I love the dog but just proved to myself that you should never let your guard down and never trust 100% of your welfare to something or for that matter someone that is capable of doing you harm.

    • Dogs can be a very real threat and certainly scary. No doubt some dogs are more likely to be trouble (such as pit bulls) but any dog given the right circumstances can and will turn. I’d hate to ponder if your dog will get much more aggressive if it comes to the point where it’s difficult to feed him. Add in subtle cues such as stress that the dog picks up on and you may very well get additional surprising encounters.

    • T.R.

      Hope you knocked the crap out of him right then and there , to let him know who is the massah and who is to obey orders!

  • Linda n Texas

    Being a rancher here in Texas, )we raise sheep, goats, and cattle) we are often put in the position of having to shoot stray dogs or bury our livestock. With so many animals running feral even now, we shoot any dog that is running loose on our ranches, just a matter of survival for
    our livestock and us.
    I REALLY URGE PEOPLE TO BE RESPONSIBLE PET OWNERS, AND BEAR IN MIND THAT IF YOU DRIVE INTO THE COUNTRY AND TURN YOUR UNWANTED PET LOOSE, YOU MOST LIKELY JUST SIGNED IT’S DEATH WARRANT.

    • T.R.

      very true , shelters will take them most of the time . It got so bad in our state that you can now get serious jail time for pet abandonment .

  • Jill

    As much as I can understand where you’re coming from I just don’t think I could or would shoot any stray animal for any reason unless it were attacking my family. Sadly, it’s these types of decisions that we will all need to make in such a situation.