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Native Californian, biologist, wildlife conservation consultant, retired Smithsonian scientist, father of two daughters, grandfather of 4 small primates. INTJ. Believes nature is infinitely more interesting than shopping malls. Born 100 years too late.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Do you know where your dogs are?

If you don't, read this important message.

They are in a ravine, and it's wild down there. There's a lot of poison oak and things like big tawny cats.

It's not far from your house as the crow flies, but it's several hundred feet downhill and a quarter mile from the nearest road. Easy to get lost down there. Hard to find dead dogs.

But let's face it. If one of the dogs didn't come home you would hope for the best. You'd post handbills on the power poles, with your dog's description, picture, and name. And your telephone number. Then you'd wait for the call.

But the big cat in the ravine isn't picky. Dogs are fair game. If it can catch your pet, it's going to eat it.

You are right though, there's safety in numbers. Yes, two bold dogs could stave off an attack, especially if they see the big cat first and give full-throated chase.

But the big cat has the advantage down there. If only one dog comes home acting strangely, well, there's no need for the handbill.

So if I were you, good neighbor, I'd keep my dogs around the house. And I'd lock them up at night.

The big cats around here really like dog meat.

[BTW, the redhead finds preposterous irony in this post. "That's ridiculous, what are YOU doing down there?!"
Me: "I'm looking for owl pellets -- bwaaahahahaHaaaah!"]


Beverly said...

The part I don't like is how loose dogs 'pack-up' like teenagers out after curfew; they can get into lots of trouble that way. I live in a ranching area; many people cannot believe 'their baby' is capable of hamstringing a calf or a lamb; not to mention wildlife. It is especially sad and gruesome what a domestic pack of dogs can do for fun.

I appreciate this post; thank you!

Anonymous said...

I appreciate this post too. The part I don't like is how people live in wild areas and don't protect their animals properly, whether pets or livestock. Then, when a natural, native predator takes advantage of that, the people immediately go to CADFG and get a depradation permit for the predator! Instead of taking responsibility for their own lax security. Maggie

Camera Trap Codger said...

Yeah, I always thought that people should have to take an exam in ecology to see if they are qualified to live to in the country. Same thing for politicians -- we need a kind of GRE for overambitious political wannabes.

Beverly said...

No kidding Maggie, a young family moved a few miles down the road from me and brought goats. Of course, the only dogs they have is a Dachshund and a mini-sheltie type house dog/companions for their then six year old.

Like the rancher they befriended, they kill every coyote they see, believing they eat young lambs. And even worse, they hired bounty-hunters for the big cats here and the first season eleven big cats were killed! “We can’t have those big cats around, we have children!”

I wonder why it is city people move to the country…and if the very dirt here bothers them. Anyway, I moved out here and first thing I did was get an Livestock Guardian Dog. Europeans have used LGDs for thousands of years; but the idea of actually ‘watching their flocks’ is apparently something that escapes American ranchers. Let’s put out poison, instead; or shot everything that bothers us! Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

WOW...lovely new photos!!!