Sunday, December 7, 2008
What to do when a lost dog and gunshots explode
12/3/06 ChatterboxBetty Kaiser Life in my ordinarily tranquil neighborhood recently turned ugly. First there were gunshots: “Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!” They were followed by one ominous “Yelp!” Then there was total silence. Shocked, we wondered, “Did someone shoot that stray dog?” Several days before the shooting incident, a handsome young German Shepherd came on our property. We assumed that someone in the neighborhood had a new dog. We clapped our hands and shooed him home. Later, we noticed this same Shepherd would run out of the wooded park near us, as my husband drove by in his silver Jeep. the dog would look longing at him as Chuck zipped by. Obviously, he was looking for someone special. It was a sad “Are you my daddy?” gaze. During this time, the dog had also been sighted up the hill by other neighbors as he visited their properties. He was not approachable —just nervous. One neighbor encountered him on a bridge going across his creek. The man moved out of his way, as the dog crossed the bridge and then resumed raking leaves. The shepherd was apparently lost — not mean or aggressive. Prior to the shooting, we set out to help him, loading our pockets with dog biscuits before we headed to the park. As usual, as soon as the shepherd saw the Jeep, he came running. A beautiful young dog, we noticed that he limped as he ran. But try as we might, we could not get him to come near us. He nervously ran circles around the Jeep, never making eye contact or showing any response to our pleas. His nervous circles became larger and larger and we became fearful that traffic might hit him. Reluctantly, we went home. Shortly afterward we heard the gunshots. Immediately we hopped in the Jeep to look for him. But we searched in vain. He was gone. A few days later our doxies became very agitated and determined to dive down into a nearby drainage ditch. They had discovered another little lost soul —a Persian cat. Its sad little face was dripping with mud and its formerly brilliant white fur matted with dirt. And so it goes out here in the country where thoughtless people ignore or abandon helpless pets who starve and die a miserable, violent death. It’s a sad, sick situation. These are not wild animals accustomed to living off the land. They are domesticated animals, dependent on mankind for food, shelter and kindness. City dwellers have similar pet problems. The overpopulation of cats in Cottage Grove has been well documented. One unsprayed female cat can produce as many as 32 kittens in a year! One unaltered male can father multiple litters. You do the math. No wonder there are so many feral cats fighting, spreading disease and upsetting homeowners. It should always be a financial choice whether or not to bring home a pet. Responsible pet ownership should include funds to pay for spaying or neutering as well as food and shelter. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that a neutered male dog will not roam the streets and get in fights. Dogs are pack animals and they need attention. Please don’t chain and ignore them. Chained, the dog will howl, dig, get frustrated and become dangerous. Who’s fault is that? Traditional animal control was primitive and often inhumane but we have evolved. Most of us. Sometimes I think that the 2-legged human animal needs more training that the 4-legged variety. It’s usually not the pit bull that’s mean. It’s the owner treating the pet like he or she was treated as a child. Violence is a cycle that needs to be stopped. Since 1990, the Humane Society of Cottage Grove has sought to make our area a better place for both pets and owners. Janetta Overholser and her hardworking crew of volunteers can tell you stories about cruelty to helpless animals that will rip your heart out. At the same time, they can warm your soul with stories of those who rescued the victims. They clean them up, get them veterinary care, feed, love and find them a home — either by fostering or at Greenhill. The entire community benefits from the efforts of a handful of people who dedicate themselves to protecting animals. They field questions and answer calls for help; offer coupons to help with spaying/neutering costs; and send teams to local schools to teach youngsters the proper care and handling of animals. All of this is financed through donations and a second-hand store — ‘This-and-That Corner.’ Its entire proceeds are donated to animal support programs. There are no employees. Only volunteers. No one gets paid a dime but everyone benefits. In our neighborhood many people had seen the agitated stray dog but we did nothing. What do you do? Do you catch it? And if so — then what? Just whom do you contact when an abused, neglected, hurt, sick or lost animal appears on your doorstep? Here’s a list of resources to help answer your questions: Call the Cottage Grove Police Dept. if you live in the city: 942-9145 Call Lane County Animal Services if you live in the county: 682-3645 Call the HSCG: 942-3130 Call Greenhill Humane Society: 689-1503 Call local veterinarians to see if an animal has been reported missing. Take the pet to a veterinarian to be scanned for a microchip. Call KNNDs ‘Pet Lost ‘n Found’: 942-2468 Put a (free) found ad in the Sentinel: 942-3325 Post signs or posters. Many charities vie for contributions at this time of year. May I suggest that you add the CGHS to your list? They’ll spend your money wisely and make the world a little better for man and beast. Their emergency Angel Fund selectively assists where needed. Mail contributions to P.O. Box 61, Cottage Grove, 97424.
Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart. Read her weekly columns in the Cottage Grove Sentinel.