When people realize that they don’t have the means or ability to care for a dog, they think that they have several options to just “get rid of it.” Most people feel that they have no other choice than to take the dog to a shelter, euthanize him or “drop him off at a remote location.” The reality of what happens when you drop a dog out in the middle of nowhere is horrifying, cruel, and the WORST thing that you could ever do to another living being.
Some people think that this means they will take their pup out for a drive to a nice place far away with little traffic and plenty of nice, big farms. Little “Rex” will show up at some farmer’s door, and a sweet housewife will take him in, surely there is plenty of room on a huge farm for one little dog.
STOP. I will tell you what really happens. I live in the country, just far enough out that it is the perfect place to dump dogs. I have seen literally more dogs than I can remember wandering the roads. This is not theoretical, this is what actually happens to these dogs. They die horrible deaths. Even if someone manages to catch the terrified pups, the majority of breeds and dogs are not suited to life around livestock, and when that dog starts killing their animals, it WILL be shot.
When you drop off your dog, he is terrified beyond belief. Most of them are too afraid to approach anyone. The majority of them starve to death, die of exposure, get hit by cars, or get shot. Everyone in my area knows eachother, we know whos dogs are whos, and we watch dog after dog go through this horrible cycle. Here are just a few stories for you.
The chow-chow. I was out doing work, a car was driving up and down my road suspiciously. Finally stops, a chow is pushed out the back door – and the car takes off. The dog runs after the car crying, its little feet going as fast as they can. I call to it over and over to no avail. It runs until it disappears over the horizon miles away. It is found dead on the road a week later by my mother.
The twin shepherds. Two young german shepherds appear in the neighborhood – clearly another drop off with nice collars on each. They are completely confused and act nothing like the local dogs, wandering the streets day after day. They are too nervous to let anyone approach. My neighbor tries to catch them every day and eventually gives up, leaving a pile of dog food out for them every day. The colder weather sets in and we stop seeing them around, a month later another neighbor finds the emaciated carcass of one wearing the same collar in the woods. The other is never found.
The beagle. This one my mother saw dumped from a vehicle on the side of a busy country route. She stopped her car and tried desperately to call the dog to her. The beagle was so scared and kept running towards moving cars, thinking it was his owners come back. She tries to get him to come for 20 minutes before he is finally struck by a pickup. She watched as the beagle slowly died screaming and shaking in the back of her car on the way to the vet. Have you ever heard a dog scream in pain? It’s something you never forget. It was dead by the time she got there.
The husky. This dog was another drop-off. People had seen it wandering the roads, watching cars hopefully for signs of a familiar face. Classic drop-off dog behaviour. It was too scared to be caught. Eventually it was shot when it turned to attacking a local’s cow herd in desperation to eat. The law allows any farmer to protect his or her property by shooting any wild dogs that attack or threaten their livestock. There is no animal control here. Have you ever seen a dog get shot? It is not a peaceful death. 90% of the time it is a body shot and the dog may run away to live for hours in agony before finally bleeding out.
The stories I have go on and on. I tell them in their utmost gory detail because people need to understand the barbarity of leaving a domesticated animal to fend for itself in a wild place. Few of them make it. And they almost always die awful deaths. Please, please, if you feel you cannot care for your dog any longer, do the humane and right thing. Bring your dog to a local shelter. Don’t be a coward and throw your dog to the proverbial (and sometimes actual) wolves.
The country is the most dangerous place for a stray. I hope that you can all share this with everyone that you know. It may feel terrible to abandon your pet to a shelter, but in the end, that might be the best thing for your dog! If it’s between being embarrassed at the shelter or knowing that little Fido is being shot and attacked by wild animals, know that the workers at the shelter will be SO grateful that you chose to do the right thing and will help to find a new forever home for your pets.
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